Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Eaton's 9th Floor

For those of you that don't know what the 9th floor is, it's an old art deco style restaurant that was built when the Eaton's Center was built in Montreal in the 30's. It's modelled after the restaurant of a cruise ship and was a popular spot for the people who went shopping in the giant mall. Since Eaton's demise, and the take over of the Eaton's Center by Les Ailes de la Mode... (the original Eaton's part of the shopping centre is now Complexe Les ailes, a mall with 60 stores and a ton of offices) The restaurant has been closed off to visitors and a good 6 floors were converted to offices.

The Inside of The Restaurant
Well a few years back, people who have a website up with pictures they took while exploring Montreal's abandoned, unoccupied or ignored buildings and locations tried to gain access to the interior of the restaurant and document it. The group (called Urban Exploration Montreal) failed to gain access inside the place itself, but took some great pictures of it's lobby, surroundings and the converting process from old 'The Bay' style shopping building to boring white offices. To view a small summary of the 9th and 10th floors of the building, as well as the photographs and videos (although they didn't work for me,) check out the link here.

Interested in some of the abandoned buildings in Montreal? Explore UEM's website and also check this one out! Unlike UEM's website which seems to have had it's last update in 2009, Abandoned Montreal seems to still be updating. The comments made about a sign in an old pumping station made me laugh...

Enjoy :)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Stupid Goldeneye...

I've been doing great for the last, like 4 months not getting distracted by video games, but this game is just too addicting! It's the new Goldeneye 007 game on the Wii. On top of finally being a reason why  should turn on the machine, the game is great and challenging, and it looks good too. It's a remake of Goldeneye on the n64... I game I personally loved growing up and has been a very popular game for anyone that enjoys first person shooters! Here are some videos comparing the two.. Can you spot the differences the video game industry has come up with in 14 years? (the original came out in 1997)

This is the video for the new came, which came out in late 2010 (I find it kickass... except the singers yelling at the end of the sequence.. it kinda gets to me)
This is the Intro of the game which came out in 1997

If you've played the game or seen the movie... I want that satellite :) Birthday's in May.. just sayin'

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Lost and Destroyed Art in WW2

Looking back to the class where we looked into the western cannon of art, one painting made me think more then the others. The stonebreakers, a painting by Gustave Courbet, is a painting made during the late 19th century. It depicts a father working as a stone breaker, a gruelling job with little pay and few prospects. The harsh lighting of the painting shows the sun bearing down on him. His son is standing behind him, symbolizing the fact his fathers job will be continued by him; it's a circle of life that will keep him poor. This painting, like many others, was destroyed during the second world war.

The Stone Breakers, Courbet. 1850 Destroyed with 154 other paintings when the truck transporting them to a castle in Konigsberg was bombed by Allied planes.

We know of it because of photographs, but the original was lost long ago. It's saddening to think a painting important enough to be shown to students in an introductory course on art history couldn't be preserved, but then again, the conflict it was lost in was a very destructive and harsh one. Thinking of all the people who lost their lives in the war is a terrible thought. The loss of art however, is just as bad; people come and go, but one of the only ways to piece together our past is through art, architecture and the design of everyday objects (with the other way being historical accounts through old books.) Losing paintings means losing a page of man's past. Thankfully, a lot of the art that has been destroyed in the last 100 years has been documented, and we can still see a glimpse of its stature.

When Germany invaded europe, and took over the majority of it, Hitler created a list of works of art he wanted. He was building a museum, the Fuhrermuseum, and he wanted the best examples of German art  in it. He ordered the looting of museums across France and the low countries. The art pieces that were thought to have value to the Nazi party were sent to several locations, to be catalogued by art historians and sent to Berlin. Those that didn't were sold on the international art market. Those that weren't sold were destroyed in bonfires like the one in the gardens of the galerie national du jeu de Paume in 1942, where several painitings from prominent artists like Picasso, Dali, Ernst, Klee, Leger and Miro were lost.

 As the war turned sour and Fascist Italy fell, the Germans, under the pretext of 'preserving' art, looted the museums of Italy and sent all the art back to the German mainland. A large amount of the art was found in salt mines across Germany... they were just humid enough to preserve the art and would be protected from the bombing.

This famous photograph shows President Eisenhower, Omar Bradley and General Patton looking at art found in the Salt mine in Merkers

How much of the art didn't make it out of the war? It's hard to tell since there are still works of art that are unaccounted for today. They could have been destroyed since the war, or they could be hiding in an unsuspecting persons attic. The Clark Photograph and Clippings Archive has an account on Flickr documenting the art pieces lost or destroyed during World War 2. While most of the works that are still lost are China and everyday objects, there are still paintings too.

You can take a look at the list of art works, their creators, the year of their destruction and how at this link.

