Saturday, July 1, 2017


I love writing and I love writing about art even more. Writing takes time though and being a "Dadda" to a curious 2 year old it's not often that I'm afforded that opportunity... I always knew that I wanted to make my way back to this Blog one day... I think I just needed a reason to do it. That reason was delivered to my INBOX:

From: Jenna P <>
Sent: June 30, 2017 10:02 AM
Subject: Reaching out about 

Hi - my name is Jenna, and I work at Artsy. While researching Mr. Brainwash, I found your page:

I am reaching out to certain website and blog owners that publish content in line with our mission to make all the world’s art accessible to anyone. We hope to continue promoting arts education and accessibility with your help.

Our Mr. Brainwash page provides visitors with Mr. Brainwash's bio, over 260 of his works, exclusive articles, and up-to-date Mr. Brainwash exhibition listings. The page also includes related artists and categories, allowing viewers to discover art beyond our Mr. Brainwash page. We would love to be included as an additional resource for your visitors via a link on your page.

If you are able to add a link to our Mr. Brainwash page, please let me know, and thanks in advance for your consideration.


"Art has no walls. Anybody can be an artist."
-Mr. Brainwash

ARTSY is an incredible resource. As an artist and as an art collector I've depended on their database many, many times to be inspired and keep informed. I am honoured to have been contacted by them and am thrilled to permanently have them linked through my Blog. It's a dream come true. Thank you Artsy. Each and every day you get closer and closer to achieving you mission. Congratulations!

Artsy features the world’s leading galleries, museum collections, foundations, artist estates, art fairs, and benefit auctions, all in one place. Our growing database of 500,000 images of art, architecture, and design by 50,000 artists spans historical, modern, and contemporary works, and includes the largest online database of contemporary art. Artsy is used by art lovers, museum-goers, patrons, collectors, students, and educators to discover, learn about, and collect art.

Artsy’s mission is to make all the world’s art accessible to anyone with an Internet connection.
We are a resource for art collecting and education.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

"Catching Tags"

You can ask my Wife. I'm obsessed with Street Art. I love it all. Graffiti. Tags. Wheatpastes. Urban Knitting. It's all beautiful to me. Yes. I even love Mr. Brainwash. He's funny. I initially started working with spraypaint and stencils because of my love of Banksy and Shepard Fairey. I've always found beauty in "tags" and have many many books and movies on them and their vast origins.

When I was cleaning out my garage studio I came across some black stencils that I had painted for my initial RAINBOW SERIES. I really thought that these stark black images lent themselves perfectly to the beautification of "tags". I've always wanted to "tag" something other then my own personal belongings. One can only "tag" ones own sketchbooks or binders so many times before it becomes contrived. I wanted to do something real. Something big.

What if I could tag the Brooklyn Bridge? What if I could do a bunch of epic roller pieces on the top of a monolith Factory? How would James Dean look in his prime catching a dart amongst the colourful graffiti of downtown LA? What if a Deer wandered out of the brush and into the alleys of the West Coast? What would that look like? I wanted to capture these fun and impossible moments. Now, with my stencils from the past, I was free to do just that.

I decided early on that I wanted these pieces to stand apart from their initial Rainbow Series Companion. I wanted to use my old imagery and push its boundaries to create something entirely new. My Rainbow Series pieces have three main components: 1. They are centred around a single stark black stencilled image. 2. A bright colourful Rainbow element is used to break up the black spraypaint and tell a story. 3. Metallic elements are used to give the piece perspective and visually engage with the viewer on a purely aesthetic level. People like shiny things. Looking at the individual pieces all of the elements are there. They've just been pushed in order to tell a story.

I'm really pleased with how the pieces turned out. I love how they fit comfortably into my Rainbow Series but how they also blow it up. They've pushed the boundaries of what started out as a very simple concept. I love where these pieces went and am ecstatic to see where they can go. It was fun to "tag" my own work. I thought about creating my own "tags" but I really wanted them to appear authentic and legitimate. So I went with classic "tags". These "tags" are linked to a very specific time, place and style. I really wanted that to show through in the work.

