Monday, September 1, 2014

Podcast: 2014 Iceland Diaries - Part Three

09.01.14_2014 Iceland Diaries - Part Three
Download the MP3, stream directly on Stitcher, or subscribe via iTunes!

2014 Iceland Diaries - Part Three
Length: 02:32:50
Synopsis: The Light Grey Art Lab team returns to Iceland! This time we're visiting this beautiful country to host a week-long artist residency in southern Iceland, right at the base of the infamous Eyjafjallajökull volcano. We brought together a group of 14 amazing artists and spent an entire week exploring, conversing, and learning. In the final installment of this three part 2014 Iceland Diaries series, Jenny, Lindsay, and Chris take a moment each night to reflect on the travels, discussions, logistics, and memorable moments from each day. This episode picks up immediately after Lindsay, Chris and Jenny have dropped the residency participants off in Reykjavik, and continues to our safe arrival back in the good ol' US of A. During our final days in Iceland, we visit the Icelandic Academy of the Arts, explore massive lava tubes, find a shipwreck, run from a volcano threatening to erupt under a glacier and more.

Visited Iceland Academy of the Arts today. Garðar & Birna are my new favorite people.
Remnants of a deadly 1948 shipwreck.
Dark cave at dusk.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Artist Interview with Andrew Kolb

andrew kolb "I started off as a designer with illustrative sensibilities, but now my work is illustration informed by design."

Meet Andrew Kolb. Andrew is a Canadian Illustrator and Graphic Designer. His portfolio is filled with colorful imagery, personality, and interactive and mobile characters, seen as greeting cards, gifs, books, illustrations, gallery works, and more! We have had the pleasure of including Andrew in several past Light Grey Art Lab Exhibitions, such as the Night of the Exquisite Corpse, Macro + Micro, Rolemodels: the Battle for Vyk'Tornaahl, Great Personality, and the current Stacks Exhibition.

We are always impressed by the breath of his artwork, motivation, and enthusiasm to take on new projects. In this artist interview, we look forward to celebrating Andrew's work, thoughts on illustration, and some of his resources. You can also find more of his work on his website and blog here.

Hi Andrew. Can you tell us about your current studio practice?

I work from home and have a dedicated room. I'll sometimes doodle and sketch elsewhere but that's only for the casual stuff. I've found that keeping work contained to a specific space helps with staying focused and to step away when I need a break.

I work at all hours, but my usual schedule is to email/invoice/quote first thing in the morning and after lunch for half an hour or so. After that, I can focus on drawing without distractions by little requests. I also try to leave an hour of the day dedicated to personal projects or just doodling. With all of that said, there are some days that just become sending one email while three come in and the cycle never ends. As structured as I try to pretend my freelance life is, it's all very fluid.

Kolb_DazzlingDistractions We are always impressed by the amount of creative projects you participate in. Could you talk about the difference in creative for freelance, personal projects, greeting cards, exhibitions, etc.?

You're too kind! I'm not sure if there's toooooo much method to my madness. My client and professional work gives me the chance to meet the needs of others, so I use personal projects and gallery work as the opportunity to meet my own. With personal projects, I typically try to avoid pandering with popular and trendy ideas- the public is smart and will see right through this approach.

I think personal projects should be done because you truly believe in it! If you're satisfied with an image on a personal level then, hopefully, you can get past whatever response it's met with. I mean it's great if others like what you do, but I think personal projects are just that...personal, and expecting any interest beyond your own is purely bonus!

Do you have favorite materials, prompts, or subjects?

I love the flexibility of working digitally. With that said, I always have to start with a pencil sketch. For that, there's nothing better than a cheap BIC mechanical pencil (not sponsored, I promise). They're great! Always sharp and thus you don't have to waste precious drawing time with pesky sharpening; it's the perfect world.

Subject matter is often vaguely directed by the client/gallery/etc. but I do try to focus on the characters and their stories. I try to plot out a background narrative even if it's a simple character portrait. It may not be super complex, but it does help to inform the decisions I make like setting, body language, and so on.

Andrew Kolb Teeny Tiny Trip Through Time

Could you tell us about the project you chose for the Stacks Exhibition? Why was this subject important to commemorate and what was it like reliving that year?

