A deep-seated apology for the lack of exhibitions over the past two weeks, due to it being the Easter holidays, but now I’m back again! 😄
By now, Canadian Boys probably doesn’t need an introduction, or just a short one in three words: Canadian places personified. Since starting on it in 2011, it has continued to grow from strength to strength.
One strength in life is that of families, in particular parents. For this special artwork, I wanted to focus on fathers, since – from my experience – in the media, they are nearly always left out of the family proceedings, or when they do appear, they don’t seem to be contributing any usefulness into raising their children or spending time with the mothers. (Riley’s Dad in Inside Out is a prime example of this – when he’s supposed to be listening to her Mum talking, his emotions are instead watching a football game!)
While this picture is relatively neutral, it still manages to make the fathers of the Canadian Boys house gang the focus. They are drawn in a kind of ‘sandwich’, with Edmonton and Winnipegosis, the fathers, being the bread on the outside, and Calgary and Winnipeg, their sons, being the fillings. (Being that Calgary is known for its beef, I’d think it was a beefy sandwich…)
In case you’d slacked off over the Easter holidays and forgot what I’d exhibited just before then, here’s each of the characters’ bios (copied from the last exhibition):
An 8-year-old boy. While he is usually very obedient, he does have his misbehaving moments. His favourite word is “guy”, calling many people – even complete strangers – by it, and even those who aren’t human. He has a brilliant photographic memory, which means he literally never forgets a face. He is cared for by his father Edmonton.
Calgary’s father. He has a great sense of humour, loving to have a laugh with his son. Thanks to Calgary’s great obedience, he rarely – if not never – gets angry. His love of fast food – like pizza, fried chicken and burgers – has caused him to gain quite a lot of weight, giving him a puffy belly. His favourite activity with Calgary is the ‘Tree Game’, where he pretends to be a tree and lets Calgary climb up on him, but he often falls off in the process, always laughing it off.
A 6-year-old boy. In stark contrast to Calgary, he is rather disobedient, often getting into trouble for the tiniest thing. He is overly sensitive, breaking down in tears whenever he gets punished, and shuddering when the bad memories creep back up on him. He is very creative, though, loving to write and illustrate his own stories and paint his own masterpieces. Although they were born two years apart, Calgary is able to carry him, and the sight is always a cute one to see. He is cared for by his father Winnipegosis.
Winnipeg’s father. Unlike Edmonton, he is more serious and likely to get angry, due to Winnipeg’s disobedience. He is also even more aggressive, smacking Winnipeg with his meaty hands or lashing him with his black belt while shouting at him noisily. He seems to gain sadistic pleasure from seeing his poor young son in suffering, only comforting him if something or someone else has upset him. Despite all this, he loves Winnipeg and feels blessed to have him as his son.
Another slight, but significant difference from the last picture of Edmonton which I posted, is that his stomach seems to be bulging a little under his shirt. This was intentional; due to his junk-food diet, he gains weight every few months or so, leading to him being drawn bigger and fatter each time. This is one of the steps I took to ensure Canadian Boys was the most ‘realistic’ series of mine yet – since eating unhealthily doesn’t exactly keep a person in the same shape, size and wellbeing for long – and is an ethos I still stick to today.