This works will initially be available exclusively through MINBID events.

James Dean (Rainbow Series "Catching Tags") 2013
Spraypaint, stencil, foil, ink, neon ink 
(fluoresces under black light)
AVAILABLE at MIN BID VIP on Friday December 20, 2013
Silent / Live Art Auction 8-11PM at Morris Loft
Minimum Bid: $50

In this piece I focused on "tags" from the West Coast. Predominantly Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Factory (Rainbow Series "Catching Tags") 2013
Spraypaint, stencil, foil, ink, metallic ink
AVAILABLE at MIN BID VIP on Friday December 20, 2013
Silent / Live Art Auction 8-11PM at Morris Loft
Minimum Bid: $50

In this piece I focused on giant "roller tags". I've always been fascinated by artists who risk life and limb to "get up". Makes sense though as these hard to reach spots in undesirable locations are most likely to grab the most attention and "stay up".

Deer (Rainbow Series "Catching Tags") 2013
Spraypaint, stencil, foil, ink, neon ink 
(fluoresces under black light)
AVAILABLE at MINBID 4 on Saturday December 14, 2013
Silent / Live Art Auction 8-11PM at Pixel Blue College
Minimum Bid: $50

In this piece I focused on the juxtaposition of man vs. nature and what would happen if the two were to merge. I really used the "tags" and graffiti to create the deers environment. I love how the deer appears to be stepping over and bashing through the urban jungle and very literally shaking it off with his massive antlers. There are a lot of nods here to those whose work is directly inspired by the natural environment.

Brooklyn Bridge (Rainbow Series "Catching Tags") 2013
Spraypaint, stencil, foil, ink, metallic ink, correction fluid
AVAILABLE at MINBID 4 on Saturday December 14, 2013
Silent / Live Art Auction 8-11PM at Pixel Blue College
Minimum Bid: $50

In this piece I focused on telling the story of New York graffiti. I attempted to use the bridge as a literal retelling of the artists and styles that have come and gone throughout the great cities sordid affair with the much frowned upon art form. This was also my first  attempt to use correction fluid in a fine art environment. It won't be my last.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


I'll never stop drawing. You'll see me doodling away and find my colourful characters decorating concert and event posters and the poles and boards littered all over our city. I've always been enamoured with my drawing style. I love that I draw like I'm 7. That will never change. I loved creating all of those characters that adorned all of the cards and magnets and prints and stickers that I'd sell. Well, I've been carrying some of that stuff around with me for years now and with my decision to focus on creating affordable original pieces of art I thought it would be neat to give a bunch of my art away. I will be doing this exclusively through twitter. So, if you want to get in on the action your best bet is to follow me at @MinusIndustries.

There will be two ways to get something;

[1] Shoot me an email with the subject line "I WANT ART!" Be sure to include your name and mailing address and I'll send you one of my homemade magnets inside one of my cards. The card will be blank so now you'll have a decision to make, you can either keep 'em or gift 'em. It's up to you! 

[2] I'll be dropping a bunch of magnets and tiny original stencilled works of art around the city! I'll be tweeting the times and places once this starts. Let the fun begin!

Looking Ahead...

It's funny how looking ahead usually involves taking a step back. I've immersed myself in my art for so long that it is only now that I am starting to figure out where I want to be. I love working with spray paint and stencils. I find the medium so unforgiving, tedious, surprising and rewarding. There is no other way I would rather express myself. So, I'm going to focus on that. Spray painting and stencilling original works of art. I'm excited to start editioning my work and make it more affordable. I truly believe that art should be accessible to all. I have some new imagery that I'm going to start developing and am very excited to start creating and compiling a new arsenal of stencils. I like this blog but I find it hard to commit to sitting down and doing it. I'd much rather be creating art. So, I'm going to keep this blog as an archive and will post from time to time but the best place to keep up to date on what I'm up to is twitter. I'll continue to try and post as regularly as I can. So, if you're not following me already you can find me over here! That's where I'll be...

