Tag Archives: art

Lady Heart’s Portfolio: Coney Island Colour

6 Jun

I recently spent a few days in NYC and while there I went to Coney Island.  I was so charmed by the old fashioned rides, games and amusements which must be completely unchanged since the 50s or 60s at least.  The colours, the food, the old fashioned aesthetic, it was beautiful.  I thought I had read somewhere that Disney has, or intends to buy Coney Island and Disnify it, which, if true would be a national, nay, international tragedy that must be prevented! Check out my photos, they show an amusement park that that has more charm, more authenticity and more artistic value than any Disneyland could ever have.

This is the sign they have at all of the park entrances

The fishing game. I used to have a miniature magnetized version of this.

The decorative top of an old fashioned merry go round

A picture of the giant Ferris wheel, dubbed “Wonder Wheel”

The “Wonder Wheel” and the corner of the sign that runs the top perimeter of the bumper car arena.

I took a number of pictures of the bumper car sign. I am very drawn to colour and I just loved this sign.

The corner of the little snack shop, which had delicious churros and popcorn, among other treats.

The candy apples from the above pictured snack shop. To me they were works of art, like plastic sculptures.

They had classic carnival games, like this one, where you shoot the water pistol at the clown’s mouth to pop the balloon above it. The clown heads were great, their pastel colours dreamily faded by the summer sun. This game was packed with players. At all of the games I watched, the person shooting at clown number 14 won.

It’s almost perverted when you think about it. Or is that just me? Scratch that last thought

These were some of the prizes you could win at the clown game, but everyone I saw who won picked the stupid smurf dolls or the other recognizable commercial characters. I was like “Nooo! You stupid, get the pink dolphin or one of the miscellaneous googly-eyed puffs above it.”

See, now isn’t that preferable?

After seeing these prizes the smurfs were dead to me.

They also had a few of those “strong arm” game machines that test one’s strength. This one was my favorite; it had some stupid frothing meat-head guy (not pictured) flanked by two girls, this blond one being my favorite.

I love her ecstatic expression and wild, tacky make-up. I also love that her pose makes it appear that she has plunged her hand inside her head. I wondered what they were made of. A composite material, I guess.

This was the girl on the other side of meat-head guy on the game. Good, but not as great as the blond because her expression is so mild.

This is the display of another strength testing game where the player squeezes together the horns of a bull head that protrudes below this scale. The hand moves up the categories written on the fan to give the player their rating.

The pink front of a pinball game

An old horse ride of the type you used to see outside grocery stores. I love its expression and ergonomic posture.

There was a second clown game, further into the park, but strangely it was empty where the other one was full. These clowns where much more garish.

This was the giant eye of a cyclops monster head that loomed large at the entrance to a spooky house type ride. The eye looked back and fourth ceaselessly, a red light flashing from within through a broken spot in the centre. I was charmed by the decay of the rides and displays, it made things seem sort of sinister, but also earnest and authentic, and I was glad they hadn’t tried to make everything perfect.

This was from a souvenir stand where you could have your picture taken and have it printed on a button, key-chain, mirror, or these colourful felt posters that had cheesy backgrounds. I had a pink sparkly plastic key-chain made with my photo on one side and this image in the back, accompanied by the words “You and I forever”, but what I really wanted was to buy some of the sample souvenir photos he had, which were so great.

I loved this girl’s photo. She posed with much more flair than I achieved. Your choice of background was either this wicker chair, or an airbrushed scene of a rainbow and waterfall, which I chose.

This girl was also looking good in the wicker chair. I thought she was really cute and I liked that it said “Girl’s just gotta have fun” at the bottom

This girl is pictured in front of the same background as I was, which was charming in it’s crudeness.

This couple’s poster was my favorite. See how years of being exposed to the sun has made their faces look extra colourful and almost iridescent? I should have asked, no, begged him to sell it to me. Just one of the many regrets I have to live with in my life.

My most favorite part of the visit though, was this automaton fortune teller. “What does Grandma say?” It invites you to find out. When you put in a quarter she sort of rocks back and fourth a little bit, and her hand sweeps across the table, over her tarot cards.

This thing must be very old. The detailing is amazing, her hoop earrings, the diamante pin the wears in the centre of her collar, and her wrinkled, weathered face. I was really magical and wonderful.

Look at her jewelry and old fashioned blouse. It was a little hard to get good pictures because it was under a partition that was lit, so there were many reflections on the glass.

