blog

Robert Reid

Collecting beer coasters

Anyone with a graphic sense must be delighted with the variety of designs on beer coasters that are slapped down on the bar to await your impending glass of beer. Some are marvels of graphic design and well worth saving. The few shown here are Canadian and American, but the British also produce some collector’s items. My favorites here are the Checker Cab coaster because I loved those Checker Cabs that made life in New York bearable, the Egyptian Pyramid coaster because I’m crazy about all things Egyptian (ancient Egypt, that is) and the Moosehead Beer coaster that reminds me of the many happy times I’ve enjoyed that fine Canadian Lager in a variety of settings. Continue Reading…

Collecting book matches

Truly an integral part of the “Good Old Days,” book matches are so bright and cheerful, and so full of memories, that everyone saved them. I wonder how many collections are out there, and what memories they would bring back if we could see some of them. Continue Reading…

Vancouver artists photographed by Yukiko Onley

Working quietly away over the years, Yukiko Onley has amassed a large collection of photographs of Vancouver’s artists from all disciplines. Because Yukiko is herself a world-class portrait photographer, these photographs are well worth looking at, so a small number of them are reproduced here. Yukiko took up photography while living with her husband, Toni Onley. After his untimely death she became a professional photographer and turned out to be particularly good with people and children. Continue Reading…

Chinese paper rubbings

The first form of printing consisted of rubbings from Chinese tombs shortly after the invention of paper at least 1,500 years ago. Numbers of copies could be made from the carved stones to propagate cultural myths, but Imperial fiats and regulations were also carved in stone, with copies of the rubbings disseminated. That sounds like printing to me. Continue Reading…

Australian Aboriginal Art

The native art of Australian aboriginals consists mainly of paintings on tree bark that has preserved incredibly well. The discovery of this art-form electrified the anthropology world, but the art world in general was stunned by its brilliance as well. Consisting mainly of the myths that surround the beasts who created the world, it’s the stylish rendition on bark that haunts us, even though we don’t understand the content. Since beauty is in the eye of the beholder, these works-of-art will stand on their own for all time. Continue Reading…

The Book that Saved a City

(Editor’s note: The book discussed here is Living Past of Montreal: Passe Vivant de Montreal, by R.D. Wilson and Eric McLean. Here is the original review from the Ottawa Citizen, and here are some listings for sale via AbeBooks.)

In 1963, when I came to Montreal, the historic part of the city, called “Old Montreal,” was decaying and in danger of demolition. So much so that Dick Wilson, the art director of a local pharmaceutical company, set himself the task of spending weekends drawing various buildings before they were torn down. Graham Warrington, a Vancouver friend who was living in Montreal at the time, noticed him drawing and told me about what he was doing. Continue Reading…

World War II Front Pages

Douglas & McIntyre published a book of mine called The Front Page Story of World War II. It consisted of Vancouver newspapers I had collected during the war when I was going to Kitsilano High School. I loved the FINAL editions that came out at 4 p.m. because of their large and colourful woodtype headlines. Sometimes I would go down after school to the Sun and Province press rooms and watch them printing the “Finals” on the giant, roaring presses. The News-Herald “Final” came out in the morning and was printed on green newsprint with large headlines of the latest disasters. Continue Reading…

Before the Dam: Rural Life in the Kootenay Valley of B.C. Before it was Flooded

PHOTOGRAPHED BY STANLEY TRIGGS

STANLEY TRIGGS was at UBC when I was there in the late 1940s, and I heard his name bruited about in relation to the Photographic Club. I never met him, so when I came to McGill in 1963 I was surprised to hear his name again, this time as Curator of the Notman Collection of 250,000 glass plates at McGill’s McCord Museum. We became great friends when we worked together producing the famous book of photographs from the Notman Collection in 1967. Continue Reading…

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

The Alcuin Society is pleased to participate in the world-wide celebrations of Her Majesty’s birthday through our Patron, the Governor General of Canada, His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, who is the Queen’s representative in Canada. Her Coronation was during this month in 1953, so we celebrating the beginning of her reign as Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, by the Grace of God Queen of the Realm and of her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith. Long may She Reign. Continue Reading…

The British Columbia Library Quarterly

Librarians are a civilized lot, so it was a great pleasure for me produce their quarterly journal for four years before I left Vancouver. I printed it in my basement printing shop in my home in Burnaby, and had a totally free hand with the design of both the text pages and the ad pages (including Duthie Books ads, for example). The Covers are outstanding because I got my students at the Art School, where I was teaching, to do woodcuts and linocuts for me to print on the covers. George Kuthan also contributed mightily to the covers, as can be seen by the wonderful series or wild flowers that he did for us. Continue Reading…