February 1, 2012
Here’s a poster with info about the final show

Here’s a poster with info about the final show

Here’s a video that we never released in memory of our friend Matt Robak. 

A Farewell Note from Dean

To see the official statement from the band, please go to www.theartistlife.com 

Below is a personal statement from Dean:

Although the band has been on the ropes for the last little while, we recently made the decision to stop playing together. 

The details behind why the band is no longer together are far too lengthy and too personal for this forum, but to be put short The Artist Life just wasn’t fun for us anymore.    The songs on Living, Let’s Start A Riot and Impossible are representative of a certain stage in each of our lives and the writing I did for each of those records was a reflection of an idealistic optimism that is totally missing in my life right now.   The challenges and obstacles that come along with being a part-time touring band (let alone full-time), not the least of which being the financial burden, are far too many for us to continue.  I’m not sure it can be put any more plainly than that. 

This should not be viewed as a bad thing.  Sure it’s sad that we won’t get to live those moments on stage with one another anymore, but I think the break-up is more liberating than anything.  It gives us a chance to look at playing music with more clarity now without being clouded by any expectations or arbitrary standards.  That, to me, is what playing music should be about.  That being said, I stand behind every decision we made as a band both musically and professionally and am extremely proud of every chord and every line that we wrote.   The songs have always been about telling stories and sharing personal experiences and that’s the part of music that’s always drawn me in and comforted me.  Thank you for listening to the stories and paying attention to the courage, hope, anger, guilt and love that is written in them.  They mean a lot to me.

It’s really hard to leave any mark in music today and to stand out in a crowd that is so staggeringly over-saturated, so the fact that we were able to reach a few people is a huge accomplishment to me.   It was my dream to one day walk into an HMV and see something I created on the shelf and to travel in a van with my best friends and we got the chance to do that several times over.  On top of all that, we were able to work with iconic producers, tour with legendary bands and personal heroes, and craft deeply personal friendships across the country and south of the border.   Thank you to anyone and everyone who gave us a place to stay, the ones who came to shows, bought merch, grabbed us a drink and/or helped us feed ourselves, thanks to the promoters who brought us to your town and took on the risk of having to pay for our gas, and thanks to every band we had the pleasure of sharing the stage with.   We would never have been so happy and proud of ourselves if it weren’t for each one of you helping us out; both in the smallest and biggest of ways. 

The band is totally amicable with one another and we will all continue to be friends for many years, I’m sure.   Ian, Jake, Chuck, Justin, and Shawn are still some of my best friends and I will always have passionate respect for each of them as individuals, the personal sacrifices that they made for the band are overwhelming, and I will hold tight to the memories we made together.  It was an experience of a lifetime.

We hope to see you at Sneaky Dee’s in Toronto on March 31st for a final goodbye.  We’ll be playing songs from Living, Let’s Start A Riot and Impossible. 

My musical future is uncertain, as is everyone’s, but there are plenty more stories in me that I plan on bringing to your speakers as soon as possible.  

Cheers for now,


December 7, 2011
Check out our new video for Find You! Feel free to re-post and re-tweet. See you Ontarians at Burly Calling next weekend! http://bit.ly/tSdmtX
June 24, 2011

Cornwall, Montreal, St. Catherines (SCENE/War Child)

We thought we’d grace you all with a quick update from The Artist Life camp on this fine summer evening in late June.   I hope that everyone made it through their gruesome exam schedules with only a few scratches and/or met the deadline for their malcontent boss just in time to enjoy a leisurely weekend among friends… Which is exactly what we have planned!  

We’ll be heading East on Friday, June 24th to play Murphy’s Inn in Cornwall, ON and The Underworld in Montreal on Saturday, June 25th.  Both shows will be with BC’s Whitney Houston-adoring These Kids Wear Crowns.   

Come Sunday, June 26th we’ll be joining The Flatliners, Silverstein, The Snips, Abandon All Ships, Saint Alvia, TKWC, The Decay and a host of other top-notch acts at St. Catherines’ annual SCENEFEST.  This is truly one of my favourite days of the year so hopefully we’ll find you there, somewhere amongst the angsty teenagers, cock-eyed locals and belly-shakin’ shooter girls.  We play L3 at 10:20pm – so make sure to drag everyone you know there to show us how to party.

 There’s a ton of info including artist profiles, ticket information and the entire festival schedule at www.scenemusicfestival.com   check it out, get yourself a ticket.   

On a more sobering note, at SCENE we’ll be playing for War Child’s Busking For Change campaign inside the Market Square at 4:40 in the afternoon.  So if you feel like checking out some acoustic tunes and donating some change towards war-affected children and families please do so.   Find out more information right here: http://wcc.r-esourcecenter.com/Event/index.asp?Event_Id=7

That’s about it for now.  Don’t forget that we’ll have tons of new merch for sale, including our brand new full-length record Impossible, and we look forward to sharing some good times with all of you!

School’s out and summer’s in, playa hataz!

The Artist Life

May 22, 2011

Adding to Dean’s photos here are a couple extra shots from the Face To Face tour! 



May 19, 2011

We finished up the Face To Face, Strung Out, The Darlings tour last weekend in Montreal, and since returning to work a couple days after getting home I haven’t had much time to go through the pics and videos I captured while out in the road.  This is my attempt to get a few things up as I sift through the memories and places.

