Happy Birthday to one of my favourite painters, Robert Farmer! A pop surrealist from Winnipeg, MB and now residing in Toronto ON, an inspiration and a friend, I knew Rob was a real cool cat (and weirdo) when we first crossed paths over 10 years ago and he really took to my Cannibal paintings.
Starting art from a young age, Rob is largely a self taught maestro. Working in mostly oil on wood and sometimes painting over Laura Ashley wallpaper, old atlases and repurposed paintings from Value Village, there is no subject too taboo for him to dabble in.
Caricatures of our favourite celebrity icons, Jesuses blessing hot dogs and cute fluffy bunnies in BDSM orgies are just a part of his regular repertoire. The tallest artist I know at a whopping 6 feet and 4 inches, Rob is also a self starter entrepreneur running his own successful wall painting business at Colourcoat.ca. Most recently Farmer has been struggling to keep up with supply and demand for his most topical of creations, pandemic bunnies hoarding toilet paper! Never boring, forever interesting, a hint of funny and a rare original, Rob reveals a reflection of our times and he does it through rose coloured glasses. He is also currently exhibiting at Mercury Espresso here in Toronto until the end of July! Go see it! You can find him on Facebook or on Instagram @rrobertfarmer
I sold 2 paintings recently, whooo hoo! Thank you for all your support 🙉 The Proboscis Monkey packed his bags and headed off to the UK 🇬🇧 and my Booby Piggy made it to Singapore 🇸🇬 ! Originals are gone now but prints are still available 🐖
Inspired by my current pregnancy, I am finally expecting my first born this autumn! This painting comes after trying for a baby for a few years including a few unfortunate hiccups along the way. From left to right, this painting depicts the trying winter that finally led to the successful conception along with my family’s anticipation for our bundle of joy as the stork flies through the seasons as we await for our baby’s arrival in the beautiful room of autumn. Cycling through the change of seasons from the snowy winter to the budding fragrances of spring to the lush greenery of summer, we are especially looking forward to the fiery colours this fall. Germinating during baby’s gestation period, I tried to encapsulate all the emotions as I embark on this epic event in my life, my journey through the entryway of motherhood. I imagine a family of forest animals, both in life and spirit as they come out of their hiding places to wish us luck and leaving us gifts of fortune, fit for the newborn.
Things included: Momma and Poppa Bear, Mother Goose, a silver spoon, a red egg, a lucky red pocket, red booties and a clue of baby’s name to be. Can you find it?
Probably going to hang onto the original painting but lot of paper, canvas and more print options available at:
Father’s Day is coming up and you’re scratching your head, why not get him something unique, original and priceless?! Something that will last several lifetimes, something that can be passed down from generation to generation, something to remember his legacy by. Scroll through the top 10 fatherly characters below, which painting resembles your dad the most?
Above is my Polar Bear Fishing, perfect for the fisher, and perfect for the resilient type -this polar has adapted to climate change quite nicely, thriving even! You can find this cheeky, son of a B, one-of-a-kind original painting on my Etsy page: https://www.etsy.com/au/listing/534199769/polar-bear-fishing
This painting is one of the last from this time period in my development as a painter. Inspired by a day on mushrooms hanging out by the dock, a perfect summer day by the water, now you can share it and spend a forever here with the pops!
Maybe papa prides himself as man of the house, master of his domain, and king of the castle. This one’s for the more majestic approach, complete with crown, staff and cape and decked out in his jewels and armour, he even has a sidekick on his shoulder. This dad commands glory and attention! Original painting long gone but art prints available https://society6.com/product/crocodile-kng_print?sku=s6-10848249p4a1v45
It even comes as a wall tapestry for a more epic experience or how bout a lap top sleeve for the more tech savvy guy?
