Monday, April 28, 2008


Just say you were walking by a house with a lion shaped "pas de circulaires" sign.
It is the one with the curtains always drawn shut tight, during the day, night, hot, cold.
Just say you peeked through the cracks, because you were that curious and who needs that much privacy?
This is what you would have seen.


I went to a Pop Montreal drawing gig party outside at a park on a St. Laurent corner. When I arrived someone said " You look like a princess", except they said it kind of mean, see? Like I thought I was great or something. I was sort of dressed up because I was going out later, maybe I was dressed in all white. I might have been going through a phase. I sat down and began to chat with Kit who I happen to think is hilarious and for some reason we got onto Osgoode Schlatter's disease. She'd never heard of it before. I told her the crazy story of when I was a kid living at 138 Digby road and I fell on toothpick left over from a marshmallow and toothpick art project I'd been storing in my closet. Anyway,s the toothpick went right into my knee and locked it at 90 degrees and my parents thought it was the Osgoode's disease which I had. I was trying to explain but they weren't listening and we ended up at the hospital. When the doctor took the toothpick out, my dad said "Why didn't you tell me? I would have taken it out at home." Here are some of the drawings we all did that Pop Montreal day, sipping breswkis in a drawing crew.


Here is David after he agreed to the I spy on You project,
(for more info see "The Contract").



It's a Sunday again.
I am looking out my 7th floor studio window at St. Catherine and Guy, drinking in the sights.
I can just barely see the river.
It reminds me of an L.S. Lowry painting.


Sometimes I get sick and tired and sick and tired of being original. At times like these I copy the drawings of famous people.
Here is my own Louise Bourgeois.
I transformed it into an etching.
You can see her drawing here.


Like a magpie
I am attracted to the same shiny things everyone else is.
One cold day I took my bike and explored the industrial architecture of Montreal.
There for the first time, I saw the flashing red sign.
A little later I came across the silo.


On St.Denis there is an antique store.
In the antique store, there are the usual and the unusual.
Old trucks seem to be popular here.
This one is on hold for me.


I've made a series of postcards.
The idea is that I leave them around the city addressed & with postage paid and see what happens.
They are in both French and English.
This was the first.

Here are the others:

There is no them. There is only us. Discuss.

Africa is not a country. Discuss.

Love letters for a city.

Love letters for anonymous people.

Questionnaire to solve your problems.
  • Do you get bored often? Yes No Maybe
  • Why?
  • Do you take exercise?
  • What is your dream life?
  • Are you living it?
  • If you are living it, how did you manage to pull it off?
  • If you are not living your dream, why not?
"I realized then, it was not enough in life to just wake up in the morning eat, talk, walk and go to sleep. Art and music were necessities. But they were not enough either. We needed new rituals, in order to keep our sanity." - Yoko Ono

I dare you to look someone you don't know very well in the eye for a minute. Describe the results.


The Great Figure

by William Carlos Williams

Among the rain
and lights
I saw a figure 5
in gold
on a red
moving tense
to gong clangs
siren howls
and wheels rumbling
through the dark city.

The illustration here was made thinking of this poem.
The city, the city
the lights, the smog, the noise
the people everywhere
the colour, the action.
It took me all day, 2 beers and some pizza ordered in.

Tuesday morning

Boxers training early, running by the train tracks.


I made a small sculpture consisting of 2 acrobat figures and a black chalkboard hand
and inserted it into my friend's studio to see what would happen.


Project: The Interview Spectacle
We went to a vegetarian restaurant on St.Denis.
We sat for a long long time doing an interview.
A big conspicuous microphone and a huge clunky cassette recorder.
I even wore a nametag and drank a lot of coffee.
I perfected the understanding nod, even as I was thinking about my grocery lists.
Ok, not true, I was really into the conversation.
We were talking about our friend Art.
I had typed up a list of questions to keep the conversation on track.
We held that big rockstar microphone between us to capture the vibrations into the cassette recorder.
We sat close, all huddled up, a defensive against the seeming, teeming normality around us.
We were there to eat and play.
At one point the conversation got really raunchy (you know how it does that sometimes) and a very unhappy older looking woman started glaring at us. But I think she was depressed, it might have been nothing.
We stopped for a while and I eavesdropped on her table. Her son was telling her nice things about herself, that people liked her and admired her.
I noticed she chewed her food unusually quickly.
At one point her son passed her her teeth in a serviette.
It reminded me of the first day I got my retainer.
My dad took me out for lunch to Cultures.
Super self-conscious, I wrapped my retainer in a napkin and put it on my tray.
Of course it was the first damn day I had the thing, so I forgot it.
Later I had to go back and pick up 2 huge garbage bags of cultures food.
I didn't find it.