2013 Tour of Alberta

It seems fitting that this was the inaugural year for the Tour of Alberta because it was a first for me in a lot of ways too. This was an opportunity that I just couldn't refuse. Although I had never done anything like this before I was intrigued by the challenge. The organizers approached me with the idea of creating and selling my art in a festival setting. Even though I was unsure of the idea I still committed right away. Seeing as I only had a month to prepare there wasn't any time to go through my usual phase of doubting and second guessing myself. I had to get to work right away. I knew that I wanted all of the imagery to cater to the event. I began with brainstorming ideas and bike related imagery. I started sourcing different materials and began creating stencils. In a very short period of time I created and cut an arsenal of biking related stencils. The main stencil is a pack of riders really pushing hard towards the finish line. I also did some complementary stencils of bicycle gears, bike tire treads and wheel spokes. To tie the overall image together I also used a few text based stencils. I cut out a stencil mapping the tour across the province and through another stencil I told a "story" of a bike race using a glossary of common cycling terms such as pace line, attack and leadout. With the permission of the organizers I was able to make a stencil of the event logo thus making my art pieces official commemoratives of the event. I did all of the painting live over two days at Churchill Square. It was a little bit tricky trying to navigate through the heat and wind but having a tent definitely helped. I built the pieces up using different layers and colours of paint. I worked very fast and spontaneously to give my work the flow and excitement and explosive feeling of the actual race. Doing piece after piece really helped. It was easy to follow through on different ideas that would spring up during the creative process and let them build off of one another. I'm really happy with how the pieces turned out and enjoyed being immersed into the excitement of Edmonton's cycling community. I would definitely do something like this again. It's not easy to set up to spray paint live in an overcrowded festival environment but at the end of the day the paintings really speak for themselves. I think I ended up doing 10-15 pieces over the 8 or so hours spread across the two days. Some of my favourites are below... It was hard to capture pictures of all of them as people were buying them left and right. These were the six that I was able to get photos of. As you can see, while the concept and execution may be the same, no two pieces look alike. One of my favourite parts of using spray paint and stencils is even within a series like this one no two pieces ever look alike. In all the pieces I really tried to push the perspective of the lead racer and show the excitement and movement of him pushing away from the pack.

[1] I really like the colours on this one. I love how the rainbow gradient of the spokes really draws you into the central image. I also love that bright warm blast of yellow behind the red gear, the two elements together really frame the outline of the lead rider.

[2] This is my favourite. I built up the image by layering different tire treads on top of each other. I love how the rest of the riders get lost in this piece and the focus lies on the race leader. I love the vibrant colour and constant juxtaposition of this painting. It actually feels like it's moving, like it's happening right now.

[3] For this piece I used a more pastel colour palette. I love how white space and what's not painted play a pivotal role in this painting. I love the focus on the "story".

[4] There is something about this painting... I'm always going back to it. I love the richness of all of the colours and the build up of the cyclists. This one looks really clean and gives the viewer an opportunity to appreciate the over spray of the paint.

[5] This was the only piece where I focused on one tone and really tried to build up the image out of like and complimentary colours.

[6] I like how the riders seem to be bursting out of the background on this one. It almost looks like they're coming from behind the canvas and are just about to ride through the painting at any given moment.


Snapshots is another series that I did specifically for Make It! I pride myself on selling my original art for a very fair and reasonable price point. I want my work to be accessible to all. So, with that in mind, I made these intimate one colour stencil pieces for the art collector with a smaller budget in mind. These pieces are "Snapshots" or smaller portions of my larger stencilled works. They are a one colour black stencil sprayed on top of a light weight metallic textured paper.

