Tuesday, 16 December 2008

REPIXX Show at Sam's

Chris Smith says:
"REPIXX has a new phase as of today. It's now found a home in the store windows of the old Sam's (Sam the Record Man) on Barrington St. here in Halifax. Pretty fitting hanging an art show based on music in an old record store I think!"
So you can still see the show if you missed it at Argyle Fine Art. And you can still buy the super cool show catalogue from Argyle Fine art. I have one and you can't have it, so i suggest you get your own while you still can!

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Uncle Baby Blog

Attention Uncle Baby fans: Uncle Baby now has his very own blog:

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Tuesday, 4 November 2008


    I have created a new pixel art piece that is being featured in a show called REPIXX. Here are the details:

    Celebrate the Photography of Chris Smith through the Eyes of 15 Artists in this innovative show of artistic collaboration and creativity


Opening Friday, November 14th, 7pm-9pm- Argyle Fine Art

All Welcome! Artists in attendance. Music provided by DJ Double A

(HALIFAX)- Argyle Fine Art is very excited to present our upcoming show REPIXX - on display from November 12-November 24th. Award winning music photographer Chr!s Sm!th decided to create an opportunity to collaborate with other visual artists in the group show REPIXX opening this weekend in Pictou County (Nov 6-9) as part of Nova Scotia Music Week and then coming to Argyle Fine Art next FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 14th, 7-9pm….so mark your calendars because this is one show you don’t want to miss! REPIXX will feature the work of 15 visual artists who have created original works of art inspired by Sm!th’s photography of Canadian and international musicians. Each visual artist was supplied with a photo and the simple mandate to “create”! Come see the results as these fantastic new pieces are displayed alongside the photos that inspired them.

Participating artists are: Gordon MacDonald, Steven Rhude, Teresa Bergen, Mike Holmes, Trevor Van den Eijnden, Kevin Lewis, Sara Caracristi, Lisa Brawn, Ed Beals, Brian Porter, Mark MacAulay, Sydney Smith, Marcel Kerkhoff, Blythe Church and James Walker.

Bringing artists together was the name of the game for photographer Chr!s Sm!th when coming up with the idea for REPIXX. “I want people to understand that this is not my show but OUR show. The artists involved have poured their creative energy into this and I can’t wait to see it all together!” says Sm!th. The title for the show came out of talking about the show from the perspective of a re-mix of sorts..but playing on the name of Nicki Sixx of Motley Crue-one of Sm!th’s personal favourite photographs in this collection. Other musicians that Chr!s Smith has photographed and included in the show are: Joel Plaskett, Wintersleep, The Novaks, Matt Mays, Gordie Johnson, Hey Rosetta!, The Divorcees, Old Man Luedecke, Matt Andersen, Zoobombs, The Superfantastics, Barley, Ross Neilsen and Squid.

”REPIXX was created to be a rock dropped into a pond. Yes, there will be a big splash, but the ripples afterwards will be where the action is once the exhibition closes,” states Sm!th . Adriana Afford, owner of Argyle Fine Art, shares his vision and believes that “When people work collaboratively with one another, there is no end to what can be accomplished.”

*The opening reception in Halifax on November 14th will also celebrate the great successes of Photopolis…as the closing party for this wonderful festival of photography…so come out and celebrate one and all!

Musician photos include:
Joel Plaskett
The Novaks
Matt Mays
Gordie Johnson
Hey Rosetta!
The Divorcees
Old Man Luedecke
Matt Andersen
Motley Crue
Ross Neilsen
The Superfantastics

Gordon MacDonald
Blythe Church
Kevin Lewis
Steven Rhude
Teresa Bergen
Sara Caracristi
Trevor Van den Eijnden
Marcel Kerkhoff
Brian Porter
Sydney Smith
Mike Holmes
James Walker
Mark MacAulay
Ed Beals
Lisa Brawn



Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Prepaid Envelopes

While we were having our coffee this morning, and opening the mail, an idea came up: Can we use the prepaid envelopes that came with the junk mail to send letters to friends and family for free? The idea struck me as so obvious, that if it did work, there must be a flood of information on the web about it. Well, there isn't.