I didn't find it.


This semester I carved a wooden rabbit. He has glow in the dark eyes and lots of glitter. His arms drag behind him and span at least 8 feet. Eventually he will be able to move by himself and deliver fortunes but for the minute all he has is a little sparkling LED heart, my promise to him of future glory. Right now if you look in the window of Casa Del Popolo you can see him peeking behind the posters and the plants.


I go to a noise concert at Casa Del Popolo.
This is what I see.


I am at school, looking out the window of the print studio on the 9th floor.
Below and on a diagonal I can see 2 men working on the engineering side of the EV Concordia building. They are completely absorbed in what they are doing and refuse to look up and out the window. I draw them in their vulnerability of being stared at and not knowing it.


It's another Wednesday and I am wandering home along St. Laurent.
I am very very hungry so I go into Copacabana because I remember eating there with my friends when I first came to Montreal. The kitchen is freaking shut. I order 2 bags of chips and a beer and start to draw so I can forget how hungry I am.

The bar is almost empty. A few men loiter around the pool table and I think of Gwendolyn Brooks' poem "We real cool"

We Real Cool

The Pool Players
Seven at the Golden Shovel

We real cool. We
Left school. We

Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We

Sing sin. We
Thin gin. We

Jazz June. We
Die soon.

Later the one with floppy hair that keeps falling into his eyes will come and talk to me. He's religious.


I am in a cafe again.
I am watching people.
I am enjoying them from afar.
I am by myself.
A proper derive is supposed to be done with others, but I like being by myself.
It feels easier to go on adventures, to remain open.
Maybe Guy Debord was a chicken, or maybe he was just practical.
It's safer in numbers.
Anyways, here I am alone during the day at a cafe with a sketchbook.
I'm listening for tidbits of conversations that can help me to write this loveletter to Montreal.
While I'm waiting for something to happen, I draw this girl.

Sunday 2a

Let me sit for a minute and consider how fragile human relationships are.

While I'm at it, I'll think about how helplessness is a charm.

This brings us to the contract.


O ya, my name is Anna.

Lie Number 3
I was born in 1938.
I remember myself in 1945.

I write myself.
I right myself.

The Billy in the note is Billy Wong, the dog with a mean underbite who lives en bas.

Friday: Just the Devil

I really like that word, but I can't say it. It gets stuck in my throat.

The picture here is a gorgeous light fixture that was floating above us in the cafe. For reasons that I won't go into, I was preventing myself from crying in public by staring at the light and sketching it with my little indian ink nib pen.


The story finds me on Duluth by a crossroad. It is cold outside, but the shops are open and warm and I am curious. I go into an antique store with a beautiful-wish-I-made-it wooden car with a bell. This is my kind of store. It is crowded with wooden things that are old and imperfect. There are too many things to look at. There are moving toys. I can't stop staring at one of the toys, so I draw it so I can own it a little. Maybe I will make it for myself later. It's definitely a toy to amuse adults I decide.

Wednesday: You Are What You Eat

Today I am peanut butter, coffee, tea, ice cream, whole wheat toast, boccocini salad, juice, cheddar cheese.

We sat in a cafe and talked.
I was trying to hustle an illustration gig drawing food, so I thought I'd practice a little.
I was a little rusty and tense and the food came out all unappealing looking.
Not good news for a cookbook, even if there's an NB.


This cat was blue.
This cat liked to be in several places at once.
This cat had golden eyes with golden pupils.
This cat was lean.
This cat had 3 friends.


Ok, let's begin.
Once upon a time there was a city.
Once upon a time there was a city covered in snow.
Once upon a time there was a city and in the city
was a,
was a,
was a,

The Introduction: Sunday

Let me tell you a story ok?
This is a story about a city and a walk. Sometimes, it is a story that doesn't even know how to tell itself, so it just keeps on talking.
But you have to trust this story.
You have to trust that this story has a point. You can feel it a little bit even when the story is frothing at the mouth insisting on spewing nonsense. Even then you can see that it's just an act. The story does this to hide itself, to remain modest, to check to see if you are really paying attention.