While being the largest act of artistic destruction during the 20th century, it wasn't the only one. Since then, art has been destroyed because of fire, accident, or because of terrorist attack (the September 11th attacks destroyed works of Picasso, Lichtenstein and a tapestry from Miro, one of only two he ever made.) There have been a few instances when art has been destroyed simply because people found it 'ugly.' Richard Serra's Tilted Arc was removed from a New York park in 1989 for this reason.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The JMEC Gallery

Hello! So I've been quite busy this week so that would explain the reason why it took me so long to update the blog! Hopefully what I have today will make up for the fact you guys had to wait so much. So it's been a while since I've created anything creative. The last real effort I made is the 60's suburban house we had to design for a class on Frank Lloyd Wright which I might post up here later in the year. Some of you may know that me and my friends (ironically, the same one's I was with when making the Frank Lloyd Wright house) started a company last semester, and are now making concrete steps into making a real business. It's an exciting time and there's a lot of hope. The people I'm working with are incredibly dedicated and have helped me a lot with this and with other things ver the last year, so having them as partners is great. Since I'm the one who can get around Adobe products, it was my job to make the initial ad trying to get students to join. I'm very pressed for time, since I'm working and taking a bunch of classes, so i wanted to make a work that was easy to create and wouldn't look cheap or ridiculous on a board beside the work of bonafied art students...

Originally I was planning on having no image at all, but while I was bringing a friend home from work last week, she explained to me that I need to have a picture to interest people. She knew what the original plan for the ad was and helped me through some of the design elements, like the fact that it should be placed in the form of a Z, since that's how we read a book. The logo shouldn't be dead centre like I planned on making either... it should be on the side. In all, I ended up taking all her comments into consideration, and while she told me to just add a cartooney looking frame with a question mark in the middle backed by an easel, I thought that... realistically I can do better, and if I'm going to have a drawing up there, I want to be proud of it.

In the end I ended up making the ad that same night, and the french version was made a few days later. I spent many hours on the work... but I tried to keep it as simple as possible. I kept the papers I drew on making the piece, I the hopes that someone following in my footsteps can be inspired in some way or get something out of my experience. I'll post some pictures below and the steps I took making it.

The Logo
Some of the different logos I drew up
The first and most obvious thing laking in our company was the logo. The name for the company was thought up about a week before, being a mesh of Jean Marc, Eunice and Chris. It's an elegant solution. The original plan was the draw a rectangle simulating a painting, with the logo written on the bottom right, like an artist's signature. My friend Sarah (the friend I work with) suggested I keep the box open, and not close it, so the logo morphed into this. Before this page was made, I also thought of making the logo in a diamond shaped square too but the L shape worked the best.


The Ad Template with the original drawing idea

I got the inspiration for my ad from one from a creuset ad I saw on the back of last month's Ricardo Magazine. The drawing is the original idea.. and after looking at the drawing for a little while I decided against it. 

The Living Room

The living room sketch became what  the ad was, I wanted it to have more of a 3d feel then the final product, but with the font I found it looked like an  ad from the 80's, so I was happy. In this drawing, the plan was to make a group of 3 dimensional 'bathroom men'  (that's what I call 'em because I have no idea what the real term is) having a great afternoon surrounded by potential art they bought form us. meh. It also helped me figure out the perspectives. I knew I wanted a 2-point perspective since that becomes more interesting to see and realistic, but it took me like 8 different drawings to get to what I wanted which brings me to...

The Drawing!

Ok so I had 2 points where all the lines went when making the drawing, and everytime I made one thing, I would create a bunch of lines stemming from these points, and converging to make the objects I wanted. It was easy, once I got the perspective right, it just took some time, and it also made my drawing very box like. The only thing that didn't follow the rigid structure was the book on top of the other one in the table... I had to make a whole new perspective for that.. but it makes the whole drawign a bit more realistic. 

The Final Product

The ending was't nearly as ambitious as i would've liked. Since I wanted to create it as quick as possible I couldn't include anything that was rounded or not cube shaped essentially. The advantage is that the end drawing looked simple; it wasn't busy and so it attracts people more. The french version of the ad was a nightmare as far as grammer goes. Thankfully Eunice knows french well and was able to translate everything for me.. but it took me a while to figure out that gallery is with one l in french and means shopping center. You need to indicate art in there or else it makes no sense. :\

... and there you go! So that's it for today's post. My next ad is hopefully going to be a little more ambitious. Maybe an isometric drawing? We'll see. I'm going to the auto show tommorow and it should be a lot of fun! Take care and have a good week.

P.S. I realize the post is screwed up for some reason... I'll fix it at a later time.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Speaking of Star Wars...

