Dinner with GNAY- week 4: French fries (pommes frites)
Guy and the gang at the network want to see a little more cooking and a little less me, so today I will jump right in. French Fries! Yum, yum! Wash and peel four, peewee football sized, Russet potatoes. For safety always peel away from yourself. (Hurry up) Take a sharp knife and start by cutting each spud in half lengthwise, like this. Oops! I nicked my finger. (Get a Band-Aid on it) It’s just a scratch, but is bleeding a bit, which gives me a great oppourtunity to talk about kitchen safety. (Hurry, you’re getting blood on the food!) My “nick” now looks like more of a “gash” and is spurting a bit. Fashion a crude tourniquet out of your apron and wrap the wound tightly. It’s amazing how fast you can bleed out from a small slit, which reminds me of a story: Growing up on a farm in Saskatchewan… (Cut! Call 911!) Bon Appetit...
Dinner with GNAY- week 3: Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Point Roberts Washington, Just five minutes south of Playa del Naya (GNAY’s Pebble Hill Compound), was a favourite family camping spot. Even after the kids out grew it, many parents soldiered on, and I think it was because of my famous late night grilled cheese sandwiches. (They better be good) Don’t worry Guy, these are good. Best pan fried slowly, over an open fire, with a cold beer (or better yet, a small scotch – no water – two cubes) in hand. The network won’t let me build a camp fire here on the set, but nothing wrong with nipping at a small whiskey while I work. Guy, please pour me a couple of fingers while I set up. (PLEASE cook something!). Put a Kraft single* between two slices of Wonder Bread*. Butter the top and bottom and fry (like this) until golden brown. Yum, yum. Bon appetit!
*Official foods of GNAYart.com and are also Ocean Wise a sustainable choice
Dinner with GNAY- week 2: Campbell’s Tomato Soup
This is probably not your “dream kitchen,” (where are the granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances?), but it is mine. As a kid growing up across from the school, I always went home for a hot lunch. That lunch often featured Campbell’s Tomato Soup and I will cook that for you today (are you serious?). This is the same soup can Andy Warhol painted hundreds of times and eventually became rich and famous for. I have never painted a soup tin, but in the early seventies I did paint a kick-ass, poster sized, Budweiser Beer label, which I wish I still had. Funny how forty-five years later I’m still painting beer labels. (real funny – get to the stove!). Mom always prepared it while smoking, but I don’t recommend that! Put the contents of the tin in a saucepan with a tin full of milk. Heat and stir until hot. Bon Appetit!
Dinner with GNAY- week 1: Toasted Butterhorn Pastry
When I was a teen, this Kerrisdale coffee shop was a favourite local hang-out and one of my favourite menu items was the Toasted Butterhorn. I will cook one for you today, but first a sip of wine. Growing up, Graham Kerr and Julia Child (the French Chef) were a big influence. My approach in the kitchen reflects this. They always had a glass of wine (or two) while preparing a meal, so I always do the same, even at breakfast. People look at you funny, but if you call it “brunch” – It’s all good! You’re losing them, cook something. Guy says it’s recipe time. Slice the Danish pastry in half (like a bagel), butter the cut sides (like this) then grill it (buttered side down) on the flat top. Serve on a plate. Yum, yum! (sip, sip). Bon apetit!
I just got a call from Guy Fieri at The Food Network and my new cooking show is a go for next week! I pitched him the idea a while ago and I thought it was dead (sous-vide?) in the water, but he says they are really excited about me joining the FN family. Even though I’m not much of a cook, they love my “art meets meat” concept. Every week I will prepare a tasty meal inspired by one of my paintings. Guy says people don’t give a crap about the actually cooking. It’s the personal stories around the meal that people want to hear. I’ve got lots of stories, but I’m a little short on recipes, so it’s looking like a weekend chained to the stove with a bottle of red (or two). Bon appetit!
When something bad happens, like getting demo-evicted out of your business location of fourteen years, the tendency is to get upset and angry, or you can take it the GNAY way and say, “you never know”. Initial searches for a new Main Street location with rents averaging five to seven times our current rate were a bit discouraging. Then (this is the happy ending part), one of our partners found this great street front in the heart of Vancouver’s vibrant Commercial Drive neighborhood. “Arts Off Main” is becoming “Arts way Off Main” in a busier, bigger, and brighter location on The Drive. So, something good has come from something bad and we are all quite excited about the fresh start. But, GNAY (like always) is taking it in stride, because as know, “you never know”.
GNAYification / g-nay-if-i-ca-tion / guhnayifikash(e)n
noun: The process of whimsically simplifying a subject or scene while maintaining its essence with the addition of subtle thought-provoking touches.
While on the face of it, this is a painting of a street corner, I have included and added several things that personalize it for me without ruining it for you (I hopThe chair in front of the antique store is from Van Gogh’s, “Bedroom in Arles”
- The pitcher with apples in the window is from one of my earliest paintings, which was a copy of an early Picasso
- The banner on the north wall is my “REFLECTIONS”, double GNAYified
- The bus is from the early 1970’s. A time when you let your 11-year-old ride downtown, with a friend, not a parent.
- Reflected in the bus window is a BC Liquor Store sign. This is where you used to be able to buy Old Style stubbies like the one sitting on the COV traffic control box. This box has not been GNAYified but the one at Robson and Denman has. You should go see it sometime.
Like a TV chef pulling the finished dish out of the oven just after chopping the onions, voila, here is the finished painting! Clap, clap, clap! I wish you could smell this at home! Oh, sorry that’s next week’s show. As you can see, I have cleaned things up and done a bit of rearranging. Clutter like pedestrians (sorry people, but you will thank me one day) cars, and extraneous street signs, lights, and wires have all been ignored. Several things have been added, imagined and made up. This process, also now known as GNAYification (google it), allows me to inject lots of personal touches, while at the same time retaining the essence of the original scene. So, if you know where to look, a shabby Vancouver street corner has become another GNAY self-portrait (of sorts). Even though it’s all about me, I hope there is something here for you too.
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?
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.