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I’m excited to announce that I’ll be doing my very first Hamilton solo show at De Facto at Mulberry (193 James Street South, Hamilton) in a few weeks. The opening night for this show will be the day before the Hamilton Art Crawl, Thursday December 13th, so we can beat the crowds. It will run from 7pm-11pm. Hope you can make it out!

Bestiary - Jacqui Oakley's art exhibit

Bestiary: A compendium of curious creatures, alive; dead & in-between, portrayed in paint to captivate & cultivate.

Jacqui Oakley’s work pairs loose ink brushstrokes with explosive colour combos, and intricate detail. See a collection of her illustration and art work from the past few years opening at De Facto at Mulberry on Thursday December 13th and running through to mid-February. Large limited prints and smaller 8×10″ prints will be available for sale.

Snow Leopard - mask by Jacqui Oakley

Thanks to Jamie Lawson at Poly for doing this lovely poster design and for Oliver and Ella in setting up this event. Here’s the Facebook event page. I think it’ll be a fun night.



Fall Classic Art Show Photos November 8th, 2012

At the end of October I was happy to be one of the artists invited to contribute to Garrison Creek Bat Co.’s Fall Classic art show at SMASH, Toronto. This show was a bit out of the ordinary, with each artist given our own handcrafted wooden baseball bat from Garrison Creek to do with as we please. The results from everyone covered a huge range from carnivalesque strength tester bats to bat weapons, and the media was just as weirdly varied with ball point pen, Swarovski crystals, cardboard and even sprinkles giving a good show. It was great to see the variety and get together with a bunch of talented friends from my old art college.

Fall Classic Bat Show - Monkey Totem by Jacqui Oakley

Garrison Creek Bat Company was founded in 2012 by Dave Murray, C.R. Fieldhouse and Ryan Christian. They were also the ones to get all the artists together and put on a such great event – thanks guys! If you are a baseball fan be sure to check them out. Their uniquely crafted wooden bats combine style and design with a quality, handmade aesthetic. They are quite beautiful.

Of course how could you have a baseball bat show without balls. Thank God Erin McCutcheon was around to make a huge pile of beautiful porcelain baseballs with which one could work out their frustrations in the “Strike Zone”  a hand-chalked target that participants could chuck a ball at). Loud fun times were had by all especially my friend Meg shown in full action below. Below that is Jamie Lawson being framed by his bat colourful bat “Lucille” and Darren Booth’s hand-lettered, “Glory & Consequence”. Next we have Dushan Milic’s hilarious sprinkle covered “Pocky #12″ (don’t lick it, it’s covered in glue) and Irma Kniivila’s “untitled” zombie battle artwork. It’s a good call to keep a bat around for just such an emergency. Lastly, the very inventive and “love tester” style arcade game “Batter’s Box” by Darryl Graham.  This fella actually worked and there was many a sad face after getting pegged as “noodle-arms”.

Fall Classic - Art by Darren Booth and Jamie Lawson

Fall Classic Art Show - Jacqui Oakley Illustration

Here’s some great photos of the crowds that night at Smash by Julia Breckenreid. Thanks Julia! She has a great blog post about it to so be sure to check it out. Below the crowds we have a Dave and Erin manning the ever important drink table. Below that we have Julia Breckenreid‘s, “Keep Your Eye on the Ball” a great piece were she turned her bat into a moveable fragmented sculpture. So fun to play with, but really striking looking too and framed nicely by Erin McPhee‘s, “The Beer & Whiskey League” prints.

Fall Classic Bat Show - Jacqui Oakley Illustration

Fall Classic Bat Show - Jacqui Oakley Illustration

Above: the lovely detail in Jon Todd’s “The Garden” with its wonderful lizard and Bryce Huffman’s doom laden piece, “The Deep”. Then we have Dave Murray’s Raccoon print and Pete Ryan’s screen printed bat with its donkey and bear baseball players. Just lovely work and I have no clue how you screen print a baseball bat.

The night was surrounded by amazing salvaged furniture and elk heads. This chap really added to the atmosphere.

Fall Classic Bat Show - Jacqui Oakley Illustration

Fall Classic Bat Show - Jacqui Oakley Illustration

Art above by Joe Morse “The Bat Speaks for Itself” which was all drawn in ball point pen. Crazy. Joe’s work is always astounding. I still remember how inspiring his life drawing classes were at Sheridan Collage.

Below here’s some shots of my bat, “Monkey Totem” which was made with cardboard a lot of glue gunning and then painted. It was really great to have an opportunity to do something so different. Hope you like it. I will do a proper post about the process for it soon.

