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“28th and Main” by GNAY (photo credit)

This shabby east Vancouver corner is about to be demolished and developed. So, goodbye to six small businesses and hello to another Starbucks and more empty condos. Normally I would just scoff and go on with my day, but this time its personal. This building houses “Arts Off Main”, Vancouver’s only cooperative art gallery, which also happens to be the home of GNAY. We have been demo-evicted as of February 28th and are scrambling to find a new location. In the meantime, just ahead of the wrecking ball, I have done a painting of this very un-picturesque corner. Not surprisingly, another GNAY painting location will soon be gone, but this time I had a heads-up, so we can’t blame my brush. Can we?

 

“Luncheon on the Grass” by Pablo Picasso

Confidential patient transcript (Paris 1960) Patient P. Ruiz presents traumatic incident acute depression syndrome; Prognosis - not good. Radical treatment required.

Dr GNAY: Well my work here is done. Your depression has been cured and your career is off and running.

PICASSO: I have you to thank for that. The funny thing is people point at my work and say, “he must be crazy!”

Dr GNAY: Thankfully there’s no cure for creativity!

PICASSO: How is your own painting coming along?

Dr GNAY: Just dabbles really. I’m thinking about quitting this psychologist gig and taking up art full time.

PICASSO: I think you should. If you are as good an artist as you are a teacher you will do fine.

Dr GNAY: Thanks. Don’t forget to take your medications.

PICASSO: Always doctor! Sip, sip, dab, dab.

 

“Pot Wine-Glass and Book” by Pablo Picasso

Confidential patient transcript (Paris 1908) Patient P. Ruiz presents traumatic incident acute depression syndrome; Prognosis - not good. Radical treatment required.

Dr GNAY: I Like what you have done here Pablo! Your work is starting to show some joie de vivre. How are you feeling?

PICASSO: Much better doctor! Your therapy has done wonders for my mental state and your painting tips have reinvigorated my work.

Dr GNAY: I see here you have taken my advice and you are moving away from representing objects as you see them. I like the way you have flattened the picture plane and are having fun with shapes.

PICASSO: Exactly! If you want a photograph, hire a photographer! I’m taking art in a new direction and I have you to thank for it.

Dr GNAY: Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I am a little concerned that you are still viewing the world with a “glass totally empty” attitude.

PICASSO: Empty glass – happy painter!

Dr GNAY: Touché! Let’s go make some empties!

 

“Boy with Pipe” by Pablo Picasso

Confidential patient transcript (Paris 1901 – 1905) Patient P. Ruiz presents traumatic incident acute depression syndrome; Prognosis - not good. Radical treatment required.

Dr GNAY: How are you feeling today Pablo?

PICASSO: I think I’m starting to see the end of the tunnel. Painting my feelings has been very therapeutic and I have done some decent work, but I’m getting sick of painting the colour blue.

Dr GNAY: Good, good, that’s a good sign! Sublimating depression on canvas often has that effect. It shows you are ready for the next step.

PICASSO: The next step?

Dr GNAY: Yes, we are now going to introduce some red into your work. Paint and wine. The gradual reintroduction of colour into your painting should lift your spirits. The colour red will give your paintings, and your mood, a “Rosy” hopeful tone.

PICASSO: And the wine?

Dr GNAY: A positive trigger to reinforce the art therapy. Paint what you drink. Drink what you paint, That sort of thing.

PICASSO: Brilliant Doctor! I’m all in. Sip, sip, dab, dab. Voila!

 

“The Tragedy” by Pablo Picasso

Confidential patient transcript (Paris 1901 – 1905) Patient P. Ruiz presents traumatic incident acute depression syndrome; Prognosis - not good. Radical treatment required.

PICASSO: Thank-you for seeing me doctor. I understand you are visiting from Canada?

Dr GNAY: Yes, I’m here on a painting holiday, but when I heard a fellow artist was in distress I immediately wanted to help.

PICASSO: Perhaps when I am better we can paint together? If that day ever comes. I am so depressed, I can barely get out of bed, let alone paint.