After looking around for a few minutes I found that "prepaid" envelopes are not all really prepaid. They are sort of "prepaid-in-waiting". The company that sent out the envelope is only charged for the postage if the envelope is used and scanned going back through the system. That's what all those little bars are for.

So, why not use them for your own mail by just putting on an address label over the address printed on the envelope? Well, apparently many of these envelopes are coded to a specific postal code, and if it is sent to some other postal code, the recipient could be on the hook for the postage. Makes sense.

Junk mail seems to really get people wound up. I found there are a lot of people out there who like to send these envelopes back filled with other junk mail they have received. They will send the Pizza Hut flier to the credit card company, the muffler shop offer to the magazine subscription department and so on. The reasoning being that the company who sent the envelope has to pay to get your junk back, which adds to their own recycling costs and wastes their time. Some people even claim they have attached the envelopes to larger packages with several pounds of junk (even bricks and bottles of water!), costing the company even more money. Do people really do things like that? Seems like a lot of trouble to me.

I'm not so sure sending anything back is such a great idea. As I understand it, a lot of junk mail is handled by third party companies who just deal with bulk mail outs. Might they not count any return as a hit? After all they want to have high hit rates to demonstrate how well their service works. Might that not trigger even more junk mail? At least they know you actually opened it.

The people who were advocating sending junk back were not saying that they didn't get junk mail anymore, in fact they all complained about getting more and more. So while loading up a credit card company's envelope with their own shredded junk mail may feel satisfying in the moment, I very much doubt it would be much of deterrent, even if it does get back to the offices of the company in question. And shipping your junk mail around through Canada Post is not really doing anything to help reduce waste or lower carbon emission.

No, it's not as exciting as sweet revenge, but perhaps a better alternative is to visit the Canada Post web site, where you can participate in the Canada Post "Consumer Choice Program", which is supposed to stop delivery of unaddressed ad mail to your home.

Here's a quote from the web site:
Through the Consumer Choice Program, you may opt out of receiving Unaddressed AdmailTM delivered by Canada Post. However, choosing this option may also discontinue your delivery of municipal notices and mailings, such as municipal calendars. It is important to note that this option does not discontinue the delivery of unaddressed advertising by parties other than Canada Post.

Not perfect, I guess. But it's a start.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Microwaves meet CD

you ever put a CD in a microwave oven? I used an old data CD (they do pile up don't they?), so there was no heavy printing on the back, just the thin foil layer. When I pushed "start" there was quite a display! Sparks flying and zapping sounds. In just a few seconds a pattern like an ancient, weathered mosaic had formed in the foil as it cracked and split. It may not be the smartest thing to do. I have no idea if it's bad for the oven. It also produces fumes that are likely not exactly good for you. I'll use this one as a coaster.

Thursday, 28 August 2008


I made muffins today for the first time. Oatmeal with white and dark chocolate... and a pecan half on top for decoration. Not bad for a first try, they actually taste quite good.

SeXXXy Doll (2000)

It is hard to believe it was way back in 2000 that I created my Flash animated short, SeXXXy Doll. I had to prepare a DVD ready version SeXXXy Doll for a screening at this year's Ottawa International Animation Festival, so since I finally had a video version, I went ahead and put it on YouTube. But why the heck would they be showing SeXXXy Doll at the OIAF eight years later? Well, they are presenting a 4-part series to compliment the release of Chris Robinson's new book, entitled "Canadian Animation: Looking for a Place to Happen", and they want to screen SeXXXy Doll as part of the Calgary/Halifax program. The Festival runs Sept 17-21st this year.

