Forest Art & Laptop Photography

For those who’re curious, I’ve been messing around with various mediums (sketch, paint, comic, experimental photos/film, found art installation etc.) since I was a kid growing up in the woods and wilds of Southern Ontario – now residing in BC.

I love the notion of street art drops, but as I live surrounded by woods, the idea of environmentally-friendly forest art drops (composed of mats I’ve found in the wild) are more up my trail. It’s not about whether anyone finds the drop; it’s about the ritual of giving back, replenishing in different and new ways what we all take from the earth.

I don’t have a camera at present, thus most of the work I do is directly from my computer (update: I DID however just acquire a used cell phone which I hope to make use of for future works). Rudimentary as my work is, I’m enjoying playing with what is considered beauty, or even ‘proper’ photography. Blurring here, emboldening there, I’m coming up with my own style. It’s interesting and fun for me to experiment, whether it be artistically, musically, or lyrically.

Oh yeah, and speaking of music, you can hear some of my stuff here* and also over here.*

*note, they’re largely ‘engine room’ tracks (unedited works in progress) or older works.

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If you’re wondering about this moniker, Beatrice was the name of Dante’s muse and Smartt just had a good snap to it.

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If you’re interested in supporting any of my creative endeavours, well holla at me and I’ll look into utilizing patreon or a similar platform. I’m a broke artiste, dude, but I’d certainly create more work – especially of the musical variety – if I could afford to! 🙂

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You can reach me on this twitter or that twitter.

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The HORROR! A brief conversation with Jay Glen

The Horror!

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I mean, if horror scares you anymore.
Fake news and all things considered.

Mary Shelley was supposedly 18 when she wrote Frankenstein.
Lewis Carroll was not the real name of the author of Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland.

But whatever, man.

Art is sometimes horrifying, and gorgeous, and that’s where Jay Glen comes in.

He might not consider himself a ‘professional’ artist, but his work WORKS on several layers, and that’s why I love it. Here’s a brief chat with this talented and humble creator:

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BS: How did you get interested in art?

JG: I love art but all I know about I was taught by a friend! I did go to art school but I dropped out after one term due to poverty.

BS: How old were you when you began to feel inspired by ‘horror’? Do you have any fave novels and the like you tend to look to for inspiration?

JG: I’ve always been interested in art, I was drawing as soon as I could lift a pencil. I come from a single-parent family and luckily, my Ma always encouraged me to draw, paint and express myself creatively from a young age. I remember she had a copy of ‘Goblin Market’ by Christina Rossetti which was illustrated with etchings by Martin Ware which I was fascinated by, it was just beautiful to me. As a child I had to spend a few extended periods in hospital and I devoured gothic horror books, in fact Frankenstein is the first book I ever bought with my own money. I read everything in that genre I could get my hands on, then in my early teens I discovered H.R Giger, Hieronymus Bosch, the covers of numerous death metal albums, and that’s pretty much where my dubious ‘style’ comes from.

BS: Do you have any advice for fellow creators?

JG: Oh man. I’ll be honest B, I’d be embarrassed to give anyone advice because I don’t see myself as an artist, not really. I’m just a dude who has a bit of a fuck-around with things when he’s sat on his arse in front of the telly at night, you know? Not like a proper artist at all. If anything, I’d say do what you enjoy because otherwise, what’s the point? I know that’s not very insightful but it’s all I got!

BS: Haha, that’s perfectly gold. Tell me a bit about the work you’re currently exhibiting.

JG: I don’t exhibit really, I’ve a couple of pieces in a small sci-fi show at the moment but it’s a very small thing. I’m not a professional, this is just something I do when I’m not at work, which is most of the time. It’s on for another week or so to promote the sci-fi con here in Scarborough where I live.

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*all images courtesy Jay Glen.

Jay’s work is part of the Sci-Fi Scarborough exhibition at Scarborough Museums Trust, on until the 17th. Take a look. Give a follow. Buy his work if you can!

The Perfection of The Imperfect Journey: PJ Patten’s Graphic Memoir Tower 25

I first learned the term wabisabi from my eldest sister, a PHD in religious studies. She had great taste in reading, so far as I was concerned when I was growing up, and I often raided her collections in my thirst for spiritual wisdom that had not necessarily been instilled in me by my folks.
But then, perhaps it *had* been there; Perhaps I always understood on some level, yet it was still nice to read things that resonated with thinking somewhat outside of what I’d already been taught.
Anyway, this isn’t about religious teaching or quite about philosophy; it’s about art.
It is about living as a human, too, in all of our own perfect imperfections. It’s about individual journeys, through all of the many trials, tribulations, and teaching moments, and it’s also about a type of grace, if you will, that keeps us ever on, picking ourselves up, dusting off, and plunging forward, however awkwardly, along the path that is ours alone.
It is also about appreciating the individual journey, empathizing, and yes, recognizing ourselves in each individual’s plight and triumph.

