day 336 – four portraits of the artist as a young man … by artists … who were also young men

Four drawings of me by Winnipeg artists. I’ll bet these artists have forgotten all about these portraits. If they haven’t, I doubt they would even believe these drawings still exist! One was drawn at a book launch, two were done in now-defunct Winnipeg bars, and one was a surprise gift.

Marcel Dzama is probably Winnipeg’s most famous artistic export. In 1999 he launched a collection of his work, the facetiously-titled More Famous Drawings, at Winnipeg’s homegrown bookshop McNally Robinson Booksellers. I was on hand, and had my book signed (and drawn in) by Dzama. He drew me on one of the endpapers! I’ve always thought this was pretty cool.

Greg is one of the nicest and most talented artists in Winnipeg – or any city. In fact, there are a number of extremely talented artists in Winnipeg who I’d also say are some of the city’s kindest and most friendly. This portrait was drawn in the basement of the Toad in the Hole Pub – a favourite haunt of Winnipeg’s creative subculture – until the bar was flooded, remodeled and renamed approximately 10 years ago. Now, possibly because I’m older or no longer cool (if I ever was), I don’t know where the 2011 societal equivalent hangs out.

Another talented and friendly fellow, Shaun Morin was enrolled in the University of Manitoba School of Art at the same time as me; our time as students overlapped. This portrait was drawn in Wiseguys on Campus, the University of Manitoba’s then-campus pub. There are two other portraits I could add to this series (by Cyrus Smith and Ian August) which were done at the same time, but for the sake of this blog I’ll allow Shaun to represent them. I remember collaborating with Shaun on a group project in a special topics class about humourous art. Shaun and I (and fellow student Ben Bonner) created an off-the-charts horrific video that tested the limits of our classmates’ tolerance of sex and violence. Many left the room. Our project earned us each an A+. (If any of us decide to run for political office, this video is blackmail fodder if ever I’ve seen it.)

Kevin Matthews left this impromptu sketch on my desk sometime in 2001 or 2002 as a surprise. Lucky me! Kevin’s talents as an illustrator, writer, designer and spoken word artist boggle the mind; how is he so good at so many things? Many who know him will agree – he’s one of the sweetest and wisest gents anyone could ever know.

There are many other artists whose work I’d be proud to spotlight in this post. Unlike the above mentioned artists, however, they had the sense to not provide me with a portrait of myself.

See you tomorrow!


One Comment on “day 336 – four portraits of the artist as a young man … by artists … who were also young men”

  1. Greg Oakes says:

    very cool; thanks for the kind words, mark! wow, time sure flies by, eh!?

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