If the old man is more like your saviour in a snow storm then the Bison TV will be hard to beat. Always there to dig you out of trouble with a cup of hot cocoa, he is reliable, dependable, and a great source of warmth on a cold day. Tell him how much your appreciate his efforts by showing him! Original is still around: https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/401130607/bison-tv?ref=shop_home_active_55
Well there you have it, the top 10 fatherly types from the Lisa Ng Art World Universe. Each one is an ode to a fatherly figure of one type or other. Give dad the gift of art, he will surely remember and treasure it forever!
Happy Birthday to the living Canadian Surrealist painter, Lisa Ng ! 🥳
Rumour has it artist Lisa Ng crawled out of a 1960s surrealist, Rene Magritte painting as an infant one magical spring evening whilst the peonies were in bloom, but medical records indicate she was more specifically born on June 7, 1984, the year of the rat, at precisely 8 pm in Hamilton, ON to Chinese immigrant parents, Dr. and Mrs. Ng. People say it was a rocky start, poor Mrs. Ng spent a full day in labour that finally resulted in a C Section and Mrs. Ng on oxygen before baby Lisa arrived -perhaps determining her personality early on, rather shy and hard to figure out in the beginning, but otherwise likeable. Her father, a primary care physician, along with her mother, a medical secretary, together supported the family of two children opening and running a family medical practice, largely looking after the growing Chinese, Mandarin and Vietnamese speaking immigrant population in the area.
Lisa, the younger sister to an elder brother, both children grew up with a strict and regimented upbringing with a concentration on academic vigour from an early age. Education was everything to Dr. and Mrs. Ng. As soon as they could hold their pencils, both were made to copy and memorize the dictionary, along with extra math, piano and Chinese language lessons. This heavily disciplined upbringing would later prepare both children for a very much needed expressive outlet -staging protests around the family living room for more free time, and Lisa producing a painting titled, Tiger Mom, followed by another titled, Tiger Empress, complete with metronome. Lisa’s older brother later became an ER physician and a patron and collector of the arts along with being one of Lisa’s biggest supporters, mimicking the supportive sibling relationship of Vincent and his brother Theo. Lisa also later became a registered nurse, carrying on the family tradition of providing accessible healthcare, on top of being a painter.
From a young age, little Lisa always had a curious, creative mind, pouring over picture books from the public library and mesmerized by the endless flow of patterned fabrics from her mother’s wardrobe. Mother Ng was a skilled seamstress and fashion, interior designer at heart. She decorated the family home with floral print drapes, leopard patterned couches, even her brother’s room was fashioned with zebra patterned curtains and bedding (see Zebraville below). Granny, on her mother’s side, also lived with the family, doing the bulk of the baby sitting and letting Lisa indulge in her early morning cartoon habit. Father Ng was a more logistical and disciplined man who also held a degree in engineering on top of a career in medicine, he wanted nothing less than top marks in math and science! It is perhaps the qualities of the two combined that gave Lisa the gumption to be the Renaissance women she dared to be, looking up to the stories of Leonardo Da Vinci from a young age. An early memory places her with a red artist’s beret, a gift from her mother, and showing little Lisa a picture of the Mona Lisa from the back of Reader’s Digest Magazine, also the same place wherein she discovered her first Magritte painting. Lisa likes to claim she was named after the Mona Lisa, though her mother tells her she was named after a character in a movie she once saw who prioritized family. Interesting tidbit, back in olden times, Mona meant Madam, so the name of the lady in the painting is simply Lisa, and not Mona Lisa. The Mona Lisa was also painted in celebration of Mona Lisa’s second child, so again, a celebration of family.
Throughout school, Lisa excelled in art and formed life long bonds with classmates wowed by her work and with similar interests. These characters still appear today in her life, offering emotional support and tips on how to sustain a living. Another life changing moment during her teen years was a trip she took to Italy’s Guggenheim museum wherein she witnessed Rene Magritte’s wall size painting, the Empire of Lights.
