Thursday, June 29, 2017


In January we were excited to get our new studio at cSPACE King Edward, an old sandstone school built in 1912, which has/is being converted into an arts incubator in south Calgary.

Our studio is half of a classroom which was the principal's office in the 70's and so we are calling it the "Principles Office". Some of the original mouldings were kept but essentially it's a blank canvas.

I started with a photoshop mashup to plan and visualize how we would set up the space. I controlled costs by using off the shelf shelving and customizing them with hard wood tops and such.

I wanted to enclose the sink so it would be less of a focal point and would have a cleaner profile when we have gallery shows. It was a challenge to visualize and find a way to make this happen.

I painted a feature wall grey which went well with dark brown moulding. I was really keen on the idea of a mural but I didn't want to commit to a hand painted mural or the expense of digital vinyl.

The tape drawings were pretty spontaneous. For example originally I wanted to do a big head shape. I did quick sketches in my sketchbook and then guesstimated it's placement on the wall.

Sometimes this didn't work out and I "erased" the original designs. For this design I wanted something more whimsical and something that would utilize the wall space better.

It usually took me a day or two to do each design element.  The tools I used were ladders, levels, scissors, rulers, and photography tape. I had to redo a character because it didn't read as a brain.

I originally saw tape murals done at an illustration conference, Icon 7. You can do much more organic line if you plan and cut your tape, but it was much quicker and easier to use geometric line.

The "SHARE" design was an illustration I did years ago and reused here. Art's Gym was a name considered for the studio but it was already used. I plan to use this straight lined style in other illos.

I enjoyed working with wood, and real wood was surprisingly economical. But I also used veneer plywood because of the ease, and I also like how it looks when lamented –  like around the sink.

I also did a bunch of furniture hacking including these shelves which I added table tops, wheels and wood doors. I had some old beat up benches that I painted and added a top to match.

I put wheels on everything so the studio can be modular and multifunctional. A space where we can do work, put on shows, workshops, or collaborative projects.

Many people that come in to the studio are curious what tape I use, some assume electrical tape which would be hell to work with. I use old school photo tape and it cost under 100 bucks total.

This is how it looks as of today. Now that the studio is mostly organized we are now focusing on organizing ourselves(!) and our mission plan as an incubator for all things illustrative. The tape mural will be up until late August. After which we will need the wall space for some exciting group shows and collaborative projects in the fall!

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