This tour really was a dream come true for our band, and the pics in this blog don’t do the experience we had an ounce of justice.  I’m pretty sure that each member of The Artist Life can tie the reason they play in a punk rock band back to either one of the headliners that took us out on this tour.  Not only that, it was our first time touring in the US - which made it that much more special.  

Have a look at a few of the pics and we’ll try to get some more up in the next little while. 

Huge thanks to Face To Face, Strung Out and The Darlings for showing us a good time.  I hope it’s not the last time we all play shows together. 


May 10, 2011

Quick update from two days ago in Detroit. 

Trevor Keith of Face To Face thanks the entire tour package every night and it usually sounds something like this: “Thank you (insert town), We hope you’re having a good time tonight. We’ve put together a great tour package and we couldn’t be happier with the bands that are supporting tonight. We’ve got… Artist Life! The Darlings! And Strung Out! Yeah!.” 

I still can’t believe it and I may not believe it until it’s over? All the bands have begun to play inside jokes on each other and the camaraderie is apparent. I think if any of us were to go down at this point the tour would go down with it. The tour manager Mike MacDonald… Yes, I said that. Michael MacDonald; like the singer your parents used to listen to on your long drives to the cottage has learned through the grape vine that in my spare time I’m also an actor. Let’s just say each band has had a good go at me since that news hit. At the end of the day the joke is on them. The most popular T.V. show I was part of did very well in their own country!

A few nights ago we played in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at this amazing venue called The Rave. This venue has got to be one of the most incredible venues ever built by humankind. Nirvana, Blink 182, Green Day and even No Doubt have played there to name a few. One of the venue managers Tom was nice enough to give us a full tour of the building which included taking us down to the old pool, the steam room and even underneath the building to the workmen’s quarters. This structure was erected in the early 1930’s so you can only imagine the history that oozes out from the cracks. If any of you are bored and looking for something to google, this will kill an afternoon for sure! Also, there were a couple of deaths that happened in the building and the ghosts are said to still haunt the entire place, including the pool! Freaky!

Tonight we play in Detroit, MI and I can’t wait. I love the Motor City. It’s run down, dirty and full of working class folk just trying to make an honest buck; there is something cool about that. Also Zoltek turned the tender age of 24 last night in Convington Kentucky and had his share of Maker’s Mark (one of Kentucky’s best bourbons). Happy Birthday little guy!

The band has decided to start calling me “Blacie” instead of “Blackie.” We all have tour brain. For the definition of ‘tour brain’ just look up the word ‘mental’ in the dictionary and you’ll get the idea.


April 30, 2011

Blackie In The Van - April 29th, 2011

I’ve decided that after playing in front of a sold-out crowd in Vancouver that the Commodore Ballroom is my favourite venue in Canada, period. An old friend of mine and ex-bandmate Andy Lewis showed up to give us a hand loading our gear on Wednesday and you could sense the giddiness coming from all of us, even Andy. Afterall, Strung Out happens to be one of Andy’s all time favourite bands. I was instantly reminded when he grabbed me by the shoulders and said “you lucky bastard, every single night!?” (referring, of course, to the fact that I get to be a high school kid all over again for the next three weeks sharing the stage with Face To Face and Strung Out).

This tour definitely marks a pivotal moment in not only The Artist Life’s career but my own as well. Face To Face were and still very much ARE a band that helped lay the so-called foundation that stands about 5’8” tall, has blonde hair and plays guitar & sings. This foundation I’m speaking of is me, Ian Blackwood. 

After loading in and an “on the fly” sound check we all got to take a moment and realize our reality. I think it hit most of the band hard when Trevor Keith (the lead singer/guitarist of Face To Face) walked by us so casually and politely said “Hey guys.” … Oh, hey Trevor, Trev, Trevy, the Big TK…” Of course I wanted to say those things that buddies say to each other all the time but instead I stumbled on the marbles that somehow just appeared in my mouth and out came a concoction that sounded something like “HeyyyTreeoffffuckmanarrrggg… mumble…” Way to go Ian! That was so slick! I swear the room went slow motion for what felt like 10 minutes but to my luck was only mere seconds… and off Trevor went to continue on being the cool. Trevor: 1, Ian: 0. 

Two shows in and we’ve already had a list of interesting things happen to us. After patching a broken radiator hose and replacing a dead van battery you’d think the vehicle gods would cut us a break? Fast forward to my friend Jesse hanging out our passenger side front window being sick all over the B.C. interior and the side of our van. At the same moment Jesse finally decided he had orally removed enough of the celebration from the night before we were struck once again with a vehicular problem… The passenger side window wouldn’t go up. Sure a wonderful way to enjoy a spring afternoon but of course it’s not a typical spring afternoon in The Artist Life; it is cold and snowy and minus ten degrees. Needless to say we got the window up after Jesse fiddled around with the switch and we were well on our way to Kelowna. Vanna Montana: 3, The Artist Life: 3.

We are now in Edmonton and are gearing up for show number three of the tour! We had a hell of a trek from Kelowna, B.C. and because we’re now backtracking from our dead head drive this tour is beginning to feel a lot like the movie ‘Groundhog Day.’ And for those who are wondering, I did indeed have a second chance with Trevor and this time it WAS successful. “Hi Trevor, my name is Ian and I play in The Artist Life. Thanks so much for having us on the tour. We’re so stoked!” We shook hands and off he went to answer the screaming call of thousands of sweaty punk rock fans. 

We’re on tour for the next 3 weeks; hopefully we’ll see you guys at the show.  More updates are on their way.


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