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the satellite died, frozen we looked up for the first time – PJ Patten

PJ Patten’s tale is a true one, beautifully rendered in his graphic memoir, Tower 25.

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The work is so strong, unique, and speaks so well for its self, and I dare say I wouldn’t likely do as lovely of a job interviewing him as Sabrina (Life Of Bria) Symington does here; please have a listen, and look at his work yourselves. It’s well worth your time and support.

PJ’s artwork is on display through April 16 at Cafe Deux Soleils on Commercial Drive in Vancouver BC Canada (details here). I urge you to see the work in person if you’re able. Support indie artists!

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Check out PJ’s website and be sure to give him a follow on FB, Twitter, and IG.

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“Jizo”, artist PJ Patten

A throwback post for #BellLetsTalk Day

Please note that although injustices and tragedies fill me with sadness and anger, the events described below happened a long time ago.  I am a loving (albeit imperfect) person seeking to find ways to make sense of this world, and embrace the best parts of it, the better parts of us humans.  It’s challenging at times, but I won’t quit – and I hope you won’t either:)

Epic Suicide Fail

I’ve had some pretty shitty things happen to me.  Sometimes I can slough it off and just be up in Trouble’s face, laughing and telling it to go fuck itself.  Other times, I suck at pretending I’m ok.

I must say that depression has gotten the better of me from time to time.  One time, in particular, it could’ve gotten ME.  As in, sayonara, goodbye, enough of this shit. Obliterate me right off the face of this shit-hole planet, I’m done.

It’s sort of a funny tale, if you choose to see it the way I do.  Hindsight, and all that.

I’m not gonna elaborate in this post about what the breaking point was.  Just that, I started to convince myself ending it was really the only sensible option.  The booze and pills made the idea go down more smoothly.

It was decided that a knife, more pills and booze, and a long cloak were required.  I was going to the duck pond, to drown myself, like Aunt Rhody‘s old grey goose.  I would take the significant amount of assorted pills with the booze en route to the pond, slip in the icy water draped in my cloak so as not to be spotted from the road, and simply, drown.  Before I drowned, in case I chickened out, I’d slash my wrists with the knife, to be sure of it all.

The water was fucking freezing.  It was still winter, but the ice was mostly gone from the pond, so I could actually get in.  I dropped my glasses in to the water, cuz what the hell would I need with them?  They were cool, vintage rhinestone-adorned, cat-eyed.  I liked them, but I didn’t require them anymore.

The knife I had brought was a dull steak knife, and no matter how I sawed at my wrists, wasn’t seeming to pierce the skin.  Also I was cutting in the ‘wrong’ direction.  I’d only seen it done in movies, and apparently should have done more research first.  I was so numb from the cold water I couldn’t even tell anymore.  I dropped the knife, deciding to concentrate on not holding my breath.

It was fucking hard!  To will the mind to stop doing what it naturally wants to do, to hold the breath, to not take in water.  Even in my fucked up state, my inherent desire for life wasn’t cooperating with The Plan.

I finally came back up for air, this time saying a last desperate prayer to the universe or whom/whatever:  If it’s not my time, then fucking DO something about it.

I woke up in the hallway of my building, collapsed in a shivering wet heap.  A neighbour heard me, got my room mate to come help him get me inside.

I climbed in the bathtub, clothes, cloak and all, and got warm.

I talked to people on the suicide hotline.  I was pissed at my room mate for calling them, but she insisted I speak with them.  I had no idea how many pills I’d taken. There was still that possibility that an overdose would do the job, although I wasn’t worried one way or the other.  I mean, I didn’t even know how the fuck I’d gotten home.  It was as if a giant hand had plucked me from the duck pond and dumped me in the hall.  Harumph.  Deal with it.

All that happened was I fucking slept better than I had in years.

And here I am.  Still angry, but alive, goddammit.  And not putting up with any more fucking bullshit.

ps. PLEASE get help if you are feeling suicidal.  Call a hotline!  Talk to someone! There is help for you out there:) And please support mental health initiatives in your community – if you’re on social media, use the “BellLetsTalk” hashtag to help raise awareness and funds today!

Tale of Tales invites you to The Endless Forest

I first fell in love with the artistic gaming environment created by Tale of Tales in their innovative horror game The Path and have since enjoyed much of their creative offerings.

Right now, they are busy crowdfunding on indiegogo to take their lovely game The Endless Forest to the next level. Please take a moment to check out their campaign* and back it if you are able! *note the campaign has ended at 86% of their flexible goal, but you can continue to donate here.