This booth was actually right next to that “Zoltan” or whatever-his-face-is, the genie fortune teller booth seen in the movie “Big” with Tom Hanks.  When I saw that this awesome grandma one was right next to it (and was probably even there first) I couldn’t believe that the movie used that stupid Zeutroy or Zantam guy instead of Grandma!  This thing is way more mystical and magical that the stupid genie, and don’t you think that the female, especially the older female mystic seems way more powerful than some guy in a stupid feathered hat?  Look at the pictures of her hands, and you’ll see the mystery and magic that’s there.

Her delicate, wrinkled hands move across the cards…

And the best part was her eyes, which were both broken and rolling back into her head.  It was very spooky and unnerving, like she was haunted.  It was really strange and powerful to look at her and watch her move, it was like seeing a ghost, or a dead person come to life.

Her smile and crazy eyes…she has seen a lot inside that booth. There’s a wavelength of energy you can tune into at this booth, I’m serious. Not very many people seemed interested in her. I was able to stay and photograph and put coins in for a long time.

I hope you have enjoyed these photos of Coney Island, dear reader, I was a magical place, really magical, more so than anything Disney could ever create.  Go to Coney Island and see what Grandma has to say…


Thrift Store Finds: Give-a-Show

1 May

When shopping at my favorite junk store I came across this great Kenner “Give-a-Show” Star Wars projector toy.  It’s a small flimsy projector that comes with slide strips that you manually feed through it to create a movie like experience.  A few of the slides have small captions at the top or bottom, but the bulk of the ‘show’ must be filled in with either imagination, or memories of having seen the film,  the latter seeming like an unlikely senario for the age group reprisented on the box:

How old are these kids, like four?

There are 16 slide strips, and though they are numbered the fact that so many of them are just illustrations of ships shooting at other ships with “Pu! Pu!” type sound effects written on them makes recreating the plot of the film with these a task only suited to a hard core Star Wars fan, not a toddler.

I noticed a few other blogs posting about this item, but none thought to properly highlight how hilariously awesome the slides are.  The bold colours and simple graphic illustrations are wonderful to begin with, but as I mentioned above they are also punctuated with unusual sound effects, like “Ktang!”, “Sfoom!”, “Ftik!”, and “Wok!”.  On closer inspection of the other bloggers’ sets, I realized that some of my slides have been printed irregularly, creating extra colourful scenes that are really quite striking.

And so, as the box suggests, I will now “Give-a-show” to you, dear reader, and hopefully this post will be something you “Give-a-Shit” about.

These first slides are the misprinted ones, which are my favorites out of the bunch.  I love the unintended pink and purple result:

"You are my prisoner Princess Leia!"

"Artoo! Where are you going?"

"Into the trench!"

It’s quite a show eh?  The slides are perhaps better viewed this way, as they lose their saturation when projected with the cheap toy projector.  These misprinted slides would make awesome t-shits and other pirated merchandise don’t you think?  But again, please refrain from stealing my idea to make counterfeit goods and sell them.

Here are some of the best of the properly printed slides:

"I cant shake them!"

"On to Alderaan!"

"The fighters...trouble!"

"Where's Alderaan?"

"Get that Capsule!"

"Use the force Luke!"

These are just a few of my favorites, as there are 112 slides in the set there are too many to show them all.

Did any of you have a Give-a-Show toy as a child, and if so, did you ever Give-a-show with it?  I think these types of toys are kind of cool in theory but they taint the child’s imagination and confine their play to things they have seen on the TV or in the movie, kind of like when you read the book after you’ve already seen Girl, Interrupted and you can’t get Angelina Jolie’s vacuous face and whole “I have my children’s shoe sizes written in Swahili tattooed onto my shoulder blade” persona out of your head.  Thoughts?

Star Wars Give-a-Show found at Odds and Ends, 703 Queen St. W., Toronto

Street Art:More Newspaper Box Fun

27 Apr

Newspaper boxes seem to be a favorite spot for public art (see my last Street Art post “Street Art: Monster Box”).  Many boxes have simple (and sometimes poorly done) tags and printed stickers on them, but the newspaper reading public are often treated to awesome colourful,  handmade stickers with imaginative lettering.  Recently I spotted a really cool sticker on a NOW magazine  box ( a local weekly alternative paper) which I was so compelled to share with you that, finding myself without my camera, I unscrewed the bolts holding the plastic sheet that the sticker was affixed to and took it with me.  Though it’s probably bad art karma to take public art and hoard it for oneself, I will bravely accept the consequences so that we may all bask in the glory of this sticker:

The sticker was on the plastic sheet that displays a paper against the box window, which I was able to remove with my trusty 6-in-1 folding plier tool, something every self respecting artist and DIY-er should never be without.