Wanting a more stable life for their daughter however, one without financial woes, the Ng parental units initially had their reservations about sending their daughter to art school. It was her late, high school art teacher, Doug Moore, that made the convincing case that Lisa had talent and that allowing her to pursue a dream would teach her hard work and rigorous discipline, pillars of the Ng family motto. Not only did Mr. Moore put her on a life path of becoming an artist, he showed her the basic skills of painting too. Eventually the Ng’s succumbed and off she went with her family’s blessing, but not before an inspiring 2 week trip she took backpacking through Spain with some friends, financed with money she made folding towels at Homesense. Here she visited the Dali museum in Figueres, Spain, this would later prove to be an epic life altering experience.
Attending the Ontario College Of Art, Lisa took little formal painting classes, preferring to instead immerse herself in time based art, video, performance, zines and the use of computers to manipulate images. It is this that may contribute to the story telling narrative and symbolic quality her paintings carry today. Primed with a superior work ethic from a young age and crazy about studying something she loved, Lisa would often finish her essays and projects weeks early. With all the extra time left over she spent a good portion smoking reefer with her buds (illegal at the time), and forming new artistic friendships that would support her in her later years psychologically, authentically and theoretically. It was in these hazey times her work with two art bands, the Pablo Jueves Foundation and the Spooky Astronauts Drawing Club began to form, further encouraging her interest in employing a dream like quality and humour within her art.
After graduating art school in 2007, Lisa woke up one day and suddenly decided she was going to go back to her first love, colour and painting. From that moment on Lisa dedicated herself to painting every day. She began first with a series of Cannibal paintings that were later exhibited at Toronto’s now defunct AWOL Gallery. Although generating some fanfare, selling 2 that year -1 for charity, Lisa continued to flounder between several precarious occupations for money. Fun Fact: Lisa Ng did a brief stint as a caricature artist for one spring/summer season at Ontario Place. Her best seller was drawing your portrait with piles of money. Finally, Lisa Ng woke up one morning and very much alike how she suddenly decided she would dedicate herself to painting everyday almost suddenly, and overnight, decided she’d do something she’d never do, enrol herself in nursing school.
Miraculously and but more probably due to the classic Ng work ethic drilled into her from a young age, Lisa passed through nursing school with flying colours in 2013. It was also during this time she painted one of her best gems, Lunch Time, later referrrd to as Zebraville by the late poet RM Vaughan -the first art critic to write about her work.
After passing her licensing exam and while sending out resumes in search for her first job as a nurse, Lisa also paints her perhaps most famous work, Flamingos In The Bathroom during this time. Eventually being auctioned off after collecting dust in the corner of her bedroom at the foot of her bed for a couple years, Lisa still enjoys a continuous stream of royalties from selling prints of this painting, financing her teeny tiny paint brush addiction. In 2015, by her early 30s, Lisa lands a flexible job as a visiting nurse and no longer having to worry about finances, Lisa enjoys a new found freedom, working a few days a week and painting whatever she feels like in between.
Beginning with a more contour line drawing technique, with the use of India ink employed in her early Cannibal Series, to scraping the India ink altogether and only using layers and layers of acrylic paint to create the contours, textures and patterns, a technique more in line with some of her favourite painters, Lisa continues to evolve, develop and be excited by painting.
After exhibiting at dozens of art shows and fairs, Lisa Ng remains a free agent, now largely selling direct or online. Serving her community as a nurse through the 2020 global pandemic and watching her online revenue climb as the art market changes, Lisa Ng begins to thrive. Her paintings gain a following and begin to be collected from all over North America to Australia, Switzerland, Vienna, Germany and Hong Kong. Even her Cannibal paintings from over 10 years ago have since garnered a cult like following and have begun to nearly sell out. Notable collectors include the Anonymous Wealthy Arab, the Accountant and Family, the Brown Family, the Mother and Son Team, the German Banker, Hannibal Lector and the Mysterious Shape Shifter.
Today Lisa Ng is working on her 251st painting inspired by and currently carrying her first child. Something she again just woke up one morning and decided to dedicate herself to. Happily married to the local mail man, rumour has it she paints with the elixir of life. At 37, clients claim she doesn’t look a day over 27 – 29, maybe 30. A liking for making things up and telling stories, Lisa claims she’s actually 101 and a wizard, and her magic wand? The paint brush!
