Angela Carlsen’s Retro Americana Art

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Angela Carlsen, “Boulevard Drive In”

If you take creative photography, neon signs and other roadside kitsch and mix them together with a retro-pop art sensibility, for me that’s a winning formula and is the approach taken by Nova Scotia-based artist, Angela Carlsen with her artwork.   Much of her recent mixed media art focuses on bygone Americana as a result of her road trips over the last few years through the American West.   Vanishing roadside relics, such as those depicted in this sampling, comprise a significant part of both the Canadian and America car cultures, and her work serves as a fitting artistic bridge between them.

You can see more of her retro art at Carlsen’s artist site here.  She’s also represented by Argyle Fine Art in Halifax.

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Angela Carlsen, “Copper Manor Motel”

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Angela Carlsen, “Fresh Donuts”

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Angela Carlsen, “Supai Motel”

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Angela Carlsen, “Four Winds Motel”

Related posts on O’Canada:

Artist to Appreciate: Katharine Burns

Artist Appreciation: Andrew Horne

Vintage Quebec: Helen’s Motel

— Acadia Theatre’s Classic Neon Splendor!

Annapolis Royal Through Its Signs

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Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, is a charming community whose vibrancy is hinted at by the variety of colorful shop signs and other markers found along the town’s main street.  This sampling — I know I missed a few (my apologies) — suggests as much.

Acadia Theatre’s Classic Neon Splendor!

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I like vintage signs a great deal, especially classic neon displays that have been well preserved.  These shots taken yesterday show The Acadia Theatre in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, which is graced with a magnificent masterpiece of neon and signage art above its entryway.   The triangular sign juts out from the building’s facade with “ACADIA” in bright yellow on two sides and white and yellow neon accent lines all around and a bold neon yellow star encircled atop the front.

Built in 1911, this Annapolis Valley theatre has been through several incarnations and now houses a cinema and stage for community theatre (the Al Whittle Theatre), a film society (the FundyFilm Society), a local coffee shop / cafe (Just Us!) and an art gallery (Jack’s Gallery).  More info can be obtained at the Acadia’s site here.

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Some other posts about signs on O’Canada:

∗ Love These Vintage Neon and Bulb Signs!

∗ Artist Appreciation: Andrew Horne

∗ On the Street Toronto: Fun & Unusual Signs

∗ “Mel’s Tearoom” – Finished

“Mel’s Tearoom” — Finished

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Brett Lockwood, “Mel’s Tearoom, Sackville, N.B. (2015)

(Acrylic on Board, 32″x 48″)

In the recent past I’ve not picked up my paintbrushes as often as I’ve used my ever-dependable Nikon.  But something about the vintage neon sign hanging outside the Mel’s Tearoom diner in  Sackville, New Brunswick and the photo (below) that I snapped of it a while back (earlier post here) inspired me to translate that image onto canvas — with some usual artistic license along the way. Perhaps seeing Toronto artist Andrew Horne’s marvelous takes on classic signage from bygone eras both online and at his Flying Pony gallery in Toronto contributed as well.  In any event, the result is above (photo is a bit crooked), which I’ve happily finished and wrapped with a handmade floating frame.  Efforts at painting like this are good meditative exercises and always enhance my appreciation for the skill and creative expressions of professional artists.

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Inspiration Photo for Painting

Love These Vintage Neon and Bulb Signs!

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Mixed in among modern urban streetscapes, the look and feel of the rare classic neon and bulb-lit signs are distinctive. I spied these in Toronto and one in New Brunswick (the fabulous sign for Mel’s Tea Room!), which happily stand the test of time.

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Artist Appreciation: Andrew Horne

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 Andrew Horne, Pegasus Unicorn

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The serendipity afforded by the Web still amazes me at times and I love it when it allows me to stumble upon something of pure goodness, as I recently did when I came across the fantastically hip visual art of Toronto-based artist, Andrew Horne.  His “typographic paintings”, in particular, are excellent.  Most of these vivid pieces play around with classic signage and exhibit elements of studied photo-realism, pop-art irony and downright aesthetic gorgeousness.  Above and below is a sampling of Horne’s clever work, more of which can be found at his artist website here.

(Horne also has an entrepreneurial streak, which he channels by operating the very cool Flying Pony Gallery and Cafe in the Little India area of Toronto.)

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A. Horne, Victory Bar2

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A. Horne, Renee's Salon Of Beauty2

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A. Horne, 419 Salutations

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Other similar posts on O’Canada:

•  Artist to Appreciate:  Michael E. Glover

•  Sean Yelland’s “Distant” and “Stop Everything”

•  Artist to Appreciate:  Christopher Walker

•  Montreal As Muse for Jeremy Price

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