Archive for November, 2019

SUN INFINITY MOON Book Review

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Mark Seabrook is multifaceted with a tremendously creative spirit and a flair for storytelling, using the musical, visual and literary arts to carry forward his unique “voice”.  

SUN INFINITY MOON is the latest literary offering from Mark and is a collection of anecdotal accounts – years in the making – as told through an Anishnabe character named Sun, whom, along with all the others who make an appearance in this book is reportedly fictitious, existing, as Mark states in the foreword “wholly within the author’s imagination”…  ”Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, events or locals [sic] is entirely coincidental.”

For readers who may be familiar with Mark Seabrook’s life and works, the coincidental resemblances are pronounced and one finds it impossible to refrain from attempting to deduce what is real and what is imagined.  Perhaps that is precisely the way Mark intends it to be?

We begin with:  We found a pile of human bones on the floor of the tree house.  A pretty great opening line for book of stories!  There was no order to the way they were piled, it was all abstract expressionism, Jackson Pollock style […] It was that fuckin’ skull, upright, jaw missing, top teeth gnarling on the coarse floor boards, frontal and parietal blaring like a pair of brand new stripper shoes mailed in from L.A., that caught my attention.  At some point in time that was someone’s think tank.  Someone’s whole of everything was up there, everything they could imagine and cherish, childhood memories, first love, the nightmares, were stowed and secure in that brain case, which was now bone dry, on a floor.  Empty.  The maggots had cleaned house and run off.”  Mark’s phrasing and descriptors all throughout the book are marvellously evocative whether they are conveying Anishnabe angst or reflecting on non-native practices.

And there is A LOT of Anishnabe angst.  And anger.  And revengeful ravings.  Amidst the playful dark humour and erotic tales there is an unmistakable undercurrent of humans behaving badly.  Such non-edifying things I have trained myself to avoid – but as Mark is a friend and I was proud he had followed through on his goal of publishing this book, I thought it was important to give it a read and gain some understanding.  

Mark had a compelling desire to convey a “sick and disgusting story” (his words, private correspondence) without an editor’s assistance, for fear that any editing would perhaps make the stories less “his” and risk becoming adulterated by the influence of non-native manipulation.  Such close protectionism causes the book to suffer, however, and I understand a second printing is in the works, with some essential grammatical improvements that should not conflict with the telling of these tales.

Nevertheless, for all it’s disjointed recapitulations and errors, SUN INFINITY MOON is actually rich with layers of meaning, above and beyond the unpleasant disrespect the characters (both native and non-native) show for each other, for non-human creatures and for the environment.  The deepest layer Mark Seabrook crafts for readers is that a great wrong has been done to Anishnabe youth with lingering, festering wounds that continue to hinder mental wellness and self-actualization.  That dark layer of meaning is the type of wrong that occurs in all cultures, worldwide, and to this reviewer signals a psychological malfunction present within the human species itself.  It is a darkness that when illuminated by awareness, inspiration and inner discipline can be channeled into human constructs that ennoble, enrich and transform, allowing each of us to better discover our inherent talent and live up to our full potential.

If the intention of this book was to amuse and entertain while unveiling a host of deleterious behaviours and events, intermingling sweet memories with frightful ones, it has achieved that end.  It may have been cathartic for Mark Seabrook to write such a series of tales…future works will reflect that or not.  Within Mark’s character “Moon”, we see it is possible to develop awareness…perhaps in a future literary exploration, Mark can expand upon that and use his creative storytelling techniques to help humans transcend the species-wide affliction of destructive behaviours.  That would be a book I would be glad to recommend!

L.  Manitoulin Island

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Page 15, from “May 11, 1996”, SUN.  Sun Infinity Moon, by Mark Seabrook.

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Back cover:  Sun Infinity Moon, by Anishnabe artist and author: Mark Seabrook.

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Missing In Action, painted face masks, acrylic on canvas, 30×30 inches, by anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.  Private collection.