...The old man behind the knife counter at work looks like Grand Moff Tarkin... for those of you that don't know Star Wars he's the one who oversaw the construction of the Death Star and ran the first one. Spooky... though I wouldn't be too surprised.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Star Wars PSA

Allright people so I spent the night last night making an ad for the new art dealing company we started. I plan on posting the ad and some of the steps I took in making it up on the blog but there's still a few details that are sketchy so that might have to wait until tomorrow evening. Unfortunately, I was late with this post as well but it'll be the last time for a while! For today, I decided to post something else... Star Wars Public Service Announcements

Star Wars has been an incredible marketing tool and there's been a ton of advertising made over the years with it, but did you know they also had some of the characters make PSA's. I was only able to find a few that were real(most of them are fans making their own adaptations of what Star Wars PSA's would look like) so here they are!

Star Wars Smoking PSA
What Happens when a little droid discovers a cigarette?
You'd think an anti-smoking ad featuring Star Wars characters would feature Darth Vader (I mean it makes more sense then the droids, although I found the ad they made very endearing... especially the end when C3PO adresses the audience)

1979 - STAR WARS Drunk Driving PSA Commercial
None of the main characters are in this one... but the cantina is!

Star Wars 'Childhood Immunization' PSA
Another R2D2-C3PO combo PSA, this one talks about how important it is to have your children immunized. This PSA was released in April 1978.

These ads were all released in the late 70's, a year or 2 after the first movie was made. It gives people today an idea of the immediate impact the movie had on viewers (children and teenagers in articular) and if anything it's a shame that there haven't been any PSA's (that I know of... from an online search at least)  with the Star Wars crew since. There's so much possibility! From the Emperor having a one-on-one chat with the viewer over the excesses of plastic surgery, to Admiral Ackbar smacking drugs off a kids hand while franticly yelling "ITS A TRAP!", to showing a video of Porkins telling kids to eat right and exercise in case an evil empire builds a death star and it ends up being your job to fire a proton missile through a small hole (hard AND kinky) ...

Porkins Video Tribute

So in conclusion, George Lucas, sir, please work with the government and make more PSA's. They rock, years later kids remember them, and your movie spreads some good vibes through the galaxy. It's a win-win-win. win. 

Friday, January 7, 2011

To All the Negative Voices In My Head...

... I'm doing this for myself. I need to prove to myself that I'm able to be someone worthwhile in life. I know I won't regret it when I get it, and I deserve this. So goodnight and good riddence... hopefully for a while.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year!

Hey guys! This post came a little late since I've been working non stop for a week and so this was my first chance off, and I've moved my post to today. It's been a crazy week, at work and at home, since we got to finally open our christmas presents (we open ours on new years) and hang out with the family. I haven't seen my grandparents in a while and my grandfather was really excited to see me. They're getting older and that house they live in has been in our family since construction... it's provided us with stability and comfort for so many years, but I see them now and think to myself thank goodness they're moving out of that place. It's too far, too big and cleaning and maintaining it is a daunting task, so I'm glad we sold it and are going to have them move nearby within the year. Since we're getting rid of some of the old stuff in their house, I was given an old Ronson table lighter. Apparently these old lighters precede the modern throw away Bic lighters and were made sturdy and refillable, kind of like a large Zippo lighter. Comparing a Ronson to a Zippo is ironic, since over the course of the 20th century they were rivals, until Ronson essentially lost the race, and now Zippo owns the American rights to Ronson Products.

The one i got has had a hell of a ride. It was incredibly dirty, and jammed... it needs a few new parts, but I cleaned it best I could. It took about 20 cutips and some rubbing alcohol, but the mechanism now looks like the day it was first bought. The body is in terrible shape, it's been banged up so many times that the outer enamelled layer has chipped off in places. I figure I could take it all off and show the inner chrome, but I like it the way it is... shows its history. My grandparents threw parties every week, sometimes several days in a week, and there was always a ton of alcohol and cigarettes. This lighter reminds me of all the fun they must've had, and once it gets to work again It'll be a great trinket too! A fun fact is these lighters are everywhere online (back in the 50's and 60's, they were considered better then Zippo, so there's a ton around) and they're cheap too! If you feel like working on an old piece of technology, and want to impress friends with a fancy lighter, this is definitely something to look for!

(Here's a picture of a beautiful one from the art deco period, taken from

If you'd rather have a brand new Ronson, with retro styling, you still can. The British factory that was building Ronson lighters survived the fall of it's American owner, and they still make them. You can get information on the different models on their website. ... my favourite lighter is the Veraflame

What my dad got was rather odd. It's a Wahl Hand-E. Not from the Wall-E line of products from the movie of the same name but I vibrating massager. Kind of suggestive, but actually really effective on the back! I was impressed by the thing. Although it's small and turning it on is like turning on a breaker switch, all the attachments are still fine (they're made of rubber but haven't worn out with use) (probably because this thing was never used...) and it looks cute. What made me laugh the most was on the Wahl website. They seem to have a modern version of the Hand-E with almost all of the same attachments! It retails at 40$

The Ronson Lighter I got. Shined the Chrome best I could, but the body will stay that way.

So for those starting school today good luck and have fun! I'll be joining you guys tommorow.