‘I love the third world influence in your art.’-Drake

When people are sleeping, we are working.

After working a late night in the studio, who would have expected I’d be chilling with Drake and 40?!?!??! After getting a message from Drizzy that he wanted my new Aaliyah Kaleidoscope T-Shirt, I booted over on my psych bike. We talked shop about music, art, Toronto & Aaliyah. Its so inspirational to know they are homegrown Toronto talent, and its even better that they’re really chill, humble dudes too. Love for Aaliyah.

Aboriginal Stylin’

I have been leading a series of screen printing workshops for Aboriginal youth funded by the Ontario Arts Council. Most of the students are artists in the age range of 18-26 years old and some of them are also heavily involved in their communities. Lyndy and Leslie brought in some of the traditional textiles and I was blown away by the patterning and colours. There is a pow-wow this Saturday at Dufferin Grove in Toronto and some of them will be dancing, go check them out.

Cruisin’ on my Scraper Bike
Riding round town on my bike on the weekend a couple dudes playing baseball yelled at me with a ‘ruhspectful’ tone, ‘YO! SCRAPER BIKE!’ I decided to google what they just called me for validation that it wasn’t an insult about me and my trusty steed.

Low and behold, looks like I gotta get my wheels to Oakland and show ’em how we do at the Village! DIY cats in all the boroughs worldwide.

A village inside a village

I am often humbled by thoughts of the Philippines with its many islands and different villages, and my family there. I think its very important for people to experience a third world nation first hand, it will change your life.

On my last trip to the Philippines I was enamored by the shanty infrastructure under highways and seeing people live with so little resources. I wondered, ‘How, the hell, do people survive here?’

I smile most thinking of things I enjoyed spending the most time doing. Harvesting, cooking and eating together. Slaughtering a pig in celebration to feed many mouths. Drinking whiskey on a porch and hearing my elders tell their stories into the night. Sleeping together on the same bamboo mat and waking up to the sound of cocking chickens. The loud and colourful street festivals, textures of the ‘palinki’ or maketplace, and the diverse tropicala landscape. Visiting witchdoctors, old churches, and the belief in something higher. And the mangos, oh the mmmmmmangos.

I realized the things I enjoyed most are the things that made it worth surviving. In many ways, ‘third world countries’ are far ahead of us. They do not make a lot of money, but they make a lot of time for each other. They are deep rooted in family life, anchored in the past and moving forward together.

When I traveled through the clustered, ‘mix-mixed’ Philippines in ’08 I was, pardon the cliché, looking for something. The cultural collage of the Philippines and the ingenious ways of my people re-ignited my fierce ‘make-something-out-of-nothing’ commitment. It has fueled new collaborations with students and close friends from different backgrounds. Mixing or collage is more than just a physical act for me, my belief in ‘Halo-Halo’ (not just a psychedelic looking dessert but also translates into ‘mix-mix’) is what drives my practice.

So we’ve been building a little village of our own in this damn expensive city. Our new ‘studio’ (I use this term very loosely as my ‘studio’ is wherever I am) has been a total impulse factory working with dear friends and contemporaries and has been built by keeping our noses to the dirty, littered sidewalk. I used to think I found stuff, I’m beginning to think it just finds me.

Halo Halo Garden
What a great feeling to have a garden again. Turning the soil, watching it decay, feeling it grow again. Halo Halo Village has been a non-stop impulse factory since we moved in on April 1st. Its time to share with you what we have been harvesting.

I’ve always wanted a compost (‘Calmpost’) for my wide variety of detritus and now its finally come to fruition. We built it out of old screens since they should provide good air flow while still containing the odour. Thank you Stan for donating a bucket of worms and juicy compost, I have learned a lot about decay from you.

I just finished reading ‘The Last Season’ by the greatest basketball coach ever. Its alot about basketball and Buddhism and my favourite quote from it is:

24 Hour Loblaws
Survival Guide 101:
Listen, you’re an artist, you’re broke and you live near the Junction Triangle hood.

Secret: Everyday around 7:30-8pm at the Dupont and Christie Loblaws they start discounting all the pre made food at %50 off. Walk away with the steal, save your pennies and leave FULL.

Where the mango heart beats..
My footsteps have been in Mississauga, where I was born and raised- on a playground…. It was a productive place to grow up, because there is nothing to do but play, do creative things, have hobbies (breakdance and juvenile graffiti), and play ‘ball. Unless of course you were one of those guys that suped up their parents car, went cruising, and hung out in parking lots.

I find it peaceful walking around my old stomping grounds with my dog Mangoe, he’s getting a lot more white in his face. We are all getting older, but the mangos are still ripe…..