Ah...The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. So I suppose the best thing to do is quote the small introduction that's on the inside flap of my zine:

"The year was 1998. I’m sure a bunch of really important stuff happened but I was 12 so what stood out to me was a video game. For Christmas that year i was given The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and it was awesome. Looking back I appreciate so much more than the plot or the graphics. I mean everything about the game is still great, but there’s something more that left such an impression on me. Around this time, I’d never heard of a Zelda game and my parents rarely took chances on something so expensive. The serendipity of them making such a great choice, without any prompting or research, just doesn’t happen anymore. In the age of previews for movie trailers, it’s hard to come by genuine surprise and I appreciate that this game provided me with that. Discovery is what the franchise is all about and I couldn’t have had a truer experience than with this installment. That’s why I still love it to this day. So to commemorate the year of its release I wanted to take this teeny tiny trip through time. Enjoy!"

Andrew Kolb Mused on Tattoos Series- Young Guns of Print art show at Hero Complex Gallery.

What are you currently making? What can we look forward to seeing?

Well I've just gone back and revamped my personal project: The Silly Rally where I illustrate and animate goofy racers and their vehicles. I'm regularly updating and you can expect lots of "silly" from the series.

Oh but the BIG thing that's coming up is my first picture book! I haven't really talked about it that much yet but it's now available for preorder on Amazon so I should probably start promoting it, right? So it's called Edmund Unravels and it's about a little ball of yarn who adventures despite getting smaller as he goes and the importance of surrounding yourself with those you care about.

Other than that, I suppose there are more gallery shows and fun projects in the queue but all of those secrets are still kept under lock and key.

What is the best project you have ever worked on and why? (Personal or professional)

Like a good parent and their children, I'll never admit to having a favorite!

Andrew Kolb Tattoo It Yourself Cards

What are your favorite resources/ inspiration?

My big-picture inspirational people are the likes of Mary Blair and Mike Mignola. While they're of a different time, aesthetic, and content, they both approach their work with a simplicity that quickly communicates tone and content. I'm always inspired by those who are visually efficient and If I can be half as effective as the likes of them, I'll be on my way.

Outside of the art world, I'm an avid reader and love seeing how pictures are crafted with the written word. In the same way, I'm amazed when an author can take two relatively simple sentences and immediately paint a vivid mental picture. I don't have any direct examples to source but I'm reading "Neuromancer" by William Gibson right now and he's definitely concise in his writing.

Thanks Andrew!

You can find more information about Andrew's work for the Stacks Exhibition on the Light Grey Shop or permanent online gallery here. You can also see his process sketches and upcoming works on his blog and website!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Stacks Exhibition

STACKS Promo Images

There is just one week left to stop by and view the hand-bound, limited edition zines from the Stacks Exhibtion! We invite you to come page through these unqiue comics, full color illustrations, and humorous stories that recap the last thirty years of memories, pop culture, and historical events!

Ho_Apatosaurus Tinkering by Catherine Ho

The entire gallery is lined with these technicolored, humorous, and clever zines! Some of the topics include the Legend of Zelda, Jurassic Park, Project Runway, Alexander McQueen, the X-files and other glorious television shows from the 1990s!

Stacks Preview Scarred for Life by Adriana Bellet

If you can't make it by in person, you are always welcome to check out the permanent exhibition archive on the Light Grey Website here, and you can also find all of these limited edition zines on the Light Grey Shop!

Thanks for your support!

Monday, August 25, 2014


Skate or Die : Skateboard Show at Light Grey Art Lab

Skate or Die
A Macabre Skateboard Exhibition
Opens October 10th
7 - 10pm

In the late 80s/ early 90's I had a Powell Peralta. That skateboard was probably the most metal thing I've ever owned in my life. It was an old-school board, nearly as heavy as I was, and twice as thick. I could barely get it off the ground but I loved it to death. I felt like a beast when I held it, covered in bruises and scabs from practicing kickflips. I was never very good, but I still remember coveting my "I wish my boyfriend could skate" shirt, and the excitement of sending Thrasher my envelope drawings, hoping they'd get published in the next issue.

In honor of the most metal of months (October, obviously) we're hosting a new exhibition featuring your artwork gracing 7-ply Canadian Maple 'canvases'. Make it dark, make it paranormal, or make it a throwback to the good ol' days when They Live and Return of the Living Dead were our go-to movies for a Friday Night… We're looking for artists that want to join forces for a Halloween exhibition that will make you... flip.

The Skate Or Die exhibition launches just as we get our minds set on cooler weather, bonfires and creepy stories near the railroad tracks. Do you have an irrational fear of the man-eating plant from Little Shop of Horrors (Francesca does)? Or maybe a favorite scene from a slasher flick you just can't purge from your brain at night? Sorcery and hexes, superstitions, nature's bizarre and unexplained phenomena, and history's most nefarious circumstances are all fair game. Let's bring your phobias, urban legends and nightmares to life, how you dissect the project is up to you.

So put on your "time-to-die" playlist and let's get dark.