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The Thousand Mile Journey to Sunday Morning with Bruce Wilson

Back in the early 90s, I heard the name Tankhog from a former room mate, who very proudly and robustly declared he had seen the band the previous evening. The way he pronounced their name was akin to an Incredible Hulk smashraowr.

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Frontman Bruce Wilson has a lengthy history in the Vancouver underground music scene going back to The TV Repairmen and later in ’88-’94 when Tankhog was active. Tankhog never really fit in to any of the music scenes that were happening at the time; Bruce and I shared a laugh about Skinny Puppy taking them on a 3 month tour as the support act, figuring SP possibly got a kick out of pissing off the crowd with an underground Iggy-inspired glam rock band.

His new project Sunday Morning began in 2012, the result of which is a slightly strange story involving a chap who had acquired some of Bruce’s belongings from the dump (see top comment on that video link), after Bruce had necessarily parted with them before heading back to Vancouver from Massachusetts in 2010. This knowledge inspired him to write a novel (his first attempt, although he’d been writing for years); In the novel his original idea was to interpret strangers’ lives and what they’d been through, but in the process he also began to realize musically how personal the songs felt, and the musical project Sunday Morning was birthed. He’s very comfortable with this project in terms of exploring aspects of himself, as opposed to his novel’s approach (release date TBA), however the video 1986 does reference a character in the novel. For a song about failure, it has a feel-good attitude.

The video trilogy R.D. Cane has put together feels very authentic and representative of often-overlooked underground scenes which Bruce has both witnessed and been musically an active part of.

R. D. Cane will be performing along with Lisa Joyce opening for the Sunday Morning multimedia cd release Jan. 21 at The Cultch (tix at the box office); Their digital indie debut self-titled album will be available to purchase on Dec. 23, and will be available on vinyl at the Cultch show.

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Here’s further info from their press release:

Vancouver’s indie art rock band, Sunday Morning, fuses Southern musical influences with 1970’s New York and Berlin. Formed by writer/artist Bruce Wilson (vocals) and Stephen Hamm (keyboards, piano), who played together in the 90s in Vancouver’s thunderous Tankhog, Sunday Morning is a departure from their riff laden pasts. On their upcoming self-titled record, which will be released on December 16th, they enlisted the talents of bassist Coco Culbertson (Bif Naked. The Gay and The Choir Practice); drummer Justin Leigh (Pluto); guitarist Kevin Rose (Tankhog, Coal, The Wongs); cellist Finn Manniche; and vocalists Leah Commons (Bubble 11) and Carmen Bruno (Trailerhawk). Together they present a powerful and irrevocable account of all that is Sunday Morning.

Sunday Morning was recorded, mixed, and mastered over an eighteen month period with John Raham (Frayze Ford, The Be Good Tanya’s, The Belle Game) and engineer Erik Neilson at Afterlife Studio in Vancouver. Overdubs and mixing was done with Vancouver indie juggernaut Felix Fung (Spectres, Girlfriends and Boyfriends, Wishkicker) at Little Red Sounds Studio.

“Come the Rain” acts an opening soliloquy for the album. Described by Wilson as “Almost a prayer for salvation put into terms of a simple love song waltz”, he began thinking of the lyrics when he moved back to Vancouver in 2010 after ending a relationship in Western Massachusetts. He says, “It rains a lot in Vancouver and I’ve learned I can either embrace it or be miserable ten months out of the year. And miserable is a drag.”

The first single from Sunday Morning, the blistering “Sick in the City”, is about being dope sick in New York; the nihilism and isolation that heroin addiction embraces, and the self-centered narcissism and misanthropy that accompanies drug withdrawal. The desperation to just feel alive.

The album ends with “When Sunday Morning Comes”, which Wilson wrote as an antidote to the weekend noise of the hotel he lived at, when the bass bins in the club downstairs would shake the thin glass of his windows. The song features Commons’ female vocal to counter his own on the previous tracks, and represents the salvation prayed for in the opening track “Come the Rain”. “It’s the safety in waking up next to someone dear to your heart and being still beside them as they sleep. Feeling them breathe against you in that moment. Past pain and trauma dissolves and the future is irrelevant in that moment of peace,” says Wilson.

Drawing upon from both his own experiences and his fictional ones growing up in Florida and living in New York, Wilson began writing the lyrics for Sunday Morning when he started writing his novel while living in a tiny hotel room in Vancouver. He asked Hamm if he wanted to collaborate on a couple songs and that mushroomed into several songs they were doing rough demos of in his little studio. Wilson says, “We wanted to do the antithesis of Tankhog and write simple poignant songs. We listened to a lot of Roxy Music (Avalon was on repeat), Drive By Truckers, 70’s Iggy and Bowie (particularly Kill City), and Nick Cave during the writing process.”

