Author Archives: fordhampr

20191003_143531

OSVALDO “OZZIE” NAPOLI OPENS HIS 2ND SOLO SHOW @ URBAN GALLERY (runs throughout October 2019)

Yesterday, Sat. Oct 5th, multi-media artist Osvaldo Napoli launched his latest solo show E-POQUE at Toronto’s Urban Gallery.  I spoke with Ozzie earlier in the week and he shared his thoughts and inspirations for his current works…

We walked around the gallery together as Ozzie told me the stories behind each piece….20191003_140159 20191003_140226 20191003_140352Across one wall, Ozzie showed me his collection of “smalls” – each incorporating computer & tech salvage into the artwork to tell the story of humanity intersecting with technology.

20191003_140356 20191003_140405 20191003_140636 20191003_140759…and one piece in particular, Ozzie told me, focuses on the issue of cyber-bullying and how technology impacts the young via social media.

Ozzie will be in the gallery every Saturday during October between 3-6pm to meet with art lovers and share his unique perspectives on technology and the human condition.  URBAN GALLERY, 400 Queen St East, Toronto www.UrbanGallery.caIMG_215420191003_140217 20191003_140242 20191003_140327

20191005_134720

WELCOME TO TORONTO’S FALL “THE BABY SHOW”- EVERYTHING FOR EVERY LITTLE PERSON!

Well wasn’t that a fun time?! Not having kids of my own, I’ve never been around little people for any length of time but today I had a blast with lots of mummies, daddies and adorable tots at The Baby Show currently hosted in the Enercare Centre (Hall B) at Exhibition Place, Toronto. The show runs throughout this weekend – 1 more day left Sunday Oct. 6 – so hurry on down for all sorts of freebies, samples, information on baby’s health, food, furniture, fashions and lots of booths promoting support services for new mums and dads, too. Here’s the show’s Founder Sandy Pedrogao to tell you all about it…

Along with hundreds of families, I wandered around the aisles, meeting some of the vendors and learning so much about 21st century parenthood versus how my mum & dad raised me in the 50’s & 60’s…give the kid a cardboard box, some string and a wooden spoon and voila…there’s your toys, Glenda…haa haa!

Loved these folks (below) from www.babynimbus.com who offer cute onesies and other fun things with doodles and pics from local artists. 20191005_145434I then met the charming couple (pictured below) operating www.thebabymamabox.com a monthly subscription box offering all sorts of samples and goodies delivered to your door. Boxes are customized for various age groups and also offer boxes just for mama herself. Products are hand-picked and mama tested so you’re sure to get the best.20191005_135656Here’s talented baker Walaa Alwan of Fantasy Cookies (yummm) who creates all sorts of delicious and oh-so-pretty cookies for special occasions like baby showers, christenings, baby’s 1st birthday…even engagement parties and wedding favours (get a head start on growing your family)  www.fantasycookieco.com20191005_141259(0) 20191005_141310Just along the aisle from Walaa, I ran into the crafty lady who knits & crochets cute critters for cute kids under the name www.monimon.ca  They are soooo adorable and it reminded me of toys my mum used to knit for my sister and me back in the 60’s – I still have a little penguin she made me….aaaaaw.20191005_141407www.mondobebe.com (below) offered a very elegant booth with luxury furniture and accessories for the most discerning babes. They have stores in Quebec and one a little closer in Mississauga.20191005_135953The Baby Brands Gift Club was a hive of activity as they gave out all sorts of treats, samples and informative brochures and magazines to show attendees. As you can see by the photo below, they were very popular!  Check out all the brand name products they offer at www.babybrandsgiftclub.ca 20191005_141524So I was thrilled (and surprised) that all the wee ones were quiet and I witnessed very few tantrums or crying. I guess the babies picked up on the vibe that this show was just for them! There were samples and contests for parents and lots of booths offering comfortable changing facilities as well as peaceful feeding areas curtained off to provide privacy and calmness.20191005_141138 20191005_145541 20191005_145206Congratulations to Sandy and her publicist Jakki for a successful showcase of all things baby! Follow them on Fcbk: TheBabyShowToronto  as well as Instagram: @TheBabyShows. Watch for announcements for their Spring show here in Toronto.logo