Skate or Die : Skateboard Show at Light Grey Art Lab
Lindsay Nohl's Venus Fly-trap Design on a 7ply Canadian Maple deck.

We've mastered the art of making professional skate-ready decks with vibrant, detailed graphics and a sturdy finish. We'll help your work take shape in time for the exhibition by applying your work to professional grade blank decks, worthy of hanging, displaying or skating on.

The call for art ends September 5th, and we will be curating the exhibition within the following week and posting the final list of artists on the blog shortly after!

Once the final participating artists are announced, each artist will need to supply a digital file of their artwork by September 26th
(sizes and specifics will be sent via email!) and will need to pay for their single blank deck at that time ($25).This deck will be shown in the brick and mortar gallery and listed for sale online for $65 (in addition to the option of purchasing prints of the graphic, which the price is determined by the artist.)
The decks will be for sale and the artists will receive $20 for each deck sold. As always, art prints are sold at a 60%/40% split in favor of the artists, and artists may price these prints however they wish! Each deck that is purchased during the exhibition will be hand crafted by the Light Grey team as ordered.
To enter the call for art, please submit your name, email and a link to your portfolio below like this:

Lindsay Nohl

We'll be sending out more specifics about the gallery exhibition and details on the show to all participating artists shortly after the closing of the call for art! But! If you have any questions, please feel free to send us a note!!


Podcast : 2014 Iceland Diaries - Part Two

Diaries 08.18.14_2014 Iceland Diaries - Part Two
Download the MP3, stream directly on Stitcher, or subscribe via iTunes!

2014 Iceland Diaries - Part Two
Length: 01:53:27
Synopsis: The Light Grey Art Lab team returns to Iceland! This time we're visiting this beautiful country to host a week-long artist residency in southern Iceland, right at the base of the infamous Eyjafjallajökull volcano. We brought together a group of 14 amazing artists and spent an entire week exploring, conversing, and learning. In part two of this three part 2014 Iceland Diaries series, Jenny, Lindsay, and Chris take a moment each night to reflect on the travels, discussions, logistics, and memorable moments from each day. This episode covers the rest of the residency, up until we drop the group off at the airport, but there's more! So be sure to check out the next episode to find out what happens to Lindsay, Chris and Jenny once we head out on our own!

The Black Waterfall.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Podcast: 2014 Iceland Diaries - Part One

08.18.14_2014 Iceland Diaries - Part One
Download the MP3, stream directly on Stitcher, or subscribe via iTunes!

2014 Iceland Diaries - Part One
Length: 01:15:58
Synopsis: The Light Grey Art Lab team returns to Iceland! This time we're visiting this beautiful country to host a week-long artist residency in southern Iceland, right at the base of the infamous Eyjafjallajökull volcano. We brought together a group of 14 amazing artists and spent an entire week exploring, conversing, and learning. In the first of a multi-part 2014 Iceland Diaries series, Jenny, Lindsay, and Chris take a moment each night to reflect on the travels, discussions, logistics, and memorable moments from each day. This episode only covers the first few days of the adventure, so be sure to check out the next few episodes for plenty more!

Chillin' at the pool with @lightgreyartlab.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Artist Interview with Rosena Fung

Rosena Fung
Rosena Fung is an illustrator and comic artist hailing out of Toronto. She began her path to visual narrative a little differently–she attended the University of Toronto and received her Masters in Anthropology, intending on becoming a research professor. She spent so much time drawing while attending UToronto that after finishing school there, she went to OCAD University to study Illustration. She finds it is one of the best things she has ever done.
RFung wip
Could you tell us about your current studio practice? (Your physical space, the kinds of projects that you make and subjects?)

My current studio space is fairly limited: a desk, with a drawer of supplies in my room, and I am learning to adapt to a downsized space as I prepare to move. I have discovered that I'm a social artist, and work best in the company of other artists, so hopefully at some point I can work in a shared studio space.
My main projects are illustrations (from concept-driven to dense and detailed worlds) and comics (both shorts and longer narratives). I learned how to screenprint recently and have been making prints and book arts ever since. I also really love hand-drawn typography.
RFung Catch
Catch of the Day

What are some of your biggest sources of inspiration? (travel, subjects, materials, etc. )

I love eating, so food and the experience of eating (dining out, as a social activity, as a metaphor, etc.) is one of the mainstays of inspiration and subject matter. Besides that, other sources of inspiration include daily life, especially the really mundane stuff, and conversations, comics, fiction and non-fiction books, and drawing really late into the night—that's when the world seems to open up.

RFung Makeup
You do many different kinds of projects, including comics, illustrations, drawings, personal and client based works. What are some of the biggest differences between your process while making completing these projects?

