To commission an Illustration, request samples or inquire about prints, please get in touch. Thanks for visiting!
905 379 1688
All images © copyright
Jacqui Oakley 2013
I’m happy to be participating again in the next La Carnita / HXfour art event DOS where I’ll be showing art alongside a lot of talented folks (see the great line-up below). If the art isn’t enough they’ll be four battling DJ’s and two battling Mexican restaurants Big Star (Chicago, USA) and La Carnita (Toronto, Canada). It should be a fun night filled with great art, music and tacos at Toronto’s Evergreen Brick Works, a 15,000 sq foot warehouse.
Last year’s UNO show was crazy. It ended up drawing a massive crowd of 3000 people to the old factory located in Toronto’s Don Valley. This year should be even better. Here’s my post with shots from last year’s UNO.
I’ll be partnered with my husband Jamie Lawson (from Poly) and we’ll be focusing on the emphasis of Jaguars in South American mythology. Here’s a sneak peek & cropped version of our 3 ft x 3ft paintings. We’re really excited to see how these will look in person side by side.
Here’s a little sketch so far, but this time we’ll be going a a lot bigger with large painted canvases and maybe even a cardboard mask…. Stay tuned for more process shots on my Instagram.
A sneak peek at the Jaguar paper mask I made for the show.
Here’s some reference material that got us excited about this subject including Jaguars found in Mayan art. Directly below is the image of the Mayan Lord Bird Jaguar.
Below is Yaxchilan lintel 25, Maya, Late Classic period (AD 600-900) from Yaxchilán, Mexico now in the British Museum.
Lady Xook, on the bottom right of the panel, is in the hallucinatory stage of the bloodletting ritual. She conjures before her a vision of a Teotihuacan serpent. Some scholars suggest that the serpent on this lintel, and elsewhere, are depictions of an ancestral spirit or founder of the kingdom. The identity of the figure coming out of the serpent’s jaws is ambiguous. The inscription names the protagonist as Shield Jaguar II.
As it happens Mayan motifs were popular in Soviet times in Russia. Who knew? Here’s some examples of these beautiful cards. Many more can be found on the site, English Russia.
After UNO comes DOS, an evening of collaboration in art, music and food. Goes down Friday,
July 19th at Evergreen Brickworks and tickets on sale June 1st. Stay tuned for more details and
see below for the full line-up.
Mike Giant (San Francisco, USA) -vs- Tom Gilmour (London, UK)
Sam Flores (San Francisco, USA) -vs- Joseph Martinez (Denver, USA)
Zach Johnsen (Portland, USA) -vs- Johnny Crap (Montreal, Canada)
Joshua Davis (New York, USA) -vs- Chuck Anderson (Chicago, USA)
Faith47 (Cape Town, South Africa) -vs- DALeast (Beijing, China)
Eduardo Bertone (Madrid, Spain) -vs- Doublenaut (Toronto, Canada)
Dubelyoo (Atlanta, USA) -vs- Gene Pendon (Montreal, Canada)
Bryan Espiritu (Toronto, Canada) -vs- Hydro 74 (Orlando, USA)
Matt Barnes (Toronto, Canada) -vs- David Glantz (Toronto, Canada)
Eric Quebral (Muskoka, Canada) -vs- Rcade (Toronto, Canada)
Taka Sudo (Vancouver, Canada) -vs- Graham Curran (Los Angeles, USA)
Ben Tour (Vancouver, Canada) -vs- Vladimir Kato (Toronto, Canada)
Kwest (Toronto, Canada) -vs- Bacon (Toronto, Canada)
Skam (Toronto, Canada) -vs- Peru143 (Toronto, Canada)
Chase Tafoya (Los Angeles, USA) -vs- Dresden The Barbarian (Los Angeles, USA)
Che Kothari (Toronto, Canada) -vs- Nick Simhoni (Toronto, Canada)
Jacqui Oakley (Hamilton, Canada) -vs- Jamie Lawson (Hamilton, Canada)
Andy Kittmer (Muskoka, Canada) -vs- Angie Fey (Toronto, Canada)
Matt Darling (Toronto, Canada) -vs- Nancy Rose (Toronto, Canada)
Shingo Shimizu (Toronto, Canada) -vs- Carson Ting (Vancouver, Canada)
Hope to see you out!
I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to be asked to do this job by Cassidy Zobl the Art Director at Hour Detroit. It’s always great working with them and it’s wonderful to have an opportunity to do a cover inspired by the Farmer’s Almanac, garden gnomes, topiary and flowers. It’s like they read my mind.
