Halifax printmaker finds inspiration in music and art

Alex MacAskill has done artwork for the Halifax Pop Explosion and local bands. Now he’s headed to Nashville.

Atop the maze of studios at NSCAD’s Granville campus sits multi-talented Alex MacAskill. He’s actively sketching, scanning, printing and pressing art work for school, as well as for his business Fish Bone Prints.

His workplace is rugged; large wood panels and easels are scattered throughout the area. His desk is accompanied by all the tools he needs: black ink, illustration paper, and a printer. He is an artist printmaker and designs everything from album art to beer holders. The collection of his favourite works are pinned to his work space. He works alone, with folk-rock and indie music filling the air.

MacAskill is pursuing a degree in fine art and managing Fish Bone Prints simultaneously. He has grown an array of clients for his business, including Matt Mays and JEFF the Brotherhood. He’s also worked with local artists such as Wintersleep and The Novaks, as well as many government organizations. His biggest client last year was the Halifax Pop Explosion, which posted his work throughout the city.

“I have been lucky enough that I don’t need to advertise,” he says. “After a few years doing this I’ve developed a kind of signature style, one that is expected when an artist reaches out to me.”

There are a number of steps to screen printing.

“It all starts with pencil sketches to develop the idea of it. From there I take those sketches and make a full size drawing on illustration paper – done with black ink – I scan that onto the computer and work it in Photoshop and add some digital colouring. You have to print the colours differently and separate the layers. From there you use a squeegee to push the ink through the stencils.”

His school work is an outlet of personal expression. MacAskill even dabbles in the unique practice of woodcutting.

“I take a block of plywood and use chisels to carve into it. Then I roll over the ink to hit the high spots, then press paper onto it and begin to trace,” he says.

From a young age MacAskill was very artistically inclined, just like his older sister.

“She was a big inspiration for me,” he says, smiling. “I looked up to her a lot, she went to NSCAD too. She inspired my love of art, and I guess I’m following the same path as her, just carving my own footsteps.”

In high school, MacAskill wanted to find a way to design his own T-shirts for his band and began experimenting in homemade remedies. Through this desire, MacAskill acquired a foundation of skills in print work and ultimately let that flourish into his own brand.

His boyhood passion for both art and music is a combination of interests that now work in harmony to pay the bills, and takes him to places he’s always dreamed of.

“I’ve actually just landed a job with a graphic design firm in Nashville. I graduate in April and start work down there in May. It’s a dream come true. Nashville has a great culture of art and music, I really love it there,” he says.

MacAskill departs shortly after he performs a farewell gig with Drags, his garage rock band. They will be performing their last set at the Seahorse Tavern at the end of the month.

Defending champion Golden Bears knock out St. Francis Xavier X-Men

The StFX X-Men lost to the #1 seed Alberta Golden Bears at the CIS University Cup.

The Alberta Golden Bears made their presence known in their first game at the CIS University Cup Friday night by dominating the host StFX X-Men 5-1. Alberta’s offensive flair was overpowering; the X-Men found themselves hemmed in the defensive zone for the majority of the game. The shots were 34-14 in favour of Alberta.

Courtesy of a sea of blue and white from hometown Xaverian supporters, the X-Men got off to a lively start. Senior forward Michael Kirkpatrick capitalized off of a fallen defender, and found Blake Gal driving the net to open the scoring at 7:54 in the first period.

But with two minutes remaining in the first period, Alberta forward Jordan Hickmott displayed a dazzling individual effort and beat X-Men goalie Drew Owsley below the blocker for a shorthanded goal.

Hickmott’s goal served as a momentum shift for Alberta, as they went on to dominate the remainder of the game.

At 1:18 into the second period, Alberta forward Brennan Yadlowski redirected a shot from Jamie Crooks to give Alberta the lead.

The Golden Bears were relentless on the attack, and continued to smother the X-Men defence. After a spirited forecheck, Alberta’s Travis Toomey found the back of the net at 15:27 in the second period to add to the lead. Stephane Legault and Jesse Craige added assists on the play.

Tension began to brew between the two clubs during the final seconds of the second period. After a hard net drive by Alberta’s Jevko Koper, graduating X-Men and team captain Robert Slaney crosschecked Koper ensuing a scrum in front of the StFX net. Alberta’s Johnny Lazo mixed it up with X-Men defencemen Trey Lewis resulting in both players being sent to the penalty box.

At the opening of the third period, Alberta’s Dylan Bredo circled the offensive zone to find team captain Kruise Reddick alone in front to blast home a one-timer to make it 4-1.

The X-Men were tenacious on the puck throughout the dying minutes of the game, but at 12:08 CIS first-team all-star T.J Foster deflated the X-Men after beating Drew Owsley blocker side on a two-on-one.

