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“DISTURBIA” by GNAY

Audio Tour # 4: Now enter the room marked “GNAY’s subconscious” and observe the large unframed canvas, hanging slightly askew, on the back wall. This complex figurative front yard fiasco is a classic example from GNAY’s “Post Trading Period”. Wildly creative and darkly disturbing (but in a whimsical way), “DISTURBIA” shows us the real GNAY, now free from the mental shackles of his oppressive investment career. Like a hunting dog on acid, it leads us on a Mobius strip like journey into the darkest corners of the artist’s mind. Art critics are mixed on the importance of this work, with most believing it is better suited to a garage sale than a gallery. You be the judge.

 

“The Night Trader” by GNAY

Audio Tour # 3: You are now standing in front of what is thought to be the finest example from GNAY’s “Trading Period”. This was a time of great stress and anxiety for our hero (GNAY), but also produced many great artworks, including this one. They say, “pressure makes diamonds”, and GNAY produced a lot of gems during this period. Juggling a successful investment career with a growing art following (cult-like), the artist spent many sleepless nights akimbo on the living room couch. Many of his greatest paintings (and trades) were conceived half asleep in an insomniatic trance, like the one pictured here. As the pressure cooker of GNAY’s life reached a fever pitch, something had to give, and thankfully for us today, creativity trumped greed, and the mature GNAY emerged from his cocoon.

 

“Dream Houses” by GNAY

Audio Tour # 2: We now move from “Dream Kitchen” to “Dream Houses”, GNAY’s seminal work from 2014. Once thought to be a fanciful diorama of the young GNAY at play on a Birch Bay beach, is now known to be an expose of his often-troubled youth. Japanese tsunami debris, skeletal driftwood, and a bottle of scotch ominously cry for help. The family “cabin” looms over the young and petulant artist’s (aged 10) driftwood shanty, where he was known to have been exiled, often for weeks at a time. Left to forage for food on his own, the young GNAY (again, aged 10) often put himself to bed with an empty stomach, save a wee dram. Sad stuff makes great art.

 

“Dream Kitchen” by GNAY

Audio Tour # 1: On the surface, we are looking at a pleasant enough 1960’s kitchen vignette from the artist’s early childhood. We are drawn into the warm kitchen by the red brick chimney, the oak furniture, and the gaily patterned linoleum. Suddenly though, alarm bells go off when we realize the coffee, cigarette, and wine (Sommet Rouge 1968) all belong to the young (aged nine) artist. Realize now, you are not looking at a GNAY, you are looking into GNAY, and it’s not pretty. The harsh reality of growing up on Vancouver’s rough and tumble West Side, laid bare for all to see. Now, look closely at the small room on the right, illuminated by a single light bulb, its murky depths and contents are left uncertain. Let’s not go there.

 

“ARMAGEDDON” by GNAY

With my art career now entering its fifth year, a large publically funded (hint, hint), gallery/museum is planning a major retrospective of my work for this summer. Tentatively titled, “After ARMAGEDDON – the rise of GNAY”, it will explore the popular artist’s transformation from broker to broke in no holds barred, tell it like it is expose. Obviously, an exhibition of this size and importance will include an audio tour. Rumour has it that Jeremy Irons and James Earl Jones are fighting for the opportunity to narrate this, “saga in art”, for free. The gallery’s curatorial staff have asked for some input from me, which I will provide with great delight, and share with you this week.

 

“Gastown : Number 43” by GNAY

This is the end. The painting is done and I think it does what I set out to do. A whimsical Gastown vignette with a thought provoking edge. For me it is about the edge, or edges of what we see here, and it’s not pretty. In a very subtle way it acknowledges the storm of homelessness and addiction that rages on the fringes of this happy tourist local. For most people though, it will be a charming reminder of their Vancouver visit, and that works for me too, because GNAY is not Norman Rockwell. Not even close.

 

“Unfinished Number V” by GNAY

This painting is almost finished, so let’s go back to the beginning, which is those famous artist cityscapes I showed you last week. I started with Utrillo’s palette, Beckman’s twisted perspective, and Smart’s “urban stillness”. In an attempt to evoke Hopper’s “quiet solitude”, I have added long shadows and empty streets. The steam clock belching smoke is partly E.J. Hughes and partly GNAY. The modified statue, the Woodward’s, sign, the beer barrel, and the pee stained wall (very subtle – you don’t want to scare tourists) are all pure GNAY. All in all, a pleasing whimsical depiction of Gastown, with a muted “thought provoking edge ™”, which I will use as a club, and hit you over the head with tomorrow. NOTE: for GNAY insiders only! No sharing with the “genpub”.

 

“Unfinished Number III” by GNAY

In order for this painting to work for YOU it must have some recognizable elements, so on the left, I have added the famous steam clock, sans steam (for now). I have no special attachment to the steam clock (except maybe passing it, once or twice or maybe three times, on a pub crawl) but it is an important part of the Gastown experience for many. Likewise, the Maple tree behind the clock adds some charm and some pleasantness to the old town experience. With great whimsy and delight I have added some highlights and shadows, without concern for technical accuracy, because that’s the way GNAY rolls. Tomorrow: we get serious with some ME time.

 

“Unfinished Number III” by GNAY

In order for this painting to work for YOU it must have some recognizable elements, so on the left, I have added the famous steam clock, sans steam (for now). I have no special attachment to the steam clock (except maybe passing it, once or twice or maybe three times, on a pub crawl) but it is an important part of the Gastown experience for many. Likewise, the Maple tree behind the clock adds some charm and some pleasantness to the old town experience. With great whimsy and delight I have added some highlights and shadows, without concern for technical accuracy, because that’s the way GNAY rolls. Tomorrow: we get serious with some ME time.

 

“Unfinished Number II” by GNAY

Recap: This week I will be giving you some insite into my process as I finish this painting. Over the weekend I spent some time (3-4 hrs) fleshing out the buildings on the right. Now you can see the Sears Tower (no, that’s not the space needle) and the long-gone Woodward’s sign in the background. Both buildings are/were on the fringes of Gastown, but nowhere near where I have placed them. Also, you don’t see everything I tried (and didn’t like) along the way. I may have changed the sky 20-30 times before getting here and it will probably change again. I’m building the painting from back to front and I have some foreground ideas that will obliterate some of my recent construction (sniff, sniff). But GNAY/The Buddha knows that clinging will only bring unhappiness and I will embrace the changes to come.