Snapshots [4" x 6"]  Group Shot

Snapshots [5" x 7"] Group Shot

Snapshots [4" x 6"] Detailed Shot From Left to Right
Help!-A Hard Day's Night-Let It Be-David Bowie
Johnny Cash-Houses of the Holy-Sticky Fingers-Who's Next

Snapshots [5" x 7"] Detailed Shot From Left to Right
A Hard Day's Night-Houses of the Holy-Sticky Fingers-RUSH
David Bowie-Kurt Cobain-Jimi Hendrix-Elvis Presley

Snapshots [4" x 6"] Detailed Shot From Left to Right
Snapshots [5" x 7"] Detailed Shot From Left to Right
Tree-The Velvet Underground-Nevermind-Casette
Brad Pitt-Welcome to the Monkey House-James Dean-Tree


I was inspired to start painting on records early last winter. I had the Make It! show coming up and I really wanted to do something special for it, plus thanks to my Rainbow Series I've been using halved album sleeves as canvas's so I had a ton of records literally just laying around. I thought that it would be cool to paint some of my Rainbow Series music based imagery onto these old unwanted reclaimed records. NO! I don't know if they still play! Quite asking me that! *Smile*. All of the records were painted using just one stencil amongst a variety of spray painting and freehanded techniques. These art works are very fluid and gestural. They can be broken down into three distinct series. Albums: Classic Album Covers, People: Famous Musicians and Silver: The images are rendered completely in metallic silver spray paint.

Albums: 1. The Beatles A Hard Day's Night 2. David Bowie Aladdin Sane 3. David Bowie Aladdin Sane 4. Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon 5. Led Zeppelin Houses of the Holy 6. Nirvana Nevermind 7. RUSH 8. The Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers 9. The Velvet Underground 10. Madonna True Blue 11. The Dandy Warhols Welcome to the Monkey House 12. The Who Who's Next

People: 1. Johnny Cash 2. Kurt Cobain 3. Jimi Hendrix 4. David Bowie

Silver: 1. Elvis Presley 2. Led Zeppelin Houses of the Holy 3. The Beatles Let It Be 4. Nirvana Nevermind

Make It! 2012

I had a blast doing the Holiday version of Make It! in 2012. It was easily the biggest show to date that I've taken on. Months of planning and a staggering amount of new pieces were undertaken and created. Here are a few images of our set up. It's easily our most professional and concise one to date. I made the MINUS INDUSTRIES sign entirely by hand. It seemed fitting to have a giant stencil represent this body of work. Make It! went really well for us. It was great to get out of the studio (read; my garage) and show and sell my work. With that said, participating in Make It! is a ton of work! That is part of the reason why I won't be participating this year. I've kind of taken a step back and am deciding where I want to be in terms of my art and imagery. I'm looking forward to putting together a new body of work comprised entirely of found materials, stencils and spray paint. You'll see me at both Make It! and Royal Bison somewhere down the road... I PROMISE!


This painting marks the second commission that I've done for Dave, both gifts for his wife Melanie. Dave & Melanie are another lovely couple that I've had the pleasure of working with. To date, this is one of the most difficult projects that I've ever attempted. It wouldn't have been possible without everything I learned from painting Don & Paul in a previous commission. Thankfully I was able to complete these two works back to back. They served as a great learning experience and a good jumping off point for one another.

[1] Using stencils, I've laid out my basic blocks of colour. You can see that I've done a little freehanded spray painting (spray painting done without the use of a stencil) to fill in texture and capture definition.

[2] Here I've added my first layer of detail. You can see the definition start to form in the dogs and the grass.

[3] Now I've added the second layer of detail.

[4] Here is the painting with the third layer of detail.

[5] Once I've painted all of the stencils I take a look at the painting and compare it to the original phoptograph. What stands out to me is how vibrant the painting is. It needs to be more subdued. The dogs need to be better blended into the grass and the painting needs to be less static. After all, the original photograph is an action shot of two rambunctious dogs playing. I wanted the painting to capture the emotion and action and movement of that photograph.