20190920_154954

CRUISING ABOARD THE “LADY MUSKOKA” VIEWING LUXURY WATERFRONT HOMES & COZY FAMILY CABINS

What a restful way to spend a late summer day out in cottage country. Last week I spied an intriguing ad in the Toronto Star promoting lunch cruises (2 3/4 hrs) with convenient coach pick-up in Toronto, courtesy of www.canadiandaytrippers.com  So I decided to join other like-minded folks and enjoy a leisurely trip and a fabulous 3-course luncheon aboard the Lady Muskoka.20190920_131040After about a one and 1/2hr drive north of Toronto, we arrived dockside to find our boat waiting, all decked out with flowers and food, courtesy of the chef from the adjacent Quality Inn. Bus was parked, a quick refresher in the hotel’s loos then off we went.20190920_132300As we chugged along the channel out into the lake, we were served a delicious selection of main courses, with a yummy fresh salad to start; they need to bottle and sell that salad dressing…yum! I chose grilled rainbow trout as my main course and it was…mmmmmm…so good. The mashed potatoes were the best I’d tasted in years! Sorry, no food pics ‘coz all my plates disappeared very quickly…haa haa.  I chose a great seat next to a big open picture window so I was able to snap away as the scenery went by. 20190920_142833 20190920_151243Lunch service completed, guests scurried up the gangway to the top deck to take in the full glory of Lake Muskoka and what a view we had…

The late summer sun was glorious and we all enjoyed the breeze coming off the water.20190920_15302620190920_151842 20190920_152309 20190920_154143After cruising around the vastness of the main lake, our captain guided us through some small channels, visiting the cozy more traditional Canadian cabins…20190920_153720 20190920_16191920190920_162529 20190920_162543Even  Bambi and his mum came out to greet us. I couldn’t believe these deer posed for us without darting back into the wood. I spied them as the boat came round a bend and everyone got their cameras and phones out…snap snap snap. I also alerted fellow sailors to some wild turkeys waddling across one cottage garden, fattening themselves up for Thanksgiving dinner…yummmm!

It was a great way to spend the day visiting all the little islands and fancy-schmancy homes lining the giant lake. Big thank you to the bus driver and Debbie, our guide and hostess-with-the-mostest from Canadian Day Trippers. Their one day get-aways are geared to seniors of all physical abilities (loved seeing all the kindness and care given those a little less physically adept) but everyone became “kids goin’ to camp” with lots of laughter and great conversations. I’ve found my tribe!  Next trip will be on the York-Durham Heritage Railway in late October to view the fall colours throughout the Oakridges Moraine. I cannot wait so why not join me?  www.canadiandaytrippers.com20190920_153159

 

20190905_161809

URBAN GALLERY PRESENTS VAYA’s FIRST TORONTO SOLO SHOW THROUGHOUT SEPTEMBER ’19

Swiss-born painter, photographer and performance artist VAYA has her first solo show in Toronto, CHILD OF ROCK, at Urban Gallery, 400 Queen St East, throughout the month of September. The opening reception took place Thurs. Sept. 5th and gallery visitors were thrilled to meet the charming and engaging artist in person and viewing her unique artworks that included large format B&W fashion photographs and paintings built upon underlying photographic images of the artist herself. 20190905_165758Pictured above: Vaya, 2nd from L, is joined by her husband as well as gallery director, Calvin Hambrook (L) and curator Allen Shugar (R)

The show also features a stunning portrait of pop culture idol, Jim Morrison, in an acrylic and oil print on textile… Vaya created a huge canvas especially for this show that takes up much of the gallery’s rear wall!20190905_161642An incisive & provocative artist, VAYA explores, mixes, meets and transcribes the darkness in the angels’ voices. An energetic claw on each canvas, VAYA dances as she works and often by candlelight to be closer to the imperceptible. “It’s always a discovery the next day in daylight.”

