Sometimes just be walking around on the streets, watching the ads, reading the news, looking at street banners and listening to people you get a general sense of what the vibe is about. I felt for me personally, there were two prevailing themes this Canada Day. The first was idea of the Indigenous people (what is really being celebrated here?) and the controversy behind that big expensive rubber ducky. And so this cartoon came together! Canada is a great country and is a world of opportunity for many who have been lucky enough to immigrate here and I feel that whats needs to be celebrated.
After the first Kensington Market Fair, I really wanted to create something local to Toronto and specific to the neighbourhood of Kensington Market. I sat down for two sessions on the cracked streets of Augusta Avenue as Macho Longboarders wizzed and crashed by me, and drew ideas for how I'm going to represent this area. I've been exposed to a lot of Sesame Street recently as my son is an avid fan of these eccentric creatures. Here is my explanation of this drawing...
Note, to avoid verbosity I will constantly refer to Kensington Market as KM.
BIG BIRD - BELGIAN TOUCH
This is a reference to the Dirty Bird Chicken and Waffles place in Kensington... its a big bird eating a waffle... and has a dirty pigeon on his head.. he also munching on my favourite Moo Frites. And you can also tell by his eyes that he's been 'ingesting' something that makes him hungry. An important aspect of Kensington Market ofcourse.
COOKIE MONSTER - LATIN FLAVOURS AND COFFEE
I wanted to represent the cookie monster wearing a poncho, and representing on the Latino food in Kensington Market, he is stuffing his face with empenadas, tacos, churros and burritos and ofcourse a coffee in on hand.. so many cafes in KM.
GROVER - REGGAE VIBES
There is definitely a strong presence of Carribean culture in KM and there is always reggae or dancehall music pumping loud from someone's speakers. Also there is a hint to the Rasta Pasta restaruant, as he munches on spaghetti...
ELMO - PUNKS
I always see these guys around KM and I don't really know what they are all about, someone told me that they are 'punks' so I'm going to roll with that for now. But they are definitely a distinct and interesting looking group.
OSCAR THE GROUCH - FRUIT AND VEGETABLE MARKET
Just thought this would look funny, I'm not trying to relate these markets with garbage as I shop there all the time, I just though it would be a nice hiding place for him and suited the spirit of KM.
COUNT DRACULA - RANDOM CHARACTERS AND COMMERCIALISM
KM is after all a market where goods are sold, and it can be suprisingly expensive for how things look in general. And so I have the count counting money and just dressed in a bizarre outfit. There are all sorts of interesting characters over here, and most of the time they don't fit any category.
SNUFFY-INDIAN/TIBETAN SPIRITUAL VIBES
It was easy to put Snuffy in this category as he is an elephant. I noticed there are a few trends almost anywhere you go in KM. There is Insence and there are Buddha statues. One of the main stores that has inspired that magic carpet is Dancing Days
KERMIT THE FROG - GAS MASKS
One of the wierdest things you can buy in KM is gas masks from this army surplus store. They are apparently children's gas masks from Russia. Wouldn't it be crazy if there was some sudden outbreak of some gas in Toronto and only people in KM scrambled to this store and survived?
ABBY CADABBY - VEGANS AND ORGANIC STORES
I felt like Abby's dress was really easy to covert into leaves or vegetables, so there you go! I also noticed a lot of ladies in KM had that hair style where it was really short at the sides and longer on top. One girl during the Kensington Market Art Fair actually came up to my stall and was vegan and dressed in the same colours!
BERT - THE HIPSTER
I can't tell you how many people saw this character and said 'hey, i now someone just like that'. The beard, the glasses, the napsack and the bike. Can't get any closer to the hipster uniform.
ERNIE - THE LONGBOARDER WITH A FOOTBALL SHIRT
There are lots of these vintage football shirts in KM, and also longboarders, so I decided to combine the two. 77 Nassau is the location of the KMAF and the first place I every displayed and sold this piece, so it made sense.
ZOE - THE VINTAGE CLOTHES AND FLOWERS
Vintage is a bit theme in KM, specially dresses from the 50s....
OTHER TINY DETAILS
There are blue bananas next to Oscar, and this is a reference to one of my favourite stores in KM, Blue banana.
Also there are all these electric poles, and in the summer the greenery and vegetation is wonderful. And ofcourse to remind you that you are in Toronto, there is the CN Tower in the background.
Note, this is by no means an illustration meant to promote or market stores in Kensington Market, this is just how I experience the Market, and my observations of it!
The TTC is taking in submissions for their on train gallery of work, and I'm going to be submitting the following sketches that I have made over the last year or so. Initially I was travelling for work everyday from Finch to Union station and so I got a lot of sketching time in... here are the five I'm going to submit. (You can see more of my subway sketches at http://daneshlifesketching.blogspot.ca)
1. The North York Station Jungle
I chose this one as I liked the parallel between monkeys in trees and how they grip on to branches, with people in subways and how they grip on to the bars. Also, I wish I had done this in more drawings, and that is write down names of stations so it places them better.
2. Hands in Transit
I'm submitting this one because it's different and unusual and I don't think many people will submit just hands. But hands are very expressive and on the TTC its interesting to see how they are constantly interacting with the environment.
3. TTC composition
I really liked how this composition naturally fell into place as I drew and this doesn't happen so often! I'm glad I drew the guy reading the metro newspaper so then at least you know where it is.
4. Rambling on technology
Having been riding the TTC for at least 20 years now I've noticed some difference as technology has taken over the scene and people have internet connections underground. I get frustrated with it after a while as I got tired of just drawing people on their phones!
5. The Scene
It's quite rare that I'm able to compose a whole scene of people on the train, but this one worked out that way as we had some extra time with signal problems on the ttc. I like that everyone is in their own world have their own unique expressions.
This is an ink wash commission that I did for a Psychologist Client who runs her practice in Halifax, Canada. Was a lot of fun to do, as it involved researching famous psychologists, mainly during the same period, and what their theories were. The challenge was to create a setting, which was telling of what each one was famous for. Starting from the left corner and going clockwise, we have Hermann Rorschach who was famous for the ink blot test. There there was Ivan Pavlov who was famous for his work in classical conditioning where he conditioned dogs to associate a bell ring with food. Everytime he introduced food to the dog, they would salivate, and at the same time he would play a bell. Eventually, the dog would just salivate to the sound of the bell! (association). Then there is Jean Piaget, famous for his work on Child Development. Next is Aaron T. Beck who is famous for Cognitive Therapy and studying depression. Next is Sigmund Freud, famous for psychoanalysis, and behind him is his disciple who later turned away from him, Carl Jung. Lastly, sitting on the floor is B. F. Skinner who is famous for Operant Conditioning used to study animal behaviour.