Isn’t it great?  I am a sucker for bold colours.  At first I thought it said ‘ruler’ but know I’m really not sure. I am terrible at reading graffiti lettering.  Can anyone help me out here?

A Now Magazine paper box in Toronto

On another day, camera in hand I spotted this sticker, which I left so everyone could enjoy it, only to see that it had been removed by the next day.  As a fellow artist I would be sad to have something beautiful I put out into the world removed and discarded so quickly.  So maybe the right thing to do is remove the plastic sheet to save the sticker.  Maybe people could start collecting them like giant sports cards, trying to acquire all the local artists’ work, trading with other collectors and such, just like the pantyhose package collections I was advocating for! (see ‘Random Collections: Pantyhose!’)

This beautiful sticker has been lost to the ages

This one says “Ruin”, right? I think it’s great, the colours, the shape… it’s a shame that the newspapers move so fast to get rid of them.  So I’m going to get started on my ‘plastic news box sheets with stickers’ collection today!

Thrift Store Finds: Readymade Art

9 Apr

Sometimes while thrift store shopping or digging through garbage I find objects that are so beautiful and perfect that I believe they have achieved readymade art status.  For those who are not familiar with the term, according to the internet readymade art is defined as “an everyday object selected and designated as art”, a name that was coined by the French artist Marcel Duchamp.  The  notion of the art object as unique is destroyed in the act of declaring a mass produced commercial object as “art”.  And so, with that in mind, I present to you, dear reader, a selection of two recently found readymade art objects.

The first is a white ceramic piece, obviously the bottom half of a female figure.  I feel it is no mere coincidence that it shares it’s materiality with Duchamp’s famous “Fountain” urinal piece from 1917.  But, instead of having to perform the difficult labour of transformation Duchamp undertook in having to upend the urinal before declaring it art, (see wikipedia) I was spared this drudgery, as  someone else had already removed (i.e. stole) the top half of the figure by the time I got to it, leaving just the small but important step  of declaring the item “art” left to finish, which, I managed to find time to do.

To solidify it’s existence as a work of art, I shall give it this pretentious art title: Untitled (apparatus 3):

Untitled (apparatus 3), 2012
Approx 4"
readymade art object



The second readymade, or found art object I found was this fantastic set of lego-like blocks, each printed with a small image and some Chinese writing.  I loved the simple pop art line drawings and the colours, and it was convenient that it came in it’s own readymade frame; a plastic envelope that opened with snaps at the back!

Front of blocks set

Back of blocks set


Here are a few close-ups of my favorite blocks.  Bonus points for anyone who can tell me what the writing says!

The fish on the white block totally looks like it’s about to give a lecture, or make an announcement or something.  Actually, it seems kind of pissed, like it’s standing there with it’s hand on it’s hip about to totally deny some guy fish trying to pick it up in a bar. Am I right?  Come on ladies, you know what I’m talking about.

I have hung this plastic piece of goodness in a special place on my wall.  It is definitely a work of art, wouldn’t you agree?

Both of these objects d’art were found at Value Village, in Mississauga.

Value Village 3130 Dixie Rd. Mississauga, Ontario

Lady Heart’s Portfolio: Jewelry (well, not really)

8 Apr

In addition to my formal training as a sculpture/installation artist, I have also studied precious metal jewelry fabrication, though most of my work in that area did not result in wearable pieces of jewelry.  Rather, a look at the type of work I created necessitated a change in majors from jewelry to sculpture, as you will see here from my photos.  A common comment from my teachers at the time would be “How do you wear this work?” to which I would reply “oh no no, you actually nail it to the wall.”  End scene.

One of my first works was this black panther plate.  Approximately 9″ long from tail to teeth, this enameled copper sheet cat was set with turquoise cabochon stones to represent eyes, and features holes drilled at the perimeter to rivet the piece on something, a long clutch purse being what I had envisioned:

I was very pleased with the outcome of this piece, but it is not really jewelry, now is it?  In what area do you think a metal plate for a clutch purse falls, dear reader?

Next in my rebellious jewelry practice was this small cast tape cassette.  Carved out of hard jewelry wax, then molded and cast, this small, silver work measures approx. 1.25″ and is set with a small hole at each corner so it can be sewn or riveted to an item of clothing, or, like the cat, mounted on a purse:

It possesses the crudeness that is typical of my work (according to my professors), that I liked to misconstrue as “charming” and “intentional”.