Fall Classic Show - Monkey Totem art by Jacqui Oakley

Fall Classic Show - Monkey Totem art by Jacqui Oakley

Here’s a list of all the great artists in the show. Sorry that I didn’t get pics to show of everyone’s work but you can check out their website’s listed below:

Rob Baytor http://robbaytor.tumblr.com/   Alex Bierk http://alexbierk.tumblr.com/
Darren Booth www.darrenbooth.com   Julia Breckenreid www.breckenreid.com
Graeme Cameron www.basecampx.com   Sandra Dionisi www.sandradionisi.com
C.R. Fieldhouse http://fieldhouse.wordpress.com/  Jeff Garcia www.mangopeeler.ca
Leslie Gauthier http://lesliebot.blogspot.com/  Darryl Graham www.darrylgraham.com
Patrick Gray www.grayillustration.com   Adam Hilborn www.pkartdept.com
Bryce Huffman www.brycehuffman.com   Irma Kniivila http://kniivila.tumblr.com/
Jamie Lawson http://blog.jamielawsonart.com/   Erin McCutcheon www.erinmccutcheon.com
Erin McPhee www.erinmcphee.com   Dushan Milic www.dushanmilic.com   Joe Morse www.joemorse.com
Dave Murray www.davemurrayillustration.com   Pete Ryan www.peterthomasryan.com   Jon Todd www.jontodd.ca


Fall Classic Bat Show - Jacqui Oakley Illustration

Thanks to Garrison Creek Bat Co. and Dave Murray for all their work and to SMASH for letting us take over their space. Thanks for all of you who came out. It was such a fun night. I think there’ll be another show coming up in the spring so look out for it. I want this bison head.


Happy to be part of this show coming up in one week! Each artist has been given a beautifully crafted wooden Garrison Baseball Bat to do with as we please (scroll down for a little tease of my piece). Can’t wait to see the results.

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.

Garrison Baseball Bat Company would love for you to join them to help celebrate the spirit of the season at “Fall Classic”, their second art show – hosted at SMASH (2880 Dundas St. W, Toronto). Hope to see you there!

Fall Classic Art Show - Jacqui Oakley Illustration

I decided to use this opportunity to experiment with something different for the show. So, here’s the start of my monkey cardboard sculpture. It’s been a blast to do so far. Next step is paint. Wish me luck!

Monkey Masks - art by Jacqui Oakley

Monkey mask - art by Jacqui Oakley

They’ve drafted an absolute all-star team for this show. Can’t wait to see their brilliant work.

Rob Baytor http://robbaytor.tumblr.com/
Alex Bierk http://alexbierk.tumblr.com/
Darren Booth www.darrenbooth.com
Julia Breckenreid www.breckenreid.com
Graeme Cameron www.basecampx.com
Sandra Dionisi www.sandradionisi.com
C.R. Fieldhouse http://fieldhouse.wordpress.com/
Jeff Garcia www.mangopeeler.ca
Leslie Gauthier http://lesliebot.blogspot.com/
Darryl Graham www.darrylgraham.com
Patrick Gray www.grayillustration.com
Adam Hilborn www.pkartdept.com
Bryce Huffman www.brycehuffman.com
Irma Kniivila http://kniivila.tumblr.com/
Jamie Lawson http://blog.jamielawsonart.com/
Erin McCutcheon www.erinmccutcheon.com
Kagan McLeod www.kaganmcleod.com
Erin McPhee www.erinmcphee.com
Dushan Milic www.dushanmilic.com
Joe Morse www.joemorse.com
Dave Murray www.davemurrayillustration.com
Jacqui Oakley www.jacquioakley.com
Pete Ryan www.peterthomasryan.com
Jon Todd www.jontodd.ca

Should be a fun night. Hope to see you out!

If you’re in Toronto and especially if you have children, please drop by for our book launch, Thursday October 18, 6:30-8:00pm. Myself and the writer Catherine Rodina will be there along with tons of activities including face painting, lantern-making, henna and more. It should be fun. I can’t wait to see how the kids like it!

The event is: Thursday, October 18, 6:30-8:00pm, Toronto Public Library, York Woods Branch, 1785 Finch Ave. West, Toronto.

Lighting Our World - Toronto book launch

Here’s a few more images from the book from the Swedish holiday of Walpurgis & India’s colourful Diwali. I will have some of the original paintings on display at the event and I’m so excited to finally show this work.

Walpurgis - Lighting Our World (Kids Can Press) - illustrations by Jacqui Oakley

Walpurgis Night (Valborg) is a traditional April holiday which welcomes Spring and is celebrated in Sweden, Finland, Germany, Czech Republic & Estonia. Bonfires are lit to scare away predators from cattle but also to frighten away supposed evil spirits. The holiday takes place exactly six months from All Hallow’s Eve and is originally from Germany and brought to countries like Sweden in the 18th century. The night originally stood for the gathering and meeting of witches and now people still dress up as witches to wander the streets in a carnival-like mood. I’m down with any festival were one gets to dress up and hang around big bonfires.