Hamm suggested we put together a band to play the songs we’d written. Says Wilson, “We basically went after our dream band of Vancouver musicians and got exactly that. We’d played with Kevin Rose previously in Tankhog. Hamm played with Justin in the Evaporators with Nardwuar. Coco we knew from Bif Naked and The Gay. Interestingly the core band were all alumni of Mint Records at some point. We brought in other key musicians and vocalists as we needed them. Leah Commons is a childhood friend who wanted to be involved in some capacity so I gave her the lyrics to “When Sunday Morning Comes”. She came back the next day with a rough sketch of the music and vocal line and it fit beautifully into the other material both musically and tonally.”

To compliment the release of Sunday Morning, he worked with acclaimed Vancouver photographer and filmmaker R.d Cane to create videos for “Come The Rain”, “1986” and “Sick In The City”. Cane, who started in the film industry in 1974 and has shot thousands of movies, commercials, and music videos in North America and Japan, was Wilson’s obvious choice for photographs and videos. “The emotional content of all these pieces was drawn from personal trauma so I needed to work with someone I felt completely comfortable with. His direction was unobtrusive and he captured the raw essence of the content”, he says.

Sunday Morning can be a time of quiet streets and peaceful reflection, or coming to in a stranger’s bed trying piece together fragmented images from the night before. Feeling the weight of living in reflection on events impossible to change or recreate. It is a journey that travels thousands of miles, and starts here. On Sunday Morning.

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For additional information on Sunday Morning and their self-titled record, please contact Jocelynn Loebl at Howlin’ Wuelf Media at Jocylibs@yahoo.com or at 917-523-8881.

Libraries Are Totally Punk Rock

Sexy Libraries In Your Area Want You To Visit Them!

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LIBRARIES RULE! In this conversation with an actual librarian, who isn’t nearly as satanic as his twitter name implies, we explore the reasons why libraries are fucking awesome.

BS: Libraries have changed since I was a kid, visiting them “on the reg”, as the kids now say…libraries used to be almost an extension of healthcare, education, the church…do you feel like that’s still happening, or maybe not in ways you’d like?
Dude, do you even like your job, is another question…

SL: Yes it’s still happening. I spend most of my day helping people with services, navigating the world, etc…

I do. I love my job 🙂 usually….

BS: I’m triumphantly happy that you love it.
You’re helping people find and put the puzzle pieces together; it’s glorious alchemy for the soul. Or maybe I’m being dramatic.

SL: No thats a beautiful way to put it and makes me feel special.

BS: The internet, and more specifically google and wikipedia, have added to the perceived notion that libraries are becoming irrelevant.
As a librarian, you clearly disagree with the notion of becoming obsolete, and I’d like you to tell me your personal reasons:
Why are librarians and in fact the physical spaces of libraries important?

SL: The idea that the internet is accessible to everyone, either physically or in a sense of a skillset to use it, is false and often privileged.
Many people still don’t have personal computers or are not from a generation or have the time/means to be “internet savvy”.
Meanwhile, you basically have to apply for any job online now, or have to have an email address to get public services etc.
Also, libraries are some of the last public spaces that exist.
We are safe zones for after school, for immigrants, homeless, job seekers.
We are often the first place people go.
Also, our usage increased during the recession while funding went down.
Philosophically, we exist for hard times as safe spaces, springboards, free education, free entertainment, knowledge spaces, employment help.

I have had many people specifically come in to tell me I was instrumental in helping them get a job they needed.

BS: At least in Canada, under our last ‘leadershit’ (so many examples, just google ‘Stephen Harper libraries’; but here’s one), libraries came under an almost hostile state of being obliterated. What function do you feel libraries will continue to serve in the future, against totalitarian-style governments imposing their belief systems that books equal knowledge and knowledge equals power and power means they won’t get voted for again…

SL: Well we have been some of the only institutions to protect personal privacy. For profit phone companies certainly did not.

BS: Oh that’s a great point. OK so regarding this protection of personal privacy, can you discuss what you mean by this, and what steps libraries take in this regard?

SL: We dont save patron borrowing history. It’s nobody’s business but their own.

BS: That is totally punk rock! Tell me other ways libraries fucking rule in your opinion.

SL: Free access to free information.
We don’t do anything we do for profit, so incorruptible.
We celebrate knowledge and learning.

BS: As a librarian, what do you find to be the hugest challenge with respects to dealing with the general public?

SL: Deciphering what the information need really is,
and finding ways to remain current with modern needs despite diminishing budgets.

BS: Why are budgets diminishing?

SL: People think libraries are obsolete;
Libraries are easy to cut.
Cowardice.
Libraries are sexy.

BS: You help people find knowledge! That shit is like superhero sexy. Thank you for helping save our minds by preserving knowledge and freedom:)