Here is the Farmer’s Almanac cover from 1902 that I was asked to work from. It’s a beauty isn’t it? I’ve definitely learned a thing or two working from its gorgeous detail.
Here’s the linear I sent to the art director. As you can see I’ve squashed some of the elements of the Almanac design to allow room for the title and the different illustrative elements I planned to add.
Here’s the start of the rather long but fun inking process. I used a very very fine brush and ink for this and went through a lot of podcasts.
The cover is filled with hints to the stories inside including topiary hairstyles, baseball and gardening.
Nearing the end of my night’s work. I think I was hallucinating gnomes at this point.
The next step was to add colour! I scanned in my inked page and then started adding in painted textures, making sure to focus on greens. The line-work I changed to greens and browns, bumping up the contrast in some important focal areas. Then a sprinkling of some warmer colours to add some contrast and further emphasize the green. Here’s a breakdown of some of the colour layers….
….and here’s the final version with the very green background. Hour wanted the cover to look super green, so it was a welcome challenge to not add all the colour I usually do but to still create some focal points amongst the intricate detail.
I went a bit crazy on the detail on this piece, which I have a tendency to do, adding all sorts of little elements that probably no one else will notice but that I enjoyed.
Not sure what the weather is like in your neck of the woods but around the Toronto area it’s still cruelly clinging to Winter. We’ve had a few tempting peeks at Spring which has been enough to get me excited to start working on our new garden. It’ll be the first growing season we’ve had in our new house and I can’t wait to see what we’re going to do with the yard. It’s pretty barren now, but in a few months I’m sure it’ll be as green as this image….. hopefully!
Another Season Opener is upon us. On April 3rd Garrison Baseball Bat Company will be holding another Season Opener art show at Toronto’s Steam Whistle Brewery and I’m happy to be one of the 31 artists participating. There are many exciting events happening and even a live performance from The Beverleys! Garrison Baseball Bat Company will also be raffling off one of their hand crafted bats signed by the Toronto Blue Jays with all proceeds going to the Jays Care Foundation. Hope to see some of you out.
As with the last show at Smash Gallery in the Fall, each artist has been given a beautifully crafted wooden Garrison Baseball Bat to do with as we please. It’s going to be fun seeing what everyone has come up with. Since I had such fun with the cardboard Monkey Totem at the last show I decide to do yet another sculpture. Here’s the start of it…
Here’s the brilliant line-up of artists for the show. The talented Darren Booth will also be showing again. It’s great to still be in art shows with art college friends.
Here’s a little more info about Garrison Baseball Bat Company: founded in 2012 by Dave Murray, C.R. Fieldhouse, and Ryan Christiani, Garrison Creek Bat Company combines style and design with a quality, handmade aesthetic. This distinctly Toronto trio have teamed up to create uniquely crafted bats that boast simple, elegant design, and beautiful presentation.
If you’re curious about the great art from the last show, here’s my blog post about it here. Everyone did such an amazing job, and what variety from baseball bat weapons, to sprinkles, to old-timey carnival strength testers! I’m sure this time will be even better. Hope to see you out Wednesday April 3rd! I guess I better get sculpting that cardboard.
Last year I was asked by Ryan Cox to contribute to a book filled with his poetry about the musicians he loves, A Circus Mind. Since I was asked to paint Elvis and Paul McCartney I jumped at the chance, especially since I got to work with a bunch of talented artists: Elissa Parente, Andy Potts, Julia Minamata, Samone Murphy, & Zela Lobb and my friend and one of the talented illustrators, Dushan Milic was the designer of the book. Everyone did a beautiful job and I was so excited to have the book delivered to me this week.
My first illustration was about the urban legend suggesting that Paul McCartney died in 1966 and was secretly replaced by a look-alike. For more about this legend check out this link. So I illustrated a sad confused looking Paul in his coffin surrounded by hints of his demise and the use of his doppelganger. I love the hilarious side note that the Beatles started resenting the fake Paul and nicknamed him “Faul”.
Alan Parson, engineer of The Beatles “White Album”, claimed that he created the phase “turn me on dead man”, which can be heard when playback “number 9″ from “Revolution 9″ in reverse direction. But John Lennon, who created Revolution 9 said that the “Number 9″ was just an engineer’s testing tape with a voice saying “This is EMI Test Series Number 9″. Believers of this “Paul is Dead” conspiracy believe that this hints to poor Paul’s death.