The differences in the process depends on the nature of the project, and who it's for. For most illustrations I approach in a very controlled sort of way. It's actually a lot of writing down ideas, symbols, associations, etc., that happens before I begin drawing, or even thumbnailing. There's definitely a very structured approach that follows a specific sequential process, especially so when working for a client.
I approach comics with more of a free hand in terms of subject matter, visual approaches, and story-telling. They remain deeply personal and less constrained by notions of what something should look like or abiding by certain conventions. When I work on a comic, I think about the kind of story I'd like to tell and why it's interesting, and go from there, without specific expectations of what I think it should be. Sometimes I'm surprised by the direction they go in, and it's a lot like watching a film play out in my head and I'm just documenting it.
While the processes are very different, they work for the each particular project so I can't say that one way is better than the other. A lot of the creative process is about adapting to each project in any case and remaining open to ideas, influences, and ways of working,

You are one of the participating artist in the Stacks Exhibition. Could you talk about your year, zine, and the behind-the-scenes work for this particular piece?
RFung Workspace
My year for the Stacks Exhibition is 2013. For my zine, I depicted my trip to New York City, the first time I had ever gone. I went with some friends to attend the Society of Illustrators' Student Scholarship Show and it was four days of the most fun I've ever had in my life with such an amazing and talented group of people. I fell in love with the city, its energy and people. When I came back, I wanted to capture its effervesence and the immediacy of each moment as I experienced it.

What are some of your most important moments in the past thirty years for your creative career? (The year you decided to go to school? The time you saw... The first time you picked up a material, etc. )

In Grade 7 a friend brought in a Calvin and Hobbes collection, It's a Magical World, and I read it for the first time. I think that was one of the most seminal moments of my creative career. I had been drawing comics before that, but they took on a concrete form from then on. I really started to seriously look at sequential art and storytelling as a compelling medium for art and writing.
Going to OCAD University was a crucial part of my creative development. I learned so much in such a short period of time, not just about image-making, but in terms of self-development and the program really instilled in me a stringent work ethic. I met some of the most brilliant, talented, and generous people at that school, whose work I greatly admire and who have helped me so much in my own work.
RFung Firstperiod
First Period

The Stacks zines are not only presented in the gallery, but also given to each of the contributing artists. Did this add additional pressure, inspiration, motivation?

The nature of the Stacks exhibit and project was inherently personally motivating. I love zines so much; they can be raw and honest, and really heartbreakingly beautiful. The idea of authenticity is often ridiculed and debated in the context of postmodernism and irony, but zines are one of the very few things I can say feels very authentic; regardless of the motivations of the creator and its influences, there is still something very honest and personal about zines. Knowing that I was part of a project of this scope was amazing.

RFung Instant Ramen
Instant Ramen of Self-Loathing, page 1

There seems to be an inherent sense of community built into the world of comics. Could you share your experiences with collaboration, sharing projects, and conventions?

In the past few months, I've started discussing with other friends about different collaborative projects. Working solitary for your entire life and suddenly opening up your personal creative process can be intimidating, but also incredibly rewarding. We shall see how it goes, but I'm pretty excited about the prospects!
Zines and comic fairs are very fun: they are full of great collective energy and you meet really awesome people. Last year I co-organized a zine fair last year, and I attend as many as I can in the city. There's something special about the comics and zine community: if you're doing it, it's because you love it, unequivocally. And so meeting other comic creators and their fans is like a homecoming.

RFung Pizza Pie
Pizza Pie Wars, page 2

What projects are you currently working on?

I've got a few projects on the go right now. I'm currently working on a compilation of autobiographical comic shorts for a new zine, as well as writing a longer comic story that I want to risograph. I'm also working on a new illustration and typography portfolio: I'm very excited to try new media, expand my visual vocabulary, just try new things out.

What are some of your favorite resources? Best places, books, movies, website for inspiration?

I love hanging out at the public library, Toronto has probably one of the best public library systems, ever. My favourite resources for inspiration are comics, but it would be impossible to whittle down a list of favourite creators. Anything by Jillian Tamaki would top that list though, for both illustration and comics. Also a fan of Wes Anderson and Charlie Kaufman movies, and anything written by David Foster Wallace. I also enjoy looking at a lot of different design and illustration blogs, plus I am religiously addicted to Sam Weber's podcast Your Dreams My Nightmares. I'd say a lot of the people around me are the greatest resources I have—the community of other illustrator- and artist-friends who are in it with me together. They are great and I love them!

Thank you, Rosena! If you'd like to see more of Rosena's work, or follow her artistic activity, you can check out her website, blog, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.