Post 100 – Amber Albrecht spectacular!

Posted on February 7, 2012

Wow!  This is post number 100!  Cue fireworks.  Massive explosions.  Teenage girls run into the Memorial Auditorium screaming and hysterical.  Dogs and cats conclude an uneasy truce.

Today I am bringing you a blast from the past, and not one but two pieces of exciting news.  Said news involves my old pal Amber Albrecht.

Amber is an artist extraordinaire who hails from British Columbia, and has resided in Montreal for some time now.  If memory serves correctly, the first time I met her I was in town, visiting my then girlfriend (and Amber’s school colleague Katie Dutton whose work merits an article of its very own, which maybe I’ll write one of these days) to perform the exciting musical piece The Rideau Canal Skateway with a stripped down version of the famous United Empire Loyalist Orchestra.  She waved a cautious hello and disappeared.  She would make a good spy.  The show was, uh, great…  Everyone left the room.  Since then Amber and I got plenty acquainted, on camping trips, trips to Toronto, and innumerable hours spent settling Catan.  Once I bought her a new pair of glasses in exchange for seven homemade pies.  And she delivered in spades.  If you ever doubted her character let this set you straight.

It’s been enjoyable to watch Amber’s work evolve over these many years.  She might disagree with me, but I’d say that fundamentally her style has remained fairly consistent, but she has slowly but surely increased the complexity of her work.  And she’s done so successfully indeed, adding a wealth of colour, much more elaborate compositions, more flora, and using a good deal of intricate patterns, all the while never letting this complexity get the better of her stuff.  It works, and then some!  Don’t believe me?  Check this out!

The cover of Amber's new book!

Yes indeed folks, Drawn & Quarterly is publishing a book of Amber’s drawings and silkscreens in April.  Wow!  Read about it here (with a couple other pictures) and here.  This is awfully cool, and I highly suggest that each of you dear readers pick up a copy.  It’s going to be good.

I myself have been lucky enough to have benefited from Amber’s powers on a couple of occasions.  Most notably, Amber did the illustrations for the epic cover of Touching Earth Made Of Steel’s debut album: Occupational Hazards.  Listen to it here, it’s good.  Occupational Hazards is a concept album about various jobs.  Each of the twelve songs tells the tale of a particular vocation.  Amber illustrated each of said twelve occupations for the album art, lucky us!  And the drawings were so good that we couldn’t help but release not one but twelve different editions, each with a different cover.  Here they are:

The Occupational Hazards poster, illustrated by Amber Albrecht

Click on the image for a larger view.  You can also click on the band camp link wherein if you click on each song you’ll see the pictures and get to read the amazing lyrics.  This poster was made by yours truly and is already betraying its age badly.  Remember myspace?  And record stores?  Alas.  The trapper was always my favourite, but they’re all great.  The lifeguard and nuclear technician are other faves.  Argue about it in the comments!  The text beside each drawing explains what the respective song is about.

And it doesn’t end there!  Oh no!  Once upon a time a music blog invited Amber to illustrate the emotions that certain songs made her feel (or something like that).  Visit Said The Gramophone and check it out.  Or just look below and skip it, since I hijacked the pictures.

Oh, Captive Princess

Spirit, Come Back!

These lovely drawings are inspired by the songs Oh, Captive Princess and Spirit, Come Back!, respectively.  They are from a few years back, part of my epic, 13 part Dominion Singles Club.  Curious?  Ask nicely and I’ll tell you about it and post some examples.  Amber busted me hard for my love of commas here.  I have to stop using them so much, but it’s damned irresistible.  Personally I think Amber spoiled STG to the max.  These are awfully nice, especially the latter.  Obviously I accept all the credit.

Pretty great stuff, eh?  I bet you’re going to buy that book now!  Visit Amber’s website here for lots of other examples.  If you are a business magnate or other such important person you can pay her to make you stuff, and you should.  And don’t be cheap about it either, this is quality work we’re talking about.

Coincidentally enough, guess who is evidently a business magnate or otherwise important person?  Me.  Why?  Because I have recently reached an agreement with Amber to prepare for me a couple of illustrations for a special project.  I’ll post more details in this space soon enough.  You’ll like it.

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And finally a word of thanks to my readers.  On this, the occasion of my 100th post, I’m feeling sentimental and very appreciative of all of you.  To the folks wondering if the Ultimate Warrior is dead:  he’s not.  To the weirdos who have turned one of my first articles into a meeting place for baby ape lovers: you have found your home.  To my mom and dad:  thank you for your weird/funny comments.  To Régine of Victoire: thanks for the traffic.  To Godo, Dave, Mike, Emily, and Paul:  my most prolific readers and commenters, I know you’ll always give stuff a read even if no one else will; thanks dudes.  To the degenerates looking for a rubdown:  don’t do it.  Go outside.  To my small but mighty band of subscribers:  thank you!  To the max!  To the surprising (albeit small) number of people who google me every week:  who are you? and what do you want?  And to everyone else:  thanks for stopping by.  I do enjoy operating this thing, and hopefully I’ll come up with 100 more interesting things for you to read.  If you’re new here read this.  It’s the best piece I’ve done, I think.

Posted in: Visual arts