Lighting Our World (Kids Can Press)- art by Jacqui Oakley

Walpurgis - Lighting Our World (Kids Can Press) - illustrations by Jacqui Oakley

Lighting Our World - sketches by Jacqui Oakley

Here is Diwali which is India’s biggest and most important holiday of the year. The festival gets its name from the row of clay lamps that Indians light outside their homes to symbolize inner light. Indians celebrate with family gatherings, glittering clay lamps, festive fireworks, strings of electric lights, bonfires, flowers, sharing of sweets, and worship to Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, luck & happiness. Some believe that Lakshmi wanders the Earth looking for homes where she will be welcomed. On this night people open their doors and windows and light lamps to invite Lakshmi in.

Much more about this and the other beautiful holidays are mentioned in Lighting Our World by Kids Can Press which you can get find in book stores and online now. I hope some of your children enjoy it. I really wanted to try and create the atmosphere of books I loved reading as a kid.

Diwali - Lighting Our World - art by Jacqui Oakley

Lighting Our World (Kids Can Press) - illustrations by Jacqui Oakley

Catherine Rodina has done a lovely job describing all the variety that can be found in these colourful festivals around the world. Check out her website to see more of her wonderful kids books and please come out October 18, meet both of us, see the art, make some lanterns and eat some candy! Should be a fun evening.

If you want a sneak peak of more of the book there are more posts on my blog here and here.

UNO Show Wrap-Up June 14th, 2012

I’ve been busy with work lately and I’ve been lax in posting about the UNO show. It was a crazy art event I was involved in on April 13th which included DJs, tacos and a great rooster of artists including: Mike Giant, Sam Flores, Greg Lamarche, Hydro 74, Johnny Crap, Dubelyoo, Abe Lincoln Jr, Misk, Doublenaut, Dave Glantz, Matt Barnes, Shingo Shimizu, Rcade, Vlad Hato, Bryan Espiritu, Tavis Coburn, Amber J, Angie Fey, Brian Mendoza, & Matt Darling. The event took place in the 5,000 sq foot Evergreen Brick Works warehouse, and was put on by La Carnita and HXfour. It ended up drawing a massive crowd of 3000 people to the old factory located in Toronto’s Don Valley.

Above: photo by Stella from Food Junkie.

Above: Jamie Lawson, Carolyn Veldstra and myself. Nice to have tough as nails friends to brave the insane ravenous hordes. Below is a great video of the night by iNews Toronto. As you can see it was crazy!

The theme of the show was Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) which is primarily a Mexican holiday that focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for, remember and pay homage to people who have died. I wanted to be respectful to this culture and not do something gimmicky, so I choose to focus on the holiday’s altars or ofrendas (offerings) that celebrate the life of the person through objects they loved, such as musical instruments, photos, and toys. These shrines are also decorated with favourite food dishes and drinks of the dearly departed. The intent is to encourage visits by the souls, so the souls will hear the prayers and the comments of the living directed to them. I really appreciate the concept of this holiday. The idea of remembering and joyfully celebrating a loved one’s life each year is such a wonderful idea, not to mention visually stunning, and I hope to see it in person one day.

These altars also include flowers: orange Mexican marigolds (Tagetes erecta) called cempasúchil (originally named cempoaxochitl) originally connected to the original Aztec holiday and are thought to attract souls of the dead to the offerings. You can see these in my paintings were I’ve shown a twist on the original celebration by showing altars for dearly departed pets and all the food and memorabilia attached to the missed creature. Also, animal skulls are just so fascinating to draw with such a variety of shapes and sizes. So below we start with the horse. I’ll post process shots of these painting soon. A big thanks to Hector Herrera was help with the Mexican translations (make sure you check out his animation work).

Above: Ofrenda a un Caballo (Horse)
acrylic paint & Ink
Image 21.5 x 14.5” (frame 30.5 x 22.5”)

Above: Ofrenda a un Chihuahueño (Chihuahua Dog)
acrylic paint & Ink
Image 11 x 15 (frame 19 x 23”)

Above: Ofrenda a un Gato (Cat)
acrylic paint & Ink
Image 9.5 x 7.5 “(frame 14.5 x 12.5”)

Here’s a piece done for La Carnita a few months back which shows a Day of the Dead skull decorated with the food used in the tacos. What’s not to love about a delicious head of avocado, peppers and of course meat roses? Nice to be able to show the original painting of this at the show too.

Above: La Carnita
acrylic paint & Ink
Image 8 x 11” (frame 13.5 x 17.25”)

Above: Photo by Ivan Kostynyk who has some pretty great work himself. Check out his lettering here . First skull on the left is by Chris Barrett

Above: Zombie Kim Jong Il by Shingo Shimizu and myself and my dear dancing friend Sandy Watters.

Photos above by Sue Holland . Art by Hydro 74 and Doublenaut. Amazing to see the old brick ovens still scattered throughout the building.

Art by Mike Giant, and Tavis Coburn

Thanks to Andrew Richmond from La Carnita and Clay Rochemont HXfour for putting on the event!