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Missing In Action, on display in Ottawa, 2014.

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Killed In Action, painted face mask and acrylic on canvas, 30×30 inches, by anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.  Private collection.  (On display in Ottawa, 2014)

Art Battle Tonight!

hey i was called up for tonight’s Art Battle here in Ottawa!  for those of you not in the know:  they give you a 16×20 inch canvas, acrylic paint, an easel and 20 minutes!  all you have to do as the artist is bring your own brushes and your own ideas!  i’ll tell you right now they have some pretty decent painters signing into this show, folks who can get it done fab style within those 20 measly minutes.  i am not one of them!  i can get it done in 20 but have never made it out of the first round.  maybe tonight is my night!

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that’s me back in April, thinking i had a great idea but nope!  (truth is: no matter how big the house i always come down with a serious case of the butterflies…   complete with shaking hands…  )

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that’s way back in 016, the Halloween version and big time NO GO to the 2nd round.

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in Ottawa on Friday night!

and that’s way back in 015, on my first visit to the AB, with NO DICE!

at any rate, it is a fun time, fun to be in with those other artists, and fun to be in the show!  we’re in a new venue this time, 250 City Centre, which is not downtown.  how it got the title of City Centre when its way out in the middle of nowhere is beyond me.

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Big Bucks = Happiness.  Acrylic on canvas board, 7×9 inches, by anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.  maybe tonight i should stick with the basics.

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Indian Residential School, Hell on Earth.  Sketch.  Acrylic on canvas board, 7×9 inches.  Artist Collection.  or maybe i should attempt a “statement”.

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Stacey from Malibu, sharpie marker on 8.5×11 paper.  Artist collection.  one thing is for sure there is no time to call up Stace for advice on what to paint and what to wear.  i know what she would say though about what to wear:  You have one life to live, don’t put it off to tomorrow.

i’ll let you know how it goes!

 

Woodland School style by twinravens

here is my version of the Anishnaabe Woodland School of art, founded by the great Norval Morrisseau, and introduced to the art world in Toronto, way back in September 1962.  what a great artist journey/adventure Norval M. went on after that!  all the way to the National Gallery of Canada in 2006/07.  i’m a long way from having my work in the N.G.C.!  but here is my version anyway:

A Self Portrait on November 30th by Mark Seabrook

Self Portrait on November 30th, acrylic on canvas, 30×40 inches.  Private collection.

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Feeding the Wolf, acrylic on canvas, 36×48 inches.  Private collection.

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Anishnabe at Full Moon, acrylic on canvas board, 16×20 inches.  Artist collection.

Bear Clan with White Raven

Bear Clan, acrylic on canvas board, 16×20 inches.  Artist collection.

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Water Spirit, Homage to Norval M., acrylic on canvas, 24×36 inches.  Private collection.  (the paint wasn’t even dry when that one went out the door!)

Moose Nahmiwan

Moose Nahmiwan, acrylic on canvas board, 16×20 inches. Painted on the Range in March 2015

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Indian Residential School Survivor, acrylic on canvas, 36×48 inches.  Available for purchase.

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Anishnabe Woodland Nights, acrylic on canvas board, 16×20 inches.  Private collection.

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Power Bird, acrylic on canvas, 22×28 inches, getting ready to ship out.  Private collection.

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Me, standing next to a Norval Morrisseau acrylic on canvas at the National Gallery of Canada.  A lot of us anishnaabe boys who are painters owe a salute to the great Norval M. and his high and mighty work.

Landscapes, twinravens style

As per requested, thank you for that email, here are a few of the landscapes paintings from the past few years:

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twinravens on the range, winter, acrylic on canvas board, 7×9 inches.  Artist collection.

Tehkummah Winds on September 2

Tehkummah scenes, late August, acrylic on canvas board, 10×12 inches.  Artist collection.

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Red Wing Blackbirds on the open range

Acrylic on canvas board, 7×9 inches.  Private collection.

