Looking back, moving forward

As in previous years (201120122013201420152016, 2017, 2018, 2019), here is my annual recap of how my year unfolded.

In January, I created some custom lettering for the cover of Chatelaine magazine.

In February, I lettered a unique note for a Maison Simons advertisement. I also got the chance to do some window painting at Type Books.

In March, I created a quick custom letter animation for the new H Word podcast.

At the end of June, I released three Pride graphics to share on Instagram.

To mark this bizarre year, and my 38th birthday, I did a self-portrait in graphite in July. I also released a couple of new custom signs in August: Start & 100% homo milk.

In September, I launched two new online course books: Brush pen lettering, as well as Showcard and Sign Painting. I also released my new Rotary calendar. Also, Life is Good!

In October, I created a small campaign called Not Amazing to encourage people to shop local. I also teamed up with some amazing Toronto artists to do a special Holiday card sale - it was a huge success! I also had the chance to paint the window of the new Craig's Cookies.

In November, I was featured on the podcast Talk Paper Scissors (thanks again, Diana!) My work was also featured for four weeks at the Window Gallery exhibit on Church Street (thanks again, Sonja!)

And before the year came to an end, I painted a special note on the The Theatre Centre windows, and also created a unique Parkdale High Park custom lettering commission.

2020 was a year like no other. Thanks to everyone for your support. Have a safe and happy holiday!

Not amazing

2020 has been a challenging and transformative year. As an independent freelance designer, I have been grateful for the financial support of the Canadian government to help bridge the gap in income as clients adjust to new and evolving economic realities. And as an artist and maker, I am thankful for the people who continue to support my art practice through likes, shares, comments, commissions, and sales though my online shop and Etsy store. Right now, it could not be more important to support local business.

Every purchase you make is a choice, and in 2020, we seem to have more choice than ever. With the freedom of online shopping, you can now have exactly what you want, delivered to your doorstep, sometimes even in the same day.

But discounted prices and unprecedented convenience come at a great cost, and we must no longer turn a blind eye to these hidden consequences. Multinational mega-corporations like Amazon, Walmart and Costco threaten to crush small businesses because of the power we have given to them through our seemingly innocuous purchasing.

Take Amazon as an example. It is notorious for its deplorable working conditions and unfair wages for its warehouse employees, ongoing lawsuits, tax evasion, and the cumulative effect that their shipping model has on our environment is catastrophic. Yet, it has soared into a new level of market dominance since the onset of the global pandemic. Amazon now has a market cap over $1.14 trillion. Its CEO Jeff Bezos, is the wealthiest human on the planet, with a net worth over $204.6 billion (Forbes, August 2020). He makes $215 million in one day. He makes more money in one minute than what his warehouse workers make in one year. (Sidenote: one million seconds is 11 days, one billion seconds is 32 years, one trillion seconds is 31709 years.) Think about what Amazon will be worth after the pandemic. This level of wealth hoarding is dangerous and unsustainable. 

Corporations like Amazon rely on your complacency. Amazon’s revenues are nearly incomprehensible, and it and its peers can use their scale to intimidate and stifle competition. It may feel hopeless, but the purchasing choices you make have power. Like a single voice in a protest, or an individual ballot in an election, your actions contribute to direct, cumulative change.

Moving into this holiday season - the bread and butter for so many small businesses - you have choice. Not just in what products and services you buy, but which businesses you support. Please make a commitment to support local as often as possible, even if it costs a few more cents than Amazon.

If you are in a position to purchase gifts this year, here are some things you can do today, tomorrow, and every day:
  • Talk about these issues with friends and family (share this post!)
  • Research to find out what is available locally. Then, work your way outwards to support neighbouring communities.
  • Share what you like. Word of mouth is magic for small business.
  • Ask for what you are looking for. Small businesses want to help other small businesses.
  • Consider making purchases earlier this year (to prevent creating backlogs in the post system this December), and grouping and sharing your shipping when possible.
  • Pay it forward. Rate high, refer often, and tip generously.

Be kind, stay safe, and help each other. Thanks!

 

Rotary calendar

This rotary calendar works all year round, every year, ever. Perfect for home, school or office.

Measures 9.5” x 11”. Designed and printed in Toronto on 34pt matte Convertible Solutions Multiloft on the HP Indigo Digital Press, and meticulously diecut on the Zund digital diecutter. The calendar is then hand-assembled and bound with a metal rivet.

Available for purchase in my shop.