[6] In this image you can see that I've started to blend the dogs into their environment. I did this by layering layers upon layers of spray paint through painting freehanded and by re-layering and repainting certain parts of the stencils that I previously sprayed in images 1-4.

[7] [8] In this side by side comparison you can see the final version of the painting next to the original photograph. I'm ecstatic with how everything turned out. These were by far some of the most intricate and time consuming stencils that I've ever cut. I love how photo realistic I was able to get the painting.

Why listen to what I thought about the piece when you can hear it right from Melanie?! Here's the little note she sent after receiving the piece from her husband Dave as a surprise Christmas gift. She had no idea! He even concocted a story for when he picked up the piece at my studio while she waited in the car!

Hi Lon!
I just wanted to thank you so much for the beautiful painting of my lovely, rotten, baby dogs :) I couldn't stop crying Christmas morning. It is absolutely perfect! I took the original picture and you captured the moment (and movement) beautifully. Their eyes are even just as crazy in the painting as they are in real life! The stick game is their favourite game to this day. I couldn't be happier :) I can't believe that you and David managed to top last year's gift...and my dogs are close to the only things that could do it. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Don & Paul

Don & Paul are a very nice couple that I met a few years ago after I had donated a custom spray paint stencil piece to a local silent auction. Basically, I described how I would take their favourite memory [aka photograph] and turn it into an original work of art on canvas. Although they didn't really understand what all that entailed, they liked the idea of owning an original piece of art based on their own memories and experiences. I mean really, who wouldn't want that?! So, they bid and they bid and they bid again until the auction was over and they had won. They were so happy with the final result that they commissioned me to do another one. At first I was really excited and then I remembered that they both sport designer glasses and stylish facial hair... Two things that are very difficult to depict with stencils. The only thing more difficult then rendering glasses or facial hair with cardboard, a knife and spray paint is painting a realistic background based on a landmark. You see, what is cool about Don & Paul is that they love the arts and they love to travel. They truly want to see and experience the whole world. They take great time and pride in choosing the perfect photograph that truly captures them and a very specific moment in time. So, they choose a picture of them in front of the Great Wall of China [GWOC]. When they first brought the project to me they kind of mentioned that would most likely be the picture they would choose. So even before seeing the photo I was scared. Once they emailed the actual photo to me I was really really really scared. I knew that I had to keep the piece as photo realistic as possible. This was a challenge that I'd never faced on this scale before. The scope of the project was so big that I knew that I couldn't take it on all at once. I'd have to split it up. Thanks to Don & Paul, this is why the way that I paint would forever change. They weren't in a rush for the piece - thank goodness - so I literally had months to get it done and so I really took advantage of that time. The overall breadth and scope and detail of the image made me really plan out my approach. I took about a month of studying the image and writing notes and brainstorming techniques before I committed to a Plan of Attack [POA]. I decided that I would divide the image into two parts: Don & Paul and the GWOC. This image really lent itself to that approach as Don & Paul were in the foreground while the GWOC was in the background. I knew that this method of separating the image would lend itself to the most accurate and detailed stencils possible as I could focus on one particular portion of the image rather than the overall image. I like my spray paint and stencil work to be as genuine, pure and authentic as possible. I don't want to have to add hand painted details and fill in lines to complete the piece, I want the viewer to know that they're looking at a work that was done with stencils and spray paint, but at the same time I want the image to be photo realistic. Don & Paul were always curious about my process so I wanted to break it down for them. In fact, I'd always wanted to write a detailed account of my process and now I have the perfect excuse to do so. It's hard to understand what cutting a stencil entails until you've done it yourself or seen someone else do it. I've numbered the steps to correspond with an image. Although the image and subject matter for each project is different my process remains relatively the same with each piece. Obviously, as with anything, the more that you do it the more your process evolves and the better that you get at it. You find better solutions and easier ways to solve problems. You're constantly adapting. However, the basic skills and actions remain in place. They just become refined.