Her work has been described anywhere from Calvin and Hobbes meets Salvador Dali to the words of the late poet and art critic RM Vaughan:
“As playful as a rabid kitten, Ng’s visual gags are a Marx Brothers skit crossed with Willy Wonka.”
“Ng’s deliciously detailed, David Lynch-like paintings present the mundane interiors and domestic lives of decidedly not mundane creatures. Ng is the David Sedaris of figurative painting.“
Critics critique cause they care. Critics don’t pick apart young unknowns, we only go after the big wigs. We all know, being an artist, an auteur, is hard enough as it is. To take the risk, to take the plunge, to simply be one, takes hard work, commitment, discipline, courage and on top of all that, talent! -is in of itself a miraculous achievement, whether you are any good or not. Any art is better than no art. Art is risky, art is dicey, it is impossible to please everybody (nor should you try), and to dedicate yourself to something that does not guarantee you food in your belly nor a roof over your head means you need support, both emotionally and financially. Despite all that, some get good, real good, and they get lucky, they make it big, real big, amass a following, a solid fan base, a support system for them and all their projects, their vision. We get involved in their work and with that, an emotional, psychological connection develops, a relationship. Critics pick apart, but only because we love something, we see untapped potential, we are invested.
For me it was Aziz Ansari’s Master of None, Seasons 1 and 2. Yes there is Alan Yang and Lena Waithe and probably a whole crew of other hidden cast and characters and set designers and special effects and behind the scene players, that made Master of None, Master of None, but for me what I loved about that show was the protagonist’s story as told through Dev Shah. Dev’s relationships, Dev’s funny friend Arnold, Dev’s parents, Dev’s hopes, Dev’s dreams.
Season 3 pretty much wipes out Dev. Minus my one and only favourite, very brief scene where Dev bickers with his new partner who pretty much fell from the sky, completely erasing the beautiful plot line and character development he built with the previous season’s Francesca, and along with it, everything else that was good with Master of None. Remember the Entourage movies anyone? The humour, the good music, the jokes, the framing, all gone. Why even have it under the Master of None banner? I feel duped as an avid fan, I was ecstatic there would be another Master of None but when I spent my time with Moments In Love, I felt cat fished. What I thought would be a great adventure turned into a dull date with Season 2’s Priya, “That wasn’t fun at all!” or Season 1’s great disappointment when we find Rachel’s still with her Seattle boyfriend, “Why? Why?! Why!!”
Is Aziz trying to make amends with the public with his unfortunate MeToo moment by staying behind the scenes? To that I say it is better to say sorry with your actions to those you owe it to and leave your art out of it! Or better yet, own up to it, write it in, Season 2 did it brilliantly with Chef Jeff. Aziz, you can be you and be funny and make amends, you don’t have hide behind your friends, I know you can.
I’m down with artists wanting to try new things, they should. If he wants to try new framing techniques, if he wants to go the Ingmar Bergman route, if he’s passionate about it, he should. Artists should stay inspired, explore new things, take risks, it’s how we grow and develop, but why not name Season 3 for what it is, an entirely different show with an entirely different title. Drop the Master of None banner for this one, it’s just bad PR, it’s a slap to your original fan base who have supported you through it. If it was named for what it is, something entirely different, then I wouldn’t have to write this scathing review. I could go, -oh okay, new direction, I respect that, I see some valid things, a decent effort, maybe for others, just not for me, and that would be that.