She also employs a camera to share her creativity, “A way of getting out of yourself and becoming your own observer is fun and fascinating”.  VAYA has fun, dances, writes prayers on the souls of her music legend subjects.  “I like to pay tribute to those who have suffered so much, laying some particles of peace over their restless souls – isn’t that the artist’s role? Transfigure suffering into masterpieces? 20190905_16165120190905_164658In her own words….meet Vaya:

20190905_172710 20190905_161827Local artist Jennifer Hossein was welcomed to the gallery by Calvin… (below)20190905_173002…and Allen welcomed first time visitors Maryam and her budding artist daughter Ayda (below)20190905_180359(0)Of course, everyone wanted to check out Vaya’s exquisite footwear which were works of art themselves!20190905_183035If you’d like to learn more about this exciting new (to Toronto) artist, you can join Vaya at the gallery this coming Thursday Sept. 19 (6-7pm) for a special live performance of her music, dance and art. RSVP to attend: info@urbangallery.ca

CHILD OF ROCK runs until September 28th @ Urban Gallery, 400 Queen St East, Toronto  www.UrbanGallery.ca 20190905_164710

20190816_132543

VISITING MY ANCIENT RELATIVES AT THE ROYAL ONTARIO MUSEUM

It’s been a while since I took a spin around the galleries at Toronto’s ROM and as I’d been given a “golden ticket” to view the Treasures of a Desert Kingdom: The Royal Arts of Jodhpur, India (selected photos at end of blog) exhibition, I decided to capitalize on the all-access pass and take in some of my favourite displays, in particular the Etruscans (from whom I believe I am descended), the ancient Romans & Greeks, followed by the European 15th – 20th centuries for good measure. 20190816_131117 20190816_131354There were some exquisite jewellery displays of Etruscan baubles I’d never previously viewed – now I know from where I get my passion for carnelians & garnets…20190816_131723 20190816_132951 20190816_13294120190816_131423 20190816_131510Moving thru the various centuries of ancient civilization, so many great photo opps presented themselves….20190816_131645 20190816_131225 20190816_132135The Athena Parthenos (above) is recreated here with a model worshiper (bottom right) to show the original scale of this magnificent Greek goddess statue. And I loved the Cypriot busts (below) – the laurel crowned fellow on the right looks like he’s just been told an off-colour joke!20190816_132451Through a set of doors and around a corner, I spied the “In the Age of Rembrandt” exhibition so I flashed my VIP pass and in I went…20190816_133126Such beauty and elegance…several Dutch masters painting during the same era as Rembrandt are featured and as you pass thru the exit of this gallery, you’re bade farewell by a pair of Rembrandt’s stunning portraits…20190816_133253 20190816_13335920190816_133827I then proceeded into more recent centuries and viewed the room-scapes set up so visitors can get a taste of furnishings and lifestyles from the Tudors to the mid-20th century.20190816_134136 20190816_134217 20190816_134402 20190816_134507 20190816_135349Don’t you just love these mid-century modern chairs (above)? And haven’t we all had our bums in some of these seats, too?

Now back to the Indian exhibit – it closes Sept. 2nd and it’s well worth the museum entry fee just to see it. Stunning artworks, furnishings, royal jewellery & costumes…so much to admire and wonder at.20190816_123245 20190816_123306 20190816_123625 20190816_123639 20190816_124832 20190816_12514220190816_125426Check out the Royal Ontario Museum’s website for hours & directions: www.rom.on.ca/en

 

 