Showcard & Sign Painting workbook
















Sign painting is a perfect blend of draftsmanship and artistry, of rules and intuition, of precision and incongruity. With the emergence of the “slow movement” in the last decade, and a renewed interest in analog techniques – perhaps a reaction against the technologies that dominate so many aspects of our lives – the demand for traditional sign painting has returned. Many small businesses prefer signs made by humans, not machines. People want art in their homes made by people, not factories. And those with an interest in typography and handmade letterforms (both professionals and hobbyists) are interested in painting letters by hand. 

These 10 worksheets will help you navigate your sign painting journey. This booklet contains an overview of supplies, techniques, stroke practice, as well as full reference alphabets and guideline sheets. Please let this workbook inspire you to embrace your own personal style, and create your best sign painting work.

No experience required, but you will need your own paint materials, which are thoroughly discussed in the kit.   

Available as a physical booklet or digital download in my shop.


Brush Pen Lettering workbook



























Hand-lettering often speaks louder than a font or typeface because of its personal touch and charming imperfections. Brush pen lettering, a variation of cursive handwriting, has made a resurgence in recent years because of a renewed interest in the handmade, and a yearning for authenticity. It also acts as an excellent exercise in mindfulness, and offers the groundwork for creative ventures like lettermail, journalling, and art projects.

This 12-page workbook will help you navigate your brush pen lettering journey. The booklet contains an overview of supplies, techniques, stroke practice, as well as full reference alphabets and guideline sheets. 

No experience required, but you will need your own brush pens and paper, which are thoroughly discussed in the kit. I hope this workbook inspire you to embrace your own personal style, and create your best brush lettering work. 

Available as a physical booklet or digital download in my shop.


Love is in the air



To share my love with all of you, I have created 4 FREE downloadable Valentine cards:

Love (black and white)

Kiss (colour)

XO (black and white)

XO (colour)


Looking back, moving forward


As in previous years (201120122013201420152016, 2017, 2018), here is my annual recap of how my year unfolded.

In January, I was featured in UPPERCASE Magazine's beautiful new book, The Encyclopedia of Inspiration: Ephemera.

After months of preparation, I revealed a new look for my personal brand in February. Posts here, here and here.

In March, I hand-painted some signs for The Theatre Centre, and painted the windows at Type Books. I also offered hand-letter cards at She Matters, a fundraising brunch in support of the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, which offers legal representation, professional counselling and multilingual interpretation to women who have experienced violence.

Village Juicery generously displayed some of my collection for the month of April. I also had the privilege of painting the windows at the new Wonder Pens Clinton St. location. And I checked one thing off my bucket list: I played my first-ever ukulele recital!

In May, I had fun painting a special pantry sign.

June was a busy month! I offered my first sign painting workshop, in partnership with Above Ground Art Supplies. I designed a super fun t-shirt for the Stratford Festival production of Little Shop of Horrors. I designed the poster and graphics for the Vintage Taps' production of The Laundry List. I did some fun sign painting for LeTao and Kilogram. And I got a chance to help out the 519 with some huge hand-painted pride protest signs.

In August, I had the privilege to do a sign painting treatment on the cover of Chatelaine Magazine.
I also did a fun sign painting / pop art homage.

In October, I did some custom lettering for Tafelmusik's Haus Musik series in Toronto. I was the feature artist at Italic Press. And my sign painting article was featured in Issue 43 of UPPERCASE Magazine.

November was a big month. I had new work at the Buddies in Bad Times Art Attack auction. I had fun painting the window at the new Craig's Cookies on Church Street. And I also got to paint a lovely Joni Mitchell lyric for the holiday window at Type Books. But the biggest news on the month (and year) was being part of the One of a Kind winter show. Months of preparation all led up to joining 850+ vendors for 117 hours over 11 days at Toronto’s biggest gathering of local makers. I feel privileged that was included in this world-class event, and thankful for every single person I’ve met during this experience.

This year would not have been possible without the support of everyone.
I wish you all the best in 2020.

CR

Processed Canada postcards


Hand-painted with acrylic and One Shot enamel paint, available as a set of five 4.5"x6" postcards, printed on Mohawk Superfine Eggshell Ultrawhite 120lb matte fine art paper using an HP Indigo 7800 Digital Press.

Available for purchase here.

True North Strong & Free


Hand-painted with acrylic and One Shot enamel paint, scanned, and printed on Mohawk Superfine Eggshell Ultrawhite 120lb matte fine art paper using an HP Indigo 7800 Digital Press.

Available for purchase here.

Product of Canada


Hand-painted with acrylic and One Shot enamel paint, scanned, and printed on Mohawk Superfine Eggshell Ultrawhite 120lb matte fine art paper using an HP Indigo 7800 Digital Press.

Available for purchase here.