Confectionaries at Raw Sugar

For the month of June I will have new work on display at the Raw Sugar Café, at 692 Somerset St. West, Ottawa. The series is simply called "Confectionaries" and is a growing collection of images of various corner stores from around downtown Ottawa. The series is also online, and prints can be purchased through my website.

There is much to be said for the aesthetic of a confectionary — specifically locally-owned, community-known confectionaries. Rather than the uniformity of corporate mini-marts and gas stations, local confectionaries, although a little rough around the edges, often have a compelling and unique look. At the same time, one will always recognize a traditional confectionary due to some typical qualities: local or family named; fading signage; hand-written signs; ice-boxes & telephone booths; and perhaps most importantly — apartments in the building, either above or behind the store itself. The community knows the owners of these confectionaries, and the owners know the community, often because they live in it as well.

I was inspired to begin this series after being commissioned to do a drawing of Mike's Corner Store. The owners were selling the place after 30 years, and their son wanted to give them a gift to remember their home and livelihood. During my time sketching the store, I met several members of the community, all of whom knew the family. The local kids would skateboard up to the store, get their candy, and skate off again — after checking out my drawings. Retirees, parents and young professionals alike cherished their neighbourhood confectionary. I hesitated to tell them I knew the store was being sold. What would happen if it were replaced by a 7eleven? Or shitty condos? I decided to continue sketching more local confectionaries in Ottawa, concerned that they may one day become relics in an increasingly corporate world.