IMG-1032

URBAN GALLERY OPENS “HOT TOWN, SUMMER IN THE CITY” GROUP SHOW, RUNS UNTIL AUG.31ST

Yesterday, the gallery was hopping with art lovers, friends and family of the seven featured artists in the August show HOT TOWN, SUMMER IN THE CITY which runs all month at Urban Gallery, 400 Queen St East, Toronto.20190810_144320 20190810_141319 20190810_140508The talented artists whose work covers the gallery walls are: Kris Bovenizer, Kirk Sutherland, Aisha Chiguichon, Moses Salihou, Michelle Hudson, Liliana Vera and Andres Valencia Zava, most of whom were present yesterday at the official launch reception.
Below, contemporary artist Moses Salihou, (originally from Cameroon, now living in Toronto) and his lovely wife Catherine pose in front of 2 of his 3 canvases…Moses & Catherineand below, gallery regular Kirk Sutherland whose work is represented in more than 15 int’l galleries, proudly showed off his “Metropolitan Panorama”20190810_142315…and here’s self-taught contemporary artist Michelle Hudson with her 3 colourful pieces painted on Yupo paper:Michelle Hudson with her artworksKris Bovenizer, who has previously exhibited at the gallery, also teaches traditional print-making, showed off 2 of her hand-pulled relief prints…20190810_144209Aisha Chiguichon came to the gallery ready to party and shared a toast with one of the gallery’s photographers. She’s self-taught and her colour palette has been inspired by her childhood in the Caribbean. Cheers, Aisha!Aisha Chiguichon with her artworks-1Unfortunately, I was not able to stay to meet up with Liliana or Andres but their works were exciting and stimulating, and very evocative of their own personal summer experiences. Their works are below, in order as mentioned: IMG-1027 (1) IMG-1031

The show runs until the end of August so if you’d like to enjoy viewing these paintings in air conditioned comfort, visit the gallery’s website for hours and directions: www.UrbanGallery.ca

And if you’d like to learn more about the artists, here are some weblinks or social media addresses for you to peruse:
@moses_salihou (IG)
www.kirksutherland.com
www.michellehudsonart.ca
www.krismadethis.com
@thecatintherain (IG – Liliana Vera)
www.capturethesoulcreations.com   (Aisha Chiguichon)
www.facebook.com/Andres-Valencia-ZavaIMG_5574

Summer Sumach

ARTIST ALLEN SHUGAR UNVEILS MAGNIFICENT COMMISSIONED INSTALLATION IN TORONTO

This past Wednesday, artist and curator for Urban Gallery ALLEN SHUGAR unveiled his stunning “Summer Sumachs” painting installed in the new luxury Chartwell retirement residence called The Sumach located on…Sumach Street (of course!) in downtown Toronto.20190717_145310Located inside the entrance foyer, the 3 x 3 panel painting overlooks the reception desk where residents and visitors can enjoy viewing Allen’s interpretation of the native sumach tree in full bloom – perfect for brightening up those grey winter days. I took the opportunity to briefly interview the artist about this work……

Allen, congratulations on your recently unveiled installation at the new Chartwell retirement residence in downtown Toronto. Being on Sumach Street, your painting featuring the colourful sumach tree on multiple panels fits perfectly into the space – tell us how you were contacted for this commissioned work.   At Urban Gallery, we occasionally receive requests from companies (in this case Daniels Corporation) for artists to submit proposals for commissioned art works. In the past, we have passed these requests on to artists who have exhibited in the gallery and whose work we felt was particularly suited to the project – resulting in some successful and lucrative commissions for those artists! I myself had never responded to one of these requests before, but this one really sounded like it was right in line with the type of work I like to do, so I thought, why not! 

How long did this magnificent work take to complete, and in what medium did you work?   The painting is oil-on-canvas. I was on a very strict schedule in order to meet a pre-established installation date. I had just slightly over 2 months to complete the work and this had to include enough drying time (oil paint is slow to dry) so that the pieces could be handled safely for installation. It was a very tight timeline for a painting of this scale and I really had to work furiously in order to meet the deadline! 

Did the client give you certain parameters or directions as to content and style of your work?   A lot of my paintings are nature studies and it was some of those that I sent off as examples of the type of work I was proposing. The client was particularly interested in a painting of mine called TRANSITORY FOREST which is painted on 9 panels and totals 6 feet square in size. They requested a painting of the same size and format but they wanted Sumach, in full summer bloom, as the subject matter. This made perfect sense with the new building being called The Sumach Building, located on Sumach Street in downtown Toronto and it suited me just fine, because I’ve always admired Sumach trees and this gave me the opportunity to paint them. 

