December 30, 2017

"Tower of Songs" - Leonard Cohen mural for the City of Montreal

'Tower of Songs' is a mural homage to Leonard Cohen and 21-story high monument to love made in collaboration with Montreal-based mural organization MU, Montreal artist Gene Pendon, and Cohen's estate. This mural was a little bit of a departure for me in a few ways but I'm extremely proud of it. Although I generally try to avoid painting celebrities, I am a fan of Cohen and couldn't pass up the opportunity to honor this artist who embodied a spirit of genuine humility, sincerity, and profound love for humanity that is not usually associated with stars of his stature.
MU and Gene Pendon first brought up the possibility of collaborating on a Leonard Cohen tribute mural in Cohen's hometown back in 2013, prior to the occasion of his 80th birthday, but the project didn't gain full momentum until after Cohen's passing in November of 2016. The scale and prominence of this project required a great deal of time and planning, and involved the collaboration and support of many people. I normally work from my own reference photos, but since that wasn't possible in this case, the design was based off of a photo shot by Mr.Cohen's daughter, Lorca. This is one of the largest murals I've ever painted, and it required long nights of sometimes 12-16 hour sessions–painting just one ear or finger would require days of slow and steady work to complete. Montrealers can be very protective of Leonard Cohen, though I do remember being a little surprised early on in the process by some criticism for the mural's massive size and location. However, since its completion, the mural seems to have been largely embraced and the response has been overwhelmingly positive for which I'm grateful. I'd like to think that the devotional amount of love, labor, and soul that went into this mural was, in the end, clearly visible. Every spraypainted line and circle that the artwork is composed of required a great deal of patience, dedication, and almost prayerful intent–something I'd like to think the mural's soulful subject might appreciate. 
I also hope that this mural serves as a tribute to not only a great artist and the love associated with him, but to a place that supports and values its artists as much as Montreal does. 

Many thanks to everyone who helped make this project happen: the entire MU team, Gene Pendon, Elizabeth-Ann Doyle, Michel de la Chenelière, Leonard Cohen Estate, Conseil des Arts de Montreal, Fondation de la Chenelière, Concordia University, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal, Timbercreek, Brian Levitt, Jonathan Wener, Marcel Elefant, Sari Hornstein, Rossy Family Foundation, J. Gerry Shapiro, Murray Dalfen, Louis-Nicholas Coupal, and the City of Montreal. Special thanks to my right hand man Eric Heights. R.I.P. SCAN
Photos #1, 8, 12, 13: Olivier Bousquet, #3-7: Eric Heights 

Bon article en français ici: 'Le Poète Sur Le Mur'

“The world is all forgetting, and the heart is a rage of directions, but your name unifies the heart, and the world is lifted into its place.”
-Leonard Cohen, ‘Book of Mercy’

November 12, 2017

New mural in Los Angeles: 'The Mother Creator II'

More devotional work for the great city of Los Angeles, painted last Summer. Putting some serious time, soul and energy out there for the people; striving to create good, uplifting public art in these strange, troubled times. This is a companion to my 2016 mural for the City of Montreal, 'La Mère Créatrice' -my homage to feminine creative force. This one's a tribute to artistic mothers, and their capacity to not only make people but art as well. I am an artist largely thanks to the influence of my mother, who is a great, inspiring painter. I've benefited from a lifetime of great conversations about art with her. Also, my mother-in-law, who passed away recently, though she probably wouldn't have considered herself an artist was as prolific and creative as any. The figure depicted in this mural is based on my reference photos of Jane Choe, the fiery artistic mother of my friend David Choe. It was a pleasure working with my talented young crewmate, brother, and local neighborhood resident Aise Born who assisted with the extra Alphonse Mucha-inspired acrylic embellishment on the halo designs.

July 19, 2017

New EL MAC prints: 'Winter in America'

New print release this Thursday, July 20th. Purchase info will be posted at a random time at

Print details:
Winter in America
Signed, titled, and numbered by the artist.
Hand-pulled serigraph by master printer Tony Clough at Serio Press in Pasadena, California. Printed in two colors, the linework was printed in four layers to create a slight embossed effect.
Printed on acid-free, 100% cotton, 330 gsm, Italian Magnani Revere paper with one natural deckled edge along the bottom of the print.
18.25in x 20.25in paper size
(16.25in x 17in printed area)

Winter in America:
edition of 48, dark red on bright red/vermilion

Winter in America II:
edition of 8, dark blue on bright red/vermilion

Winter in America III:
edition of 8, black on cobalt blue

Artist's statement about the work:
'It seems that much of this country, if not the world, has been experiencing a growing climate of fear and confusion. Daily tragedies overwhelm and desensitize as we grow accustomed to hearing constant reports of killings by terrorists, criminals, and police. We face obscene and ever-worsening economic inequality alongside countless social and environmental problems. A dismal and surreal political atmosphere have contributed to a collective feeling of frustration and powerlessness.
I started working on this portrait of a woman in despair late last year as a response. This piece is also an homage to the great German social realist Käthe Kollwitz, who was known for her melancholy drawings and prints depicting the struggles and suffering of the working class from poverty and war. She was born 150 years ago in July of 1867, and her work is still just as powerful and relevant today. The figure was modeled after my wife's grandmother, and like most of my paintings it was not intended as a specific portrait of just one person but rather a representation of many people. It is a simple, direct expression of grief and fatigue in troubled times.'

"It is mid-winter in America; a man-made season of shattered dreams and shocked citizens, fumbling and frustrated beneath the crush of greed of corporate monsters and economic manipulators gone wild (...)
We must all do what we can for each other to weather this blizzard. Now more than ever all the family must be together; to comfort, to protect, to guide, to survive..."
-Gil Scott-Heron (1975)

January 6, 2017

"La Mère Créatrice/The Mother Creator" : New mural for the City of Montreal

This is my most recent mural for the great city of Montreal. It is a symbolist homage to feminine beauty and creative force as represented by a figure that can be seen as a sort of fertility goddess wielding a glowing paintbrush, emanating light amongst verdant, leafy growth. As with most of my work this mural was a devotional labor of love and neurotic perfectionism.
While procreativity is generally seen as a feminine characteristic, creativity is often perceived as intrinsically masculine, and one doesn't need to be an art historian to recognize male domination of the visual arts throughout history. However, thanks to the early influence of my exceptionally talented and inspirational artist mother, I've always taken for granted the tremendous dual capacity in women for both creativity and maternity. Thus, from my own perspective, woman is truly the greatest creator of all and this piece speaks to that.

This project was initiated by Artgang Galerie and made possible by the public art program of the Ville de Montréal, l'Arrondissement Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie, la Société de Développement Commercial de la Plaza St-Hubert, and Le Medley Simple Malt. Many thanks to my good friend Louis of Artgang Galerie for a decade so far of friendship and support. Thanks to Erica for modeling. Additional thanks to Valérie, Kwest, Louis-V, and all the locals who offered so much positive feedback and encouragement. Additional thanks to poutine for sustaining me on a few long cold nights..

Short video below by Eric Heights.
Music: 'Pacification' by La Nouvelle Frontière, recorded in Montreal in 1970