Dr GNAY: I hear that you are sad and I think some art therapy is in order. Instead of internalizing your sadness, I want you to paint it out. Use a lot of blue. I think you will find it very therapeutic. Also, don’t be afraid to have the odd beer.

PICASSO: Beer?

Dr GNAY: Yes, it’s a radical new treatment I am pioneering in Canada. Very effective in cases like yours. Remember: It’s always noon somewhere!

PICASSO: Ha Ha! Thank-you doctor. I’m feeling better already!

 

“Blue Nude” by Pablo Picasso

In 1901 a young Pablo Picasso, aged twenty and soon to be famous, was living and painting the dream in Paris. He was quickly becoming the “it boy” of the Parisian art scene, when his world was shattered by the tragic night club suicide of his best friend. This sent the young Spanish artist into a deep depression that would last for many years. This event is said to have triggered his famous “Blue Period” which is well documented in the history of art. What remains undocumented, until now, is the young artist’s battle with depression and the amazing visiting Canadian psychologist who treated him (pro-bono) while on sabbatical in the “City of Lights”. That visiting analyst/artist who eventually lifted Pablo’s spirits, giving him a new lease on life, was (of course) Dr. GNAY, and this is his story. Confidential patient transcripts to follow.

 

“Coming Home (Final Approach)” by GNAY

This is the newest rendition on my coming home theme. I added the geese on the left and a small sail boat on the right. The geese are “coming home” for yet another season of Stanley Park hijinks. I’m not sure what the sailboat is up to. You can’t see it here, but I have also repainted the entire piece (6 hrs) to remove a faux canvas look that is present in all my early works. I feel a bit guilty about yet another series of limited-edition prints from what is basically the original piece, but hey, I’m just an artist trying to make a living and if something is working, you run with it. My goal is to provide original local art at an affordable price for everyone to enjoy. This is the sort of thing I have to do to make that happen. It’s not like I’m getting rich. Definitely not.

 

“Campbell’s Soup Cans” by Andy Warhol

“Isn’t life a series of images that change as they repeat themselves?” – Andy Warhol

Van Gogh painted a dozen bouquets of sunflowers until he got it right (and boy did he nail it). Monet painted at least twenty-five versions of his famous haystacks in various modes of being haystacks before he was happy. Who knows how many soup cans Warhol painted? Google doesn’t even know, but there were lots! There are 32 here alone! These little beauties originally sold for $100 each. The whole set was later acquired by New York’s MoMA for $15,000,000. This seems like a lot, but I think would fetch ten times that now (GNAY estimate). So, the precedent is set: artists, especially soon to be famous ones, often revisit and repeat previous themes and paintings. Tomorrow: “Coming Home (Final Approach)”.

 

“Coming Home, Again” by Gary Nay

My research shows that there are two reasons to do another version of the same painting: because it’s not selling (van Gogh) or because it is selling (GNAY). Travel is fun, but for me living in Vancouver, coming home always evokes a sense of relief. Twisted through time, this painting attempts to give you that feeling whether you are arriving home (again) by a modern float plane or a centuries old coastal canoe. I updated this new version with the addition of a retro cabin cruiser fueling up at the gas dock (don’t ask). That was two years ago. A week ago, after selling the original painting and 150 limited-edition prints of it, I had painted myself into (another) corner. An artist could have worse problems.

 

“Coming Home” by Gary Nay

My first version of “Coming Home” was born February 5, 2015, making her just under three years old. She’s very “Vancouver” and is popular with locals and tourists alike. Everybody remarks on the Chevron station, but very few see or remark on the Coast Salish cedar burial boxes in the trees of Deadman’s Island. Within a year, I had printed and sold the entire (first) edition of 50, plus I started editions in larger and smaller sizes to fill the demand. The summer tourist season was fast approaching and I needed a way to make sure every visitor to Vancouver, who wanted one, could get a limited-edition print of this GNAY original. To make this happen, I revisited, reworked, and repainted this image, and “Coming Home, Again” was born.