Another one of these hints to Paul’s death is visual clues on the Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover. If a mirror is placed horizontally across the middle of the Sgt Pepper bass drum, bisecting the words ‘Lonely hearts’, the phrase “I ONE IX HE DIE” can be seen. This was taken to mean “11 9 HE DIE”, a reference to the supposed date of the ‘real’ Paul’s death, 9 November. Another interpretation of this is that “1 ONE 1″ represents the three other Beatles, and the X represents the dead McCartney. A diamond symbol between HE and DIE points upwards to McCartney. Surely there must have been easier ways to suggest this wicked ruse? Just reading about it is exhausting.
In an edition of Life magazine dated 7 November 1969, McCartney reassured fans that “Rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated,” paraphrasing Mark Twain. “However,” he continued, “if I was dead, I’m sure I’d be the last to know.”
Here are my linears for Elvis and Paul. With Paul’s concept I was toying with the idea of adding even more symbols in the flowers that relate to the controversy of his supposed death as you can see from those wee pics I pasted in amongst the lilies. At the end I though this was a bit too much, although it would have been fun to paint doll and a walrus head.
He’s the process for chubby Elvis. It was actually really hard to do a portrait of Elvis in his last days. He really didn’t look like himself at all so I had to merge a bit of the younger Elvis with some extra flesh and a disheartened look. As usual with portraits I print out multiple images from the web and combine them so I understand the structure of the face and at the end the illustration has a more unique look. For me, the most important aspect of this portrait was for his eyes to communicate a subtle weariness over his life.
At some point my Elvis was looking a bit too much like a sultry Bollywood star with his dark locks, his long eyelashes and seductive eyes, but I think I turned him around. Phew! There’s a lot of pressure to paint “the King”. Here’s some of the process:
My Paul McCartney:
Dushan Milic’s portrait of Rick Rubin has to be my favourite. Such good colours and just look at that magnificent beard!
Elissa Parente has tons of work in the book including this fabulous Bob Dylan piece. Her loose painterly style is so expressive.
and my chubby Elvis:
As I mentioned before there are tons of great images in this book, check out all the illustrators’ sites for more sneak peaks and be sure to buy a copy of The Circus Mind here. Thanks so much to Dushan and Ryan Cox for having me on this project. It turned out so great.
Last week I got a call from Minh Uong for a job for the New York Times about an issue that I’m sure we’re all well aware of: email overload. This piece written by Jenna Wortham did a great job at encapsulating how email has overwhelmed our lives. Appropriately, it’s actually been difficult for me to finish writing this post since I keep having to reply to new email messages! Not that I’m ungrateful for all the correspondence I have been getting lately, but it is hard to figure out an email system that works.
IN the not-so-distant past, the chipper AOL sound of “You’ve got mail!” filled me with giddiness and glee. I would eagerly check my in-box, excited to see what message had arrived. Those days are long gone. Now, when I examine my various e-mail accounts, my main emotion is dread.
“It’s not the quantity of e-mails that get us into trouble,” Mr. Lyman says. “It’s the ones that require us to slow down, find the file, compose a great e-mail back. Humans only have a certain level of information processing. We get overloaded.”
This piece was inked by hand as you can see in the photo below (please don’t judge my terrible finger nails), afterwhich it was scanned, tweaked and then coloured digitally using scanned-in paint textures.
Here are the three linears I sent to Minh. Of course it’s the New York Times so the deadlines are quick. I got a call Wednesday night, then sent linears Thursday, taught at OCAD and then came home to do the final illustration to get it on on Friday before the big snow storm hit NYC. Luckily I had a fun time with this one since the water was so fun to ink and so staying up late working with an audio book to keep me company was good.
Usually publications want your run-of-the-mill basic white male business man in their illustrations and any time I’ve tried to veer from this obnoxious stereotype I get pulled back. I was pleasantly surprised that the art director Minh suggested to make the main character into an African-American woman, namely the article’s beautiful writer Jenna Wortham. It is a tiny little portrait so it was hard to get the facial features just right, but hopefully I’ve captured a little bit of Jenna and she gets a kick out of the scenario I’ve put her in. Maybe it will even provide a little boost to help her overcome the email deluge. Below you can see the tweaks I did before I moved onto the final.
The article does end on a positive note, highlighting all the coming options to help us cope with the flood. It seems our etiquette about email has to catch up the reality of the situation. I’m really excited about programs like Mailbox which will allow us to sort through our emails in a more efficient manner and even set alarms on when to respond to certain ones. Such a simple solution that it’s shocking this hasn’t been implemented yet.
Anyway, I best be getting back to work, and responding to emails. Sigh…