We caught up with the former co-owner at Southern Accent and now artist Robin Grindley at home in St. Thomas, Ontario and talked all things Southern Accent and his art show coming up this weekend during brunch Saturday and Sunday. See what he has to say right here:
Tell us about your history with Southern Accent?
I came to work with Frances in the Rosedale Diner in the 70s. I used to walk past and think “I really want to work there”. I loved my 7 years there, we had so much fun, me Frances, Rosaleen, Billy, Dick and Dubi (names that will ring a bell for Southern Accent fans). Back in those days I used to drink, but not anymore. I moved to Southern Accent with Frances in 1984 staying there for 15 years until I was worn out! People always tell you how to get a job, nobody ever offers advice on how best to leave one.
How did you get in to painting?
A painting by Karen Scarth used to hang upstairs at Southern Accent. Karen now lives in Vancouver and we gave Frances that painting as a gift for her birthday. Boy was she mad! I loved that painting and Karen really inspired me to paint.
When did you start painting?
In 1984 right around the time I stopped drinking just before my parents died and gave me the money to invest in Southern Accent. I never looked back. I painted the whole time I was at Southern Accent, for around 15 years and began hanging my paintings on the walls. I had one show and made a lot of money at the time and I thought, ‘wow, I can do this for a living.’
When did you start these annual shows?
Soon after I stopped working at Southern Accent we started hosting annual shows. We love coming to the city, Neil and I. Its so social, we see all of our friends in such a short period of time.
Anything we should look forward to this year?
I’m looking forward to seeing all of the usual faces and this is the first show at Southern Accent’s brand new location. We are looking forward to seeing a bunch of new faces too, and of course the usual great food.
What about the artwork?
I have started painting in oil. Its wonderful and refreshing, like starting all over again! Its a new medium for me, its buttery and delicious, I just love it and I hope everybody else does too!