[1] First I decide how many layers I want to do - generally sticking between 4-6 layers. I start by scanning the photo and trying to pull out all of the individual details. I also do lots of hand drawing to turn the image into a stencil. I like my stencils to be as organic and soft as possible and this is difficult when you consider the limitations. I'm literally "drawing" on a piece of heavy weight paper with a knife. I've tried plastic but I find paper more forgiving and more organic and more affordable. For me, it seems more practical. So this image shows me cutting out the stencil of the final detail layer for the background.

[2] This photo shows more of the image being cut away. If you compare the far right side of image 1 with image 2 you can see that I've started to draw into the image to make the stencil. This adds both detail and character to the image while preventing it from falling through.

[3] This is the completed final detail stencil. The white is the cardboard with the black being the area that is cut out. Eventually the cut out area will be meticulously filled in with different layers and colours and shades of spray paint.

[4] This image shows the original photograph. I've blown it up to the size of the canvas (16" x 20"). Here, I am looking at the picture in terms of basic shapes and colours. I'm blocking out the colour for all of the layers to come, basically turning the picture into a puzzle. I cut the image into pieces to make very simple stencils that I'll be able to fill in with colour. If you look closely you can see the image divided into separate pieces that include Don & Paul, the GWOC, the mountains and the sky.

[5] Now I've started to paint the canvas. I've FrogTapped the edges of the canvas. FrogTape gives a nice clean seal and comes off quite easily, like nothing else that I've found on the market thus far. Using spray glue, I've lightly tacked the pieces onto the canvas. A light coating of spray glue keeps the stencil in place without leaving a gluey sticky mess behind. Here, I've started to fill in the mountains whilst being mindful to lay down the paint in a very layered and textural manner. I want the painting to reflect the reality of the image as closely as possible.

[6] Continuing to lay down the blocks of colour one by one by one...

[7] All the initial colour has been applied to the canvas. You can see that even though these are just flat layers of colour, they are anything but... I've paid close attention to details to ensure that these areas of colour are bold and vibrant and account for texture and shade and shadow.

[8] The first layer of detail for the background has been painted. It is very light and just adds a very basic tone and definition to build the image off of.

[9] The second layer of detail for the background has been painted. It is much darker then the first. You can see everything start to come together. In this layer, perspective and detail start to become quite evident.

[10] I've positioned the final background layer on to the canvas and am ready to spray the final layer. Direct contact, correct registration (so all of the layers line up properly) and a light layer of spray glue are all very important when this - and any stencil for that matter - is about to be painted onto any material. In this case, it happens to be a canvas.

[11] Here's the background with the first layer painted.

[12] I've blocked out the silhouette of Don & Paul so that I can do some shading and blending of the entire background.

[13] I've started adding some shading to the background.

[14] This is the finished background. You can see that the foreground is completely blank. If you look around the silhouette, up to the sky and to the bushes and hills to the right, you can see evidence of the shading and blending that I did with spray paint.

[15] With the background now completed, I'm free to move on to Don & Paul. The act of physically separating the painting into two parts will really make Don & Paul stand out and really jump into the foreground. The first layer is just basic colour. I've started off with something really warm so that once I start layering the cooler colours on top of it this bottom layer will really shine through the other layers and warm up the entire piece.

[16] This is the first layer of detail. In this image you can actually see the stencil used. Here, basic shapes and light and dark areas start to form.

[17] Now that the second layer of detail has been added the image really starts to come together.

[18] The final stencil has been added. At this point the piece is basically done.

[19] [20] Here is a side by side comparison of the finished painting and the original photograph. You can really see how all of the different layers come into play to create the painting. I really like how I was able to capture the tone, lighting and perspective of the original photo in my painting.