The 8th seed X-Men are eliminated from the CIS University Cup after falling to the 1st seed Alberta Golden Bears 5-1.

An estimated 5000 were in attendance to watch StFX take on Alberta in the CIS University Cup quarter-final. Photo by Connor Currie
An estimated 5000 were in attendance to watch StFX take on Alberta in the CIS University Cup quarter-final. (Photo: by Connor Currie)


News Digest: March 7 – 10

Catch up on news happening on the Halifax peninsula, as reported by other media outlets.

1. Halifax regional councillor Reg Rankin’s drunk driving trial adjourned (Chronicle Herald)

The Halifax regional councillor’s trial on impaired driving charges has been postponed. Rankin was charged with impaired driving and failing a breathalyzer test after a vehicle struck his house during a winter storm in March 2014. He pleaded not guilty. Rankin represents Clayton Park, Beechville, and Timberlea on regional council. He is now expected to appear in court to stand trial on Aug. 18.

2. Salmon Fishery nets $400,000 boost from Ottawa (Chronicle Herald)

The federal government gave Nova Scotia $400,000 in an attempt to restore dwindling Atlantic salmon stocks, as well as to promote sustainability, and to repair and rebuild many of the fishways in the province. Federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea made the announcement in Dartmouth on Monday. There has been a decrease in salmon returns over the past year.

3. Father of Rehtaeh Parsons speaks out against cyberbullying to the United Nations (Metro News)

Glen Canning, the father of Rehtaeh Parsons, says he told the United Nations his personal experience with the impacts of cyberbullying on Monday. He contributed to the discussion panel entitled Violence in the Digital Age. Canning wanted to spread awareness of the harmful effects of cyberbullying and sexual violence. Rehtaeh, a victim of cyberbullying, died after she tried to kill herself.

4. Dartmouth taxi company, driver fined for discrimination (Chronicle Herald)

Bob’s Taxi Ltd. and one of its drivers, Aleksey Osipenkov, have been ordered to pay $27,500 for discriminating against customers. A Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission board of inquiry found that Osipenkov used racial slurs towards Javonna Borden and her two nephews, after one of the boys, 13 at the time, sat in the front seat.

5. Halifax student wins Chronicle Herald Nova Scotia Spelling Bee (Chronicle Herald)

Thomas Duck, a Grade 7 student at St. Agnes Junior High, made a comeback Saturday in the Chronicle Herald Nova Scotia Spelling Bee. After a competitor misspelled the final word, Duck spelled the word “vernation” correctly, taking home first place. He will now represent Nova Scotia at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., this May.

X-Women close out Tigers in dramatic finish

StFX X-Women move onto the Subway AUS hockey final after sweeping the Dalhousie Tigers.

The StFX X-Women ended the Dalhousie Tigers’s season Thursday night with a 3-1 win at the Halifax Forum. The X-Women won the Subway AUS best-of-three semi-final series 2-0.

StFX senior forward Alexa Normore jammed in a rebound past Tigers goaltender Jessica Severyns to open the scoring at 6:29 into the first period. Heather Tillsley and Schyler Campbell tallied assists on the play.

It wasn’t long before Dalhousie’s Lisa MacLean answered back with a blistering slap-shot that beat the league-leading goaltender Sojung Shin.

The X-Women controlled the play for the majority of the second period. League-leading scorer Normore was tenacious on the puck and overpowered many of Dalhousie’s defensemen.

“She is a great player,” said Tigers defencemen Rachel Carr.

“She was hard to contain all night. Her and her line-mate Schyler Campbell work very well together. They are two special players.”

In the second period, after an onslaught of shots and minutes of the Tigers being hemmed in their own end, Sarah Bujold sent Daley Oddy in on a partial breakaway, where she displayed a dazzling set of hands and tucked in a slick backhand past Jessica Severyns.

The X-Women led 2-1 heading into the final minutes of the third period.

In desperation, Tigers coach Sean Casey pulled Severyns in an attempt to tie it up.

But the X-Women’s size and strength prevailed, and with 47 seconds left in the game, senior forward Kara Power out hustled the Tigers’s defence and buried the puck into the open net to solidify the lead.

The X-Women edged the Tigers 3-1.

Shots on goal were 31-25 in favour of the X-Women.

Despite sweeping the series, StFX coach Ben Berthiaume was glad it was over.

“Dalhousie was relentless,” said Berthiaume.

“They were a very hard working team. It was a tough series.”

The X-Women will go on to play Moncton in the Subway AUS championship.

Lisa MacLean battles for puck possession after a face-off. (Photo: Connor Currie)