More about Chris Robinson and his book

"In 2007, writer Chris Robinson traveled across Canada to meet with some of the country’s leading independent animation filmmakers. Along the way, Robinson muses about the animation art form in Canada and his own relationship to the scene and personalities, many of whom are friends and colleagues. As he travels from place to place he carries along his own private (and sometimes not-so private) struggles with insomnia, depression, identity, cab drivers, hobos and nobos and the shocking murder of animator Helen Hill, who‚s life and work embody many of the themes that colour these conversations.

"With the intimate detail of a diary, Canadian Animation: Looking for a Place to Happen weaves together history, memoir and dream into a mesmerizing and candid portrait of Canadian animation, art, doing, drifting and dying.

"Lavishly illustrated, the book’s cast includes award-winning animators Marv Newland (Bambi Meets Godzilla), Chris Landreth (Ryan), Chris Hinton (Nibbles), David Fine (Bob and Margaret, Ricky Sprocket), Wendy Tilby (When the Day Breaks), Anne-Marie Fleming, Torill Kove (The Danish Poet), Claude Cloutier (Sleeping Betty), Janet Perlman (Why Me?) and many more.

"Chris Robinson is an Ottawa-based author and the Artistic Director of the Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF). A noted animation commentator, curator, and historian, Robinson is a leading expert on Canadian and international independent animation. He is also a frequent contributor to The Ottawa Citizen and The Ottawa Xpress.

His other books include: Estonian Animation: Between Genius and Utter Illiteracy (2006), Unsung Heroes of Animation (2005), Stole This From a Hockey Card: A Philosophy of Hockey, Doug Harvey, Identity & Booze (2005), and The Animation Pimp (2007).

Robinson lives in Ottawa with his wife Kelly and their sons Jarvis and Harrison. His dog is Molly.

Canadian Animation: Looking for a Place to Happen will be published by John Libbey Publishing and available through Indiana University Press in the Fall of 2008.

The book will be launched at the Ottawa 2008 International Animation Festival in conjunction with a retrospective screening of Canadian independent animators.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Uncle Baby 1: This is my Show

Uncle Baby came to life one day while the Bulaja kids and I were playing with their toys at the kitchen table. There was a maker and a little plastic baby doll and I just couldn't resist. I think it was one of the twins that came up with the name "Uncle Baby" a few days later. We would just goof around and make him talk in this gruff grown-up voice. The kids and I thought it was hilarious. I decided right from the start that there should be some Uncle Baby movies. Ivor took Uncle Baby on holiday and took a series of funny photos and even made them into a comic book. The Uncle Baby legend was growing! Just before I left Zagreb to return to Canada, the kids presented me with my own Uncle Baby. So now there are two Uncle Babies. I made a little test movie that very night and that movie is now available on YouTube.

Uncle Baby 2: The Nature has been shot but it might be a couple of weeks before I find the time to edit it. So there will be more to come.

Monday, 18 August 2008


I just made gnocchi from scratch for the first time. I first ate it in Italy, but I really learned to love it while living in Croatia. It's really not hard to make; it's just a potato dough made from mashed potatoes, flour and an egg, but it took me awhile to get the hang of rolling the dough on a fork to make the little grooved shapes. After making nearly 200 of those little buggers I think I got the hang of it! You can use pretty much any sauce you would use on pasta, but in Zagreb I learned how to make a sauce using Gorgonzola cheese, mileram (sour cream), and smoked ham. It's delicious! You just boil them like pasta, but it only takes about three minutes. Normally they would be white, but I didn't have enough white flour, and had to use half white and half whole wheat flour... I hope that won't make much of a difference. So that's what we are having for dinner tonight. I hope you are hungry, Nell.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008


I made it back to Canada. I think I have been without sleep for about 36 hours now.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Croatia Farewell

My ten month stay in Croatia is coming to an end. I am booked to fly home to Canada on Monday, Aug. 4. The only snag is my flight is with Lufthansa, and they currently have ground crews that are on strike. I've been trying to find out if my flight is canceled or not, but under the circumstances nothing is certain. I pretty much have to wait until the day, show up really early, and see what they can do for me.

