Portrait Panels for a Mural, Questions and Answers

Mural Blog Q and A and some pics

1) Tell us a bit about you. What kind of art do you usually make or what us your artist background?

I think of myself as a portrait artist although I paint a gamut of subjects. I studied privately with a couple of fairly traditional mentors but I’m pretty much self-trained and I like to paint more or less realistically things I’m fond of .  I want a likeness and my models are busy and often distant so I paint from photos, if not to photographic effect. I write as much as I paint so I illustrate various narratives in my head about my self and my subject matter. I write a blog about my painting process, at https://rockygreen.wordpress.com/

The Hunter

the hunter, panel one

2). What was the inspiration behind your mural? Was it inspired by any other artists or artists work? A key moment in LGBTQ history in Toronto?

I’ve painted the model in this mural, Earl Cousins,for a while now, mostly from photos by Zoe Gemelli who has been taking pictures of Mr. Cousins for some time. They both live in the village and are my main connection to life there. That group process inspired my proposal for this project and I conferred with Earl and Zoe on it all along.

Earl’s  always been fond of wolves and when he found a leather wolf mask he began to present himself wearing it to the camera. Hence the tattoo reading “Lupus Inter Homo”, (wolf among men) on his arm. He’s from north Ontario so when I thought about my proposal for this project I thought it would be best to present the village as I knew it, as a place to perhaps run a little wild and find one’s pack, find one’s place in it. I decided to chart one person’s process, it taking, as it were, many such people to make a village.

The Hunter Too


3).. What do you bring to this work- are there parts of the LGBTQ content that is inspired by or comes out of your own background/identity? ( Your own experience of the Village, your own stories, etc for example)

 I live out in the country now and I know the village as I know the villages of other cities, as a place to live in temporarily or to visit, a place to which one could come and become more one’s self perhaps, or in the jargon, to self actualize,  to find and be more among one’s own kind. So mine is a rural outsider’s view, one many people bring to town .



4). Tell us about how you made your work ( Medium, creative process, team work etc).

I talked a lot with Zoe and Earl, and with carpenters and artists more familiar than I am with working publicly on a large scale, about how to do the deed most simply and effectively. My studio is in a little town north of Toronto so I worked on panels there, with an eye to framing and mounting them on the wall as a narrative like a cartoon strip. I worked from other paintings, studies and  photos of my model on the resulting panels which I pictured framed like ordinary paintings, in black frames, and hung as a grid of paintings. I used acrylic paint and paint sticks and a lot of varnish,  while working out the logistics of a one fell swoop hanging

Wolf Mask


5).What do you hope people will take away from your piece?

 Hopefully people will notice how the images connect and they’ll write a little story in their heads connecting them. Ideally it would be a story about living in a place where it is safe and possible to follow one’s  bent or heart.

You can never predict what people will see, they bring their own stories and projections. It is always a surprise what they see. Pleasantly mystified works.

Osaka Hotel


6). How do you see this project changing or contributing to the Church-Wellesley Village?

 I like public art; people either love it or hate but it sits right out there for people to look at and talk about. At the very worst it encourages a debate about street level art and taste and that never hurts. At best it gives us a deeper sense of ourselves and  communities, historic, present, temporary, personal. It is gratifying to have my stuff be a part of that.



2 thoughts on “The Church Street Mural Project (Lupus Inter Homo)

  1. Such candor Rock…and with such astounding work…I’m glad so many will be exposed to at least a little of what you can do. I think the variety is inspired but every time I was going to say, “that one, that’s my favourite”, the next one put paid to that notion…They’re all stellar. I’m a sucker for any animal you depict, including the surreal, but in the end…the tattoo surrounding the paw-print strikes me and I keep coming back to drink it in…magnificent.


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