As the curator of Urban Gallery (since it opened in 2012) who is responsible for working directly with the individual guest artists organizing the hanging of each month’s shows, how does it feel to see your own work presented in such a fashion?   I’m very pleased to have this work installed in a public location. It’s on a scale that would make it unlikely to find a home in a private residence and here, in the lobby of The Sumach Building, it can be enjoyed by all the residents and their guests throughout the year. I think it might be particularly appreciated in the winter when it can almost stand in for that much missed glimpse of green from a window.20190717_145314Any other commissions on the horizon, and how about any upcoming shows of your work at the gallery?   I did complete another commission just before starting on this one. It was a smaller work painted on 3 panels for a residential installation. It was also a nature study entitled “Morning Mist” (pictured below) and depicted a branch of a Ginkgo tree in Autumn colour. At the moment, I am busy working on a number of paintings with a wide variety of subjects – nature, figurative and abstract – which I hope will become part of my next show at Urban Gallery.  Morning MistThanks to hosts Katrina (Lifestyle & Programs Mgr) and Margaret (Gen’l Manager for the building) for arranging the visit and hosting an artist talk with a group of residents who were interested in the art hanging in the various community rooms in the building. Here, Allen engages with his very enthusiastic audience…20190717_160459 20190717_161409We were also given a tour of this new residence by Katrina and oh my, the attention to detail in the fixtures and fittings…wow! They have a small cinema, a reading room, a games room, a well-appointed gym, a large rooftop patio and a fabulous full-service dining room; there are several layouts & sizes for the rental units all with washer/dryers, dishwashers…all the mod cons. The Sumach offers a selection of personal services for those needing a little extra care, too. Definitely worth checking out if you are planning for retirement. www.thesumachbychartwell.com

To learn about Allen, visit his website www.allenshugar.com to see past and current artworks, and feel free to drop into Urban Gallery, 400 Queen St East, Toronto, to view works he’s curated for other artists. urbangallery.ca 

20170907_164330Above, Allen poses in front of his previous multi-panel installation at Urban Gallery for his 2017 solo show

VOLUPTUOUS by Nicolas Pearson oil and twine on Canvas 60 x 36 2010 copy

URBAN GALLERY HOSTS NICOLAS PEARSON’S SOLO SHOW “IMAGINARY NONSENSE” FOR MONTH OF JULY, 2019

The first thing you notice when entering Urban Gallery this month is the riot of colour! Big, bold and full of energy, each canvas offers stunning graphics, mixed media and just simply….joy. Local artist NICOLAS PEARSON delivers an exciting solo show in Imaginary Nonsense: A kaleidoscopic journey of abstraction through painting which runs through July 31st at Toronto’s leading non-commission gallery located at 400 Queen Street East…and it’s well air-conditioned for those who find the heat and humidity unbearable (like this writer). Here’s Nicolas to tell you about his art and his inspirations….

My work is primarily abstract oil and acrylic paintings. I produce my work in a subconscious manner where I start with an idea and jump into the painting, changing my vision as I go through the process as inspiration hits me. Inspiration comes from my fascination for the natural world and random mundane items I encounter in my daily life that enthuse me. Anything can be a visual stimulant and can be incorporated in my art, the idea that anything and everything can become art gives me motivation. I started this fascination when I experimented with mixed media collage using everyday buttons off a dress shirt or jacket. These items, which would normally just form a practical purpose, are now being used to create an artistic expression. I also use twine, cheesecloth and impasto painting techniques to create texture and areas of interest in my work. – Nicolas Pearson

Born and raised in Toronto Canada, Nicolas attended the McMichael Art Gallery summer camp for art where he would later work for a few years. He studied fine art and art history at the University of Toronto’s joint program with Sheridan Collage, graduating in summer 2012. During university, he also participated in a summer study abroad program for Modern Art History, with a focus on Italian Art in Siena, Italy, in 2010.  He was also involved in several group shows including the Chancellors Exhibition at the University of Toronto 3 years in a row, and a one-day pop-up show at the Gladstone Hotel.