And in the same vein, I created another small cassette piece, created from the aluminum from an Arizona Iced Tea can, as a solution to a project that required us to use garbage as the primary material.  It is a similar size as the above cassette.   In addition to the aluminum can I used silver tube rivets to suggest the tape spools.  This could be made into a pin if I attached a pin back to the other side, but I envisioned it as a small sculpture, something to squirrel away in a little box, or display in a little cabinet.

There you have it, jewelry, done sculpture style!  I suppose this result was inevitable for a jewelry student who doesn’t wear jewelry.  Stay tuned for the least jewelry-like piece I ever did soon!

Convenience Store Treasures: Stickers!

5 Apr

What is it about stickers that girls like so much?  Even as grown women my girlfriends and I still get excited when we acquire some new cool stickers.  One of the convenience stores near my home had a few packs of stickers from one of my favorite brands, “Happy Stickers”  which the company boasts “Sticks By Itself”!  These stickers are are super colourful, and the animals and things they depict can be quite humorous in their expressions.  Below I’ve posted some of my collection with an accompanying close up of the best sticker in the pack.

The first are one of two sets of donkeys with my favorite being the little yellow one that looks like a chihuahua:

The Happy Sticker Donkeys

The cute chihuahua-like donkey

The other Donkey set was also great.  the unnatural colours and expressions are what make them so appealing, especially the green one, which had a rather Scooby-Doo like air to it, wouldn’t you agree?

The second Happy Sticker Donkeys

The Scooby-Doo green donkey

There were also these odd transformer rip off space craft stickers that contained this pink horned jester like robot (?) face:

The Happy Sticker robots

The weird pink robot face

The flowered and polka dotted cows were fun,  and  trans-positive, with some sporting both bullhorns and udders.  The set features a cow with a big headed bird pecking it’s back, a bashful looking cow in a vest and tie, a suspicious cow, who seems unsure about the pink barrel that is part of her sticker, a cow wearing a lei with a birthday cake and present, and a striped cow with a bib, among others.

The trans-positive cow stickers.
You guys know you can click these images to see them larger, right? I didn't know that at first.

The bib-wearing striped cow

And lastly there were three sets of dog stickers which I thought had the funniest expressions of the animals in the Happy Stickers repertoire.

Here’s one that had this big jowly brown dog with it’s tongue out:

Happy Stickers, pack one of dog stickers

Is this snobby dog unhappy with the drumstick in it's bowl?

Conversely, the dog I’ve highlighted in the second dog set seems a pleased, if perhaps incontinent dog, as can be inferred by the odd brown forms that seem to be dropping from its hind quarters.

Happy Stickers, featuring the pleased dog

Are those supposed to be muddy paw prints, or just dog mud? Only time, will tell.

And lastly, my favorite set of dog stickers, as this set has quite a few hi-larious dogs on it.

The best of the Happy Sticker dogs

this wiener dog has an excellent dinner

This dog had none.

This dog looks like someone put hot sauce into it's water.

While this fancy, necklace-wearing poodle seems unsure about her cake.

I love these happy Stickers so much I cant bear to open them and use them.  To me they are like a readymade piece of art, suitable for framing just as is.  The colours and the expressions make these a treasured and valuable item to me.  I found these at a convenience store near my home called Sherwood Variety that is a total jackpot for old toys and stickers and things, more of which you can see here at the Miss Lady Heart Blog, so tune in next time dear reader, to see more convenience store gold!

Sherwood Variety, 2574 Yonge St, Toronto, at Yonge and Sherwood, (Yonge and Eglington area). An excellent place to find old toys and stickers.

Street Art: Monster Box

2 Apr

There are so many talented artists who add to the vibrancy of our city (Toronto) by anonymously creating and installing artwork in public places.  These works always bring a smile to my face and I admire the guts these artists have to put their work out there where it can be stolen or removed by the city, (as is often the case)  and where there is no chance  for recognition.  I feel this is extremely selfless and generous of these artists, and by documenting these ephemeral installations we can all enjoy them long after they are gone.

This particular work I found in Parkdale (A west end Toronto neigbourhood) but the intersection now escapes me.  The way they have used the shape of the newspaper box to create a three eyed large mouthed monster is pure genius.  I wish I’d thought of it.  Wait, is it too late to say I did think of this?