Eye-popping news

I received news yesterday that one of my illustrations was chosen for American Illustration’s web gallery, Tribute. The piece in question is from my “Toronto the Good: Urban Narratives” series, which will be on display at OCAD’s 94th Annual Graduate Exhibition, May 7-10. This was the second piece I completed in the series and I thought I’d share some of the process work behind it. Click below to read more.

The story: One Spadina Crescent is home to the University of Toronto’s newspaper as well as the Toronto Eye Bank. One day a man with a big metal lunch box approached a student from the newspaper and asked if he could store his container in their refrigerator. His request was granted. Later on another student went for a drink and their curiosity was struck by the big lunchbox. Upon opening it, they were horrified to find that it was full of eyeballs.

one spadina crescent
This is a photo I took of the building a few years ago. It was built in 1875 originally to house Knox College. As you can imagine, the old Gothic structure has a rich history behind it. Amelia Earhart worked as a nursing assistant during the First World War when the building was being used as a hospital. There’s also an OCAD link to it: in 2001 a University of Toronto fine arts professor, and OCAD graduate, was murdered in his office and the case sadly remains unsolved.

I went and did a series of sketches of the building, focusing primarily on the spire. As you might notice, I have a thing for drawing naive sketches of complicated architecture with little intention to make things accurate.

I had this dumb idea of inventing a story about a blind man who eats eyeballs for lunch in the hopes of attaining sight. I also often get sidetracked while trying conceptualize.

Still bent on incorporating the spire, I made the iconic structure into a refrigerator. In the end, the imagery was a bit confusing as it might look like a toy castle or miniature.

Sometimes, as a last resort, I simply personify key elements in a story to tell the story. I often critique my own sketches right afterward as you can see. In the end, I settled on the centre image with the figure since the story is not anchored on the location of the event, but the event itself.


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