Season 3, Moments In Love centres around Dev’s friend, Denise’s character, and her navigation as a queer black women around relationships and family life. It is woke, but it’s a bang you over the head undigestible kinda woke. I will say I did find the exploration of a queer black women trying to navigate the health care system for fertility treatment enlightening, but it was angry and bitter and sad. Seasons 1 and 2 were both speckled with woke themes all throughout: the mis and under representation of minorities in media, the settle aggressions women face, the prejudices against people of different religions and cultures, racism, ageism, even heightism, but all are sprinkled about seamlessly with no one problem dominating the show. Seasons 1 and 2 were more widely relatable, they tackled those themes with humour and wit and this concocted a more savoury format, allowing it to speak to a larger audience. Seasons 1 and 2 do it better, it singles out no specific demographic in the victimhood olympics and to me that’s a stronger achievement, a finer work of art, it creates a world with a more level playing field. This is like comparing apples to oranges, maybe I just like oranges better. Don’t feed me apples and tell me it’s oranges though. Don’t cum on my face and tell me it’s snowing!
Season 3 doesn’t compare and had it not been named a Master of None production, it wouldn’t have to be. It would have been better to have just named it a different production altogether and at least let us say goodbye to Master of None on a high note.
So what do I think of Master of None, Moments In Love Season 3? Master of None Seasons 1 and 2 are spectacular, Season 3 is a flop, it’s slow, bad and boring and tries too hard to be different.
That being said, will there be a Master of None Season 4? Will I watch it? Will I volunteer my previous free time to it? Why yes! Of course I will! Because we are in a relationship, Aziz the artist and I the fan, and I still believe in US, Aziz! I can only be grateful for the relationship I once had with Dev, I can only thank you for what you have already given us, but please don’t keep leading us on! It’s mean and it’s cruel and if Season 4 sucks there’s not much more I can do but vent with another heartbreaking review.
People love flamingos! With all my Flamingos In The Bathroom print sales (depicted at the bottom of this post), I wanted to explore this fetish people have with kitschy flamingo themed things and naturally that led me to Don Featherstone, the original creator of the pink lawn flamingo.
Don was a sculptor and after graduating from the Worcester Art Museum’s art school, he began a job designing 3D animals for Union Products. Here he sculpted over 750 molds for the company but it was the pink flamingo he was asked to do in 1957-8 that really took flight, eventually earning him presidential tenure of the company until his retirement in 2000. Unable to obtain a real life flamingo, Don based his blue print from pictures from the popular National Geographic magazines.
Why was the pink flamingo so popular? It was the 1950s and pink was in. Coming out of The Great Depression, Americans saw pink as the new celebratory, up beat, flashy colour of affluence. New homes were filled with Persian pink curtains, flamingo print wall paper, Bermuda pink dishwashers, cherry blossom refrigerators and cotton Candy washer and dryers, even Elvis bought himself a pink Cadillac. Furthermore, after the Great Miami Hurricane of 1926 and a row of upscale hotels were destroyed, architects and interior designers rebuilt more modest hotels catering to the working class. These interiors were again dressed in flamingo themed pinks. The 1950s also saw the opening of the Miami Beach hotel: the Flamingo, which added a new element of razzle dazzle to the animal. Along with the new acquisition of wealth, vacationers coming back from Florida also sought flamingo souvenirs.
As luck would have it, it was Don Featherstone, from Fitzburg, Massachusetts, an already avid and prolific sculptor who hit the rising American middle class with just the right thing at just the right time with his affordable, cheeky pink lawn flamingo. A charming character he must have been, they say he kept 57 plastic flamingos on his back lawn coinciding with the year of its creation, 1957. As if that wasn’t eccentric enough, him and his wife Nancy coordinated matching outfits for over 35 years! Picking out patterned flaming fabrics and creating over 40+ outfits together, they must have been quite the sighting.
Along with a delightful domestic life, Don was recognized and celebrated professionally too. In 1996 he was awarded with the Ig Nobel Prize, an annually awarded prize since 1991 for an achievement in a work that not only makes people laugh, but think also. (Ig is a satiric play on the Nobel Prize, taken from the word ignoble, meaning not noble).
To me, the kitschy pink lawn flamingo is a celebration of life and a reminder that life is about perspective. One doesn’t need to venture far for humour and happinesses and that it is something that is affordable, within reach, and can be found right on your lawn.