Today, his latest works were admired by gallery visitors and friends…20190713_14180720190713_141652 20190713_141917 20190713_142012Here is the artist with gallery curator Allen Shugar (below), and gallery owner Calvin Hambrook (lower)20190713_14193620190713_141640(0)..and sharing the camera with one of his energy-filled paintings (below)20190713_134946Here are some exquisite close-ups/details from some of his work….20190713_131155 20190713_131202 20190713_142156 20190713_142335The show runs throughout the month of July, closing on the 31st, with another opportunity to meet the artist on Sat. July 27th (2-4pm) so we hope you will join us to celebrate this talented Canadian artist.  Space is limited so kindly RSVP to: info@urbangallery.ca20190713_144330

Urban Gallery, 400 Queen St East (just E of Parliament)
www.UrbanGallery.ca

20190621_110607

AUTHOR GEORDIE TELFER TACKLES CANADA’S 100YR HISTORIC COLD-CASE CRIME WITH NEW BOOK, HOGTOWN EMPIRE!

I’d like to introduce you to my newest client, author GEORDIE TELFER and I’m excited to put all my publicity skills into marketing and promoting his thrilling new book, HOGTOWN EMPIRE, due for release later in the fall, just in time for seasonal gift-giving. Geordie explores all the urban myths and mysteries surrounding the infamous disappearance of Toronto theatre impresario Ambrose Small 100 years ago after he completed a million dollar transaction for the sale of his  theatre and opera house properties…and then disappeared into the chilly night, never to be seen again.thumbnail BanksMillionVanishes_Jan51920 copyGeordie is a seasoned writer with numerous books on various subjects published by the same publishing house as my own NASCAR & Formula One books, Folklore Books, so it was synchronistic when I received his email asking for promotional assistance with his new book – but I’ll let him tell you about his literary background in his own words…

Found on Amazon.ca, some of Geordie’s previous books include…th (7) th (3) th (1) thWith a forward by Toronto’s official historian and respected author Bruce Bell, Hogtown Empire will launch on Oct. 22nd at The Dominion on Queen St East in Toronto, so watch Fordham PR’s social media for news and invitations.65623916_426252168022775_7484804073259008000_nThen on the actual date of the 100th anniversary of Small’s disappearance (December 2nd) Geordie will be hosting a VIP reception in the Vault lounge in the basement of 1 King West Hotel & Condos – the original location of The Dominion Bank where Ambrose Small conducted his final business transaction.  20190610_201111 20190610_200721The original bank vault is still there (see title photo) and as you can see, it has a mighty big and impenetrable door!

For more news on this tantalizing true-crime book, visit the official website: www.HogtownEmpire.comambrose_small WhatHappenedMystery copy

20190608_153050

URBAN GALLERY HOSTS OPENING RECEPTION FOR BRIAN GIBSON’S SOLO SHOW “ICONS” FOR PRIDE MONTH

Throughout June, Toronto celebrates its LGBTQ community and each year URBAN GALLERY hosts an art exhibition as part of the city’s PRIDE festivities. Pride2019-CommunityEventLogo_Black with colour copy

This year, hyper-realist portrait artist BRIAN GIBSON is launching his ongoing project ICONS featuring legends from Hollywood and the music industry. This past Saturday, the gallery was filled with Brian’s family, friends and fans, along with a DJ spinning tunes by some of his artistic subjects. Brian (below left) and his partner, Danny (below right) enjoyed sharing stories behind each portrait and how each star has impacted Brian’s work in this special ongoing series of paintings.  20190608_164818Portraiture has been a historic representation of society and the continuing similarities found in the human experience. Hair & clothing styles may change but we are fundamentally the same throughout time. ~ Brian Gibson.

Gallery curator Allen Shugar (below R) really enjoyed hanging this show and being surrounded by such famous faces…as did gallery director Calvin Hambrook (below L)20190608_15513220190608_153236 20190608_153115 20190608_153227 20190608_154843Even a young Sophia Loren made an appearance alongside Judy Garland (below)20190608_153111The guests were enthralled by the uncanny likenesses…20190608_153212 20190608_153527…and Brian was happy to chat with everyone and pose for photos…20190608_15434620190608_16441620190608_154328The whole gallery was a-buzz with people sharing memories of concerts attended or movies they watched starring these “icons”…20190608_154356 20190608_154426 20190608_163349 20190608_164121

ICONS runs until June 29th so we look forward to introducing you to Cher, Marilyn, Doris, Rock and Prince!
URBAN GALLERY, 400 Queen St East, Toronto
www.urbangallery.ca

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MARILYN by Brian Gibson Redford