When play is work, and work is play

Airline adventures aside, I am very glad I came to Zagreb to work on this "Tesla Project". The opportunity came at a time when I really needed to get away and get some new perspective on life. I got to do a lot of traveling and work with some really great people like Helena and Zvonimir Bulaja, photographer Al Keddie and musician/composer Christian Biegai. There were many other creative people who worked on this project long before I got involved, and still others who are joining the crew as I prepare to leave. Collectively we have produced a huge amount of material that has to be shaped and molded into a film, website, books, and even performances. Helena has grand visions, but somehow she makes them happen.

It's all about the Food

I am very excited about heading back to Canada, but there are things I will miss about Croatia. The coast here is simply stunning. I love spending time in Split, even in the middle of winter. I will miss sipping cappuccino in Britanski Square and eating pastry with salty cheese. Zagreb has the best pizzas I've had anywhere, including Italy. I developed a passion for octopus here (thanks Josh! --and is there something in octopus that makes you a bit goofy? I seem to feel intoxicated whenever I have it... or was I just happy after a good meal?). I will miss the ice cream, which is generally very good everywhere, but Vincek on Ilica St.-- oh my! The cakes and other deserts there are works of art as well. In the winter there are street vendors selling roasted chestnuts, and little stands offering sausages --the spicy ones were excellent! We just called them "spicy street sausage" (which Al's friend, Sarah mistook as a euphemism for something else entirely!).
Oh and of course the "Toplo Hladno" sandwiches from the Pingvin Sandwich Bar on Teslina St. are delicious. I will miss the outdoor fruit and vegetable markets that operate all year long, and the Sunday flea market at Britanski Square with it's mix of treasures and trash.

Higher ground

I won't miss the grey clouds that can hang over Zagreb for weeks in the winter. They blanket the city and just seem to get stuck there, getting thicker and thicker, leaving you to wonder if the sun will ever return. But just one afternoon up on Medvednica, just above the clouds, improved my outlook immensely. I should have gone up there more often. Speaking of the mountain, it features an extensive trail system. I made a few hikes up to Medvedgrad and to a cave for a tour.


I wish I had learned more of the language while I was here, but the truth is it is very easy to be lazy about learning Croatian because most people here speak English very well and as soon as I say dobra dan in what I think is a passable accent, they immediately switch to English. I learned only the basics, like pivo (you always learn the local word of beer right away!), and basic greetings like bok, dobra dan, dobra vecer and dovidjenja or just jenja. For some reason I learned the numbers pet and deset right away (and so pedeset came easily), and eventually I learned osam, and dvadeset... but really, I should have learned more numbers by now! Thanks to my friend's children I quickly learned doci, idemo, and ne. I learned the names of a few types of stores and businesses like frizerski, pekara, and obuća (I challenge anyone to take one walk down Ilica Street and not figure out what obuća means).

You will learn "ulaz" and "izlaz" pretty quickly if you don't want to keep running into people. Waiters here seemed to be endlessly entertained by my pronunciation of "Ozujsko". I eventually figured out that I was putting the emphasis on the wrong syllable. Oh yes, another of my favourite things to say, also food related, is "kikiriki."

I picked up a few other words here and there, of course, but every word seems to have several forms and the grammar completely eluded me. There is an old lady who lives in the same apartment building as me. She's pretty slow moving and I've held the door open for her a few times. She chatters away to me in Croatian, and I have told her that "I only speak English", to which she replies "Ahhh, English..." and then she just continues chattering away to me. I guess it really doesn't matter to her if I understand or not. She's likely talking about the weather, or telling me that she's slow because her back is sore or that she's off to visit her grandchildren. I just smile and say "dobra" and "da". She is likely thinking, "what a nice retarded fellow".

Monday, 14 July 2008


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