Leaving behind his trail of pink plastic flamingos on suburban lawns across North America, Don Featherstone died at 79 of Lewy body dementia and although Union Products eventually closed in November 2006, his legacy continues. A New York company purchased the molds and subcontracted production to a Fitchburg company (the place of his death), Cado Products, who eventually purchased the copyrights and plastic molds. To this day, you can now still buy Don’s plastic pink flamingos, usually sold in sets of 2, 1 head erect and nearly 3 feet high and the other bending over to feed, both celebrating fun, both celebrating life.
In case you’re curious, here is my own kitschy Flamingo themed artwork, Flamingos In The Bathroom! -possibly unconciously inspired by Don Featherstone, I remember growing up we had flamingos on our lawn too! Comes in your classic art print, shower curtain, bath mat, hand and bath towels. Click button below.
Happy belated to the late, Henri Rousseau (May 21, 1844 – September 2, 1910) 🥳 A French post impressionist Naive (self taught) painter with a checkered past. Born in Laval, Mayenne, France, after highschool, he spent a month in prison for stealing money and stamps before enlisting into the miliary to shorten his prison sentence. After a year he was discharged on compassionate grounds when his father died and he went back home to look after his widowed mother. During this time he made a living working for the government, working as a debt collector, collecting tolls and taxes on goods entering the country. Although exhibiting talent for art from an early age, he did not start painting seriously until his early 40s. Eventually quitting his job to paint full time by 49, supplementing his income by playing violin on the street and doing covers for journals. After relocating to Montmartre, Paris. In 1908, a much younger, up and coming 27 year old, Picasso discovered his work while shopping for canvases to paint over and was impressed. Picasso even presented him with a mock cardboard medal (sort of a joke), during a party in his honour, inviting Henri into his circle of artistic friends. Henri took the gesture in stride and accepted, graciously.
Henri had a liking for telling fancy stories, claiming he was inspired by the tigers he encountered during his military service in Mexico when in actuality there are no records that indicate he ever visited Mexico. Instead, he mostly studied tigers from the zoo, or from depictions of tigers in books, sometimes reusing the same tiger pose in multiple paintings but mirrored versions of them. Referred as a Naive or Primitive painter, Rousseau’s work neglects the conventional forms of perspective, instead opting to depict a world more from imagination. Jungle plants have known to be large and in Rousseau’s painting’s he depicts this, yet maybe without the experience of being in a real juggle, he sometimes depicts this with overexaggerated houseplants. The teeth of tigers are wrongfully depicted as all are the same size and even the grass by the tiger’s feet are hardly bent as one would expect in real life. Rousseau paints from a child-like imagination and invites us into his world of whimsy.
Although not highly regarded during his time, most art critics made fun of his work rather than praised it, he continued painting anyway and showed at the Salon de la Refuse, Paris’s alternative exhibit for the art that was not accepted into the the mainstream shows.
Living a full life, Rousseau married once in 1868 to his landlord’s 15 year old daughter. They had 6 children together but only 1 son survived before she died in 1888. He remarried 1898. After a full and prolific life, Rousseau died unfortunately penniless at 66 from a blood clot after surgery for gangrene of his leg. He was buried in an unmarked grave and almost to be forgotton at the time of his death -only 7 people attended his funeral. As time passed however, his work gained recognition and in 1912, his body was intered in a proper grave paid by Picasso and his friends to include a huge tombstone engraved with an epitah by the poet, Guillaume Apollinaire. In 1947, his body and tombstone were moved again to Laval Park, in the city of his birthplace.
We salute you Gentle Rousseau you can hear us. Delaunay, his wife, Monsieur Queval and myself. Let our luggage pass duty free though the gates of heaven. We will bring you brushes paints and canvas. That you may spend your sacred leisure in the light and Truth of Painting. As you once did my portrait facing the stars, lion and the gypsy.
I sold a very old painting from my Cannibal Series made over 10 years ago! This series did not sell well at first but over the years it’s garnered a cult like following, selling one or two every few years. In the process of actually selling 3 more right now but more on that later! It sold off my Etsy page: https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/LISANGART?ref=profile_header