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Tehkummah scenes, acrylic on canvas board, 7×9 inches.  Private collection.

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sketch, 7×9 inches on canvas board

Tehkummah scenes, winter.  Private collection.

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Tehkummah scenes, winter, acrylic on canvas board, 7×9 inches.  Private collection.

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Before the Blue Moon, 6 of 9

Acrylic on canvas board, 9×12 inches.  Private collection.

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twinravens on the range, 10×20 inches on canvas board

Private collection.

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Tehkummah Scenes, acrylic on canvas board, 7×9 inches

Private collection.

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A selection of 7×9’s beautifully framed by a private collector.

So there are a few of the pieces from the past few years, inspired by the open range back home in Tehkummah, inspired too by the great Jackson Pollock!

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The Range, back home in Tehkummah, Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada, on a fine and wonderful summer morning: in peace and in paradise!

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Home sweet home!  That’s crib on the range, Tehkummah, Manitoulin Island.

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Home sweet home on an August evening, many moons ago:  no noise pollution, no light pollution!  What a place to call home!

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Oh yes we can’t forget this one!  Acrylic, 7×9 inches on canvas board.  Artist collection.

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The Artist, at the lake, Unionville, Ontario.  A November afternoon…

The swanky 9th

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Up there somewhere, is the swanky 9th, photo from a January evening, 2018.  It’s a very cosy crib up there with all the bells and whistles!  This morning though it’s sunny and blue skies, looks like a great day for a drive from one slab to another.  Along for the ride to and from we have the Great Jasmine Moon!

We’ve been riding together, father and daughter, since she was around 3 years old and what beautiful trips those have been, mostly The Range to the capital city.  As you can imagine the music selections have changed through the years…   On the ride down, Friday night, never thought I would say this but gosh, kids these days, what strange music they listen to!

We started out alright, me tuned into the “classic rock radio”, the limo riding smoothly down the 416, darkness all around, perfect for classic “daddy music”, cranked:  “Ace of Spades”, “Mississippi Queen”, “Uncle Salty”, “When the Levee Breaks” and the likes of, which, it appeared, my old buddy Jasmine Moon could kind of get into…  Soon the classic rock radio faded away and out came the iPhone filled with “mod music”.  Oh boy.

Out of her iPhone shuffle came Boney M, “Rasputin”.  Wow!  What a fab song, cranked, what music (and that bass line!), whew!  Truth be told, I was a bit surprised to hear such things coming out of that 16, soon to be 17 year old gal’s music selection.  She had some golden oldies on there:  “Kiss You When its Dangerous”, “Don’t Dream its Over”, and one of my old, closet, high school faves:  “Kiss On My List”.  Fun stuff.  But it didn’t end there: out came some Frank Sinatra, Tom Jones, Nat King, and the likes of.  These road trips continue to be grand and glorious father and his daughter adventures, whatever music is playing!

Switching gears, check this out:

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That is ME!  Day 1, Art School Year 1, age 18.  College photo ID snapped first thing on morning number 1, the Tuesday after Labour Day.  I remember that day!  My instructor said to me:  We’ve had a lot of Indians come through this program but none of them finished the first semester of the first year.  Me being who I was at that point in time replied:  That is why I’m here, to change all of that.

Haven’t seen that photo in years!  Shell was going through some boxes in the basement back home on the Range and found it!  Ha!

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The Great Jasmine Moon, yesterday, getting her birthday tattoo, age 16, soon to be 17.  Happy Birthday my sweetie!  Love dad.

As for yesterday’s Roncesvalles show:  fun times as always!  Maybe we’ll see you again next year!

Friday morning in the Slab

November 15th, in the snowy capital city, listening to some 10cc while I pack my art gear, getting ready for an art show and sale:  Roncesvalles, tomorrow, Toronto.  We’ve been happy vendors at Roncesvalles going on, has it been 5 years?  Those folks at Roncy take good care of you: both the vendor and the visitor!

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twinravens on November 5th, acrylic on canvas board, 8×10 inches.  We might have a few of these coming along to the show!  This is one of the pieces we had at the sale last weekend in Perth, many thanks to the hosts and the other artists, for a great time, some fun “art” conversations and of course the vin!

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Power Bird, acrylic on canvas, 22×28 inches.  Private Collection.  At the event in Perth, I walked in the front door and the first thing I saw hanging on the wall was my old buddy, the Power Bird.  Nice to see you again!

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Title unknown, acrylic on canvas, 30×30 inches.  Private Collection.  Also crossed paths with this golden oldie, in the library at the event in Perth.  That is Stevenson Professional acrylic, made in Toronto…  Too bad for me that Stevenson called it quits.  (I’m learning a new brand:  Golden Heavy Body)

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From the pages of:  Cruising Back to the Ranch with My Young Friend, a book of poems and photographs by yours truly, which I also happened to come across in the library at the event last weekend.  Hey I remember when I wrote that!  And here is a photo from around that time:

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Back home at mom and dad’s, the super wild summer of 1995!  That’s in the sun room on the west side of the house: you can see the last of the July day coming in those windows. Like in the novel: “over there it is day, above us is night.”  And truth is, that little typewriter I’m working on, that is when and where I wrote “Sun”, from Sun Infinity Moon, back in the days before word processors and the internet.

That twinravens summer mission statement was inspired by the poem in the liner notes of the album “Starfish”, by the Church, one of my fave albums from that time.  And let me tell you that mission statement still stands, right here in 2019!  We still cover all of those bases even though we’ve had some wild high jinx along the way this past summer:  one dead moose, one dead deer, two totalled cars, and we’ve switched out the Nikon F2 with the 16 mm lens set at infinity, for an apple iPhone!  But we still have the little black bikini, ha ha!  And of course we are still firm believers in getting a really good tan.  Well.  All of what is written in that mission statement, we follow that to the letter to this day.  If we were to add something it would be:  wear heels that are 6 inches or higher.  Ha ha.  Yes indeed!  It was fun to cross paths with that mission statement, over there in Perth, on the table in the library.  Fun stuff.

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At the beach, sweet summer time, Providence Bay, Manitoulin Island, Canada.  We’ll get back there some day.

Sun Infinity Moon Book Review

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“I finished the book yesterday, I couldn’t put it down! The sex scenes were hot, humorous and I loved Mark’s rawness, his truth, the details, the characters, journeys, their thoughts: so real!

I could hear his voice and the way he talks, and jokes, telling the story!

The history and raw truth are so touching, I wanted to hear more. I felt a deeper compassion hearing his experiences. The “nish” accent was hilarious but true to our men. I laughed a lot and ohh that ending made me cry!

His detail is impeccable. I wanted more about their journeys. So many more avenues: more books, a play, a movie!

His readers will want more.

So glad I went to the book launch and got my copy. I can think of so many that would enjoy this book and could relate: namely native males I know, with similar tough journeys.”

M.D., Manitoulin Island F/N.

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Back cover of the artist proof:  filled with typos and layout errors!  Ah well.  The reprint will be here soon and hopefully bug free…

I have a couple of more book reviews coming in soon!  But I’ll tell you this:  writing a story like this and having folks give it the once over, the response is SUPER telling!  i.e.:  one gal was all friendly and happy and poops and giggles before, after…  she wouldn’t even look at me!  I mean she would cross over to the other side of the street when she saw me coming along!  WOW!

I get that this IS a tough sell.  We’re a long way from the Disneyland and Hollywood Indian stereotypes.  But I’m not a Joseph Boyden or an Archie Grey Owl!  Ha ha.

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twinravens on November 5th, acrylic on canvas board, 8×10 inches.  One of the 25 or so pieces we have ready for this weekend’s pop up art show in Perth, Ontario!  Details are on the Facebook page.