Author Archives: fordhampr

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URBAN GALLERY OPENS THEIR DELICIOUS “ART OF FOOD” GROUP SHOW

Be prepared to leave hungry when you visit URBAN GALLERY‘s yummy “ART OF FOOD” group show that runs throughout August. The paintings are simply delicious with works featuring both sweet and savory images and some that are even thought-provoking such as Judy Sherman‘s collection of farmyard beasties striking back against their potential farm-to-plate future (below)20180811_134718

20180811_142825Anushka Deshpande‘s art is called “quilling” which is sculpting and rolling paper to create stunning representations of her subjects, like these (I love the tropical cocktail).20180811_135307 20180811_140336 20180811_140257Anushka is pictured above (centre) with (L to R) her husband, a friend, Calvin Hambrook (gallery director) and Allen Shugar (gallery curator).

Lisa Hemeon is best known for her evocative seascapes and you can imagine all the fishies swimming just under the surface, waiting for lines to be cast with big juicy baits. Look closely and imagine dinner just below Lisa’s waves…20180811_134803

Aisha Chiguichon brought wine…or at least a lovely painting of wine…to go with the colourful forks skewering treats for gallery visitors! Aisha is a self-taught visual artist and it’s obvious she delights in her inspirations for this show.20180811_134505URBAN SOURCE CATERING partnered with the gallery to present some real “art” of food – just look at this delicious spread for gallery visitors to enjoy and admire, prepared by executive chef Lyndon Wiebe.20180811_135017 20180811_135035 20180811_13504920180811_135029One of Urban Catering’s previous employees, Valerie J. McMurray, is also an artist of some note. Here is her triptych titled “Spanish Lemons” – you can almost smell the fragrance emanating from her juicy, ripe fruit.20180811_134559Janna Kroupko has previously exhibited at Urban Gallery, both in group and solo shows. Here, her delightful “Cherries” sits elegantly above the buffet table. She’s also an accomplished textile artist and weaver.20180811_134631 CHERRIES 12_ x 12_ oil on canvas by Janna KroupkoUrban Catering’s chef, Lyndon Wiebe, loves photography as well as food and has previously exhibited his photos from tours around the world (Lyndon is one of the chefs featured in the tv series “Chefs Run Wild”). Here he shares a couple of his storefront photos…20180811_134642Popular Toronto artist Kirk Sutherland brought three distinctly different artworks to the show, all featuring his signature colourful imaginative energy.  With titles such as Theatre of Saccharine and Confectionery Planetarium, Kirk’s work fits perfectly into this group show.20180811_134651 20180811_152632Even NEWZ4U editor KJ Mullins was entranced by Kirk’s work! (below)20180811_134709Gallery visitors enjoyed the art, the food and the chance to meet and chat with so many artists…20180811_135621 20180811_145430 20180811_140038ART OF FOOD runs until August 31st at Urban Gallery, 400 Queen St East, Toronto (1 block E of Parliament). For directions and gallery hours visit:  www.urbangallery.ca

BOOK COVER

PSYCHOTHERAPIST, HOLISTIC NUTRITIONIST & NOW AUTHOR, KRISTINA VIRRO HELPS PARENTS & TEACHERS TACKLE TEEN STRESS

With rates of anxiety hitting catastrophic numbers among today’s youth, the question begs to be asked: “why are teens so darn anxious in the first place and what can we do to help?”  Relying on her firsthand experience giving hundreds of hours of therapy to teens, parents and families, author KRISTINA VIRRO takes a deeper look into this unsettling phenomenon to locate some of its root causes and possible solutions in her first book, THE ANXIOUS TEEN.

I recently spoke with Kristina and asked about her background and then about the inspiration for this book which offers valuable advice for parents, teachers and grand-parents and the teens in their lives.

As a psychotherapist and holistic nutritionist, I look at how the different parts of your life shape who you are, from your innermost beliefs about yourself to your eating and exercise habits.  I prioritize being transparent, non-judgmental, and supportive, while also challenging some of the seemingly automatic beliefs and thoughts you may have that prevent you from meeting your goals. I also pride myself on being open-minded and anti-oppressive in my work.   Models of therapy I am trained in and have been inspired by include: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, Narrative Therapy, Emotionally Focused Therapy, and Trauma-Informed Care. – Kristina Virro.KRISTINA

What inspired this book focusing on teen stresses and anxieties and how parents/teachers can support or resolve these issues?  A main component of my master’s program involved being a full-time therapist intern who worked with individuals, couples and families in the community. It became clear very quickly that practically every single teenager and university student was struggling with anxiety. On top of that, the university I was studying at witnessed a shocking number of suicides among its undergraduate students that year. I couldn’t help but wonder why these teenagers’ concerns seemingly hadn’t been addressed before coming to university, and I was curious about how I could help parents, teachers and mentors take a more preventative approach to their teenagers’ mental health.th (4)

How was your own life – did you experience any major anxieties and if so, how did you deal with them?  I had taken a very organized, methodical approach to academia when I was younger: everything was planned out perfectly and by the age of 22 I’d completed my first master’s degree in journalism. After a few years in field though, I realized it wasn’t the best fit and I had to do a bit of soul searching. That’s when I experienced a crippling amount of anxiety. I’d gone from being someone who was “ahead of the game” with their entire life planned out to someone who didn’t know their purpose while their friends were working their way up in the real world. It was really, really hard. I dealt with it by seeing an amazing therapist who helped me get to know myself better and develop my resilience. IMG_2587 (1)

You have a background in various therapies, can you tell us how this expertise aided the creation of this book?  I gained so much insight about anxiety through providing family therapy to different people. Meeting with teenagers alone is one thing; you can discuss different strategies, coping mechanisms and other tools, but when you meet with the whole family, you can see pretty quickly how different dynamics might be contributing to the anxiety. What’s useful, though, is that from there you can see how everyone can be part of the solution as well.

What are a few of the signs that parents, teachers or mentors need to heed as potential ticking time-bombs when dealing with a “moody teen”?  Firstly, it’s important to be able to differentiate between when a teen is being moody versus showing symptoms of a legitimate mental health disorder. Everyone gets moody sometimes, but mental health disorders tend to change a person in more drastic ways such as affecting their eating habits, discouraging them from partaking in activities they once enjoyed, or isolating themselves. You can also learn a lot by just listening to how teenagers talk about themselves or life in general. Do they frequently put themselves down? Are they constantly worrying about the future? Are they unable to highlight any of their strengths? These could all be signs that an anxiety disorder is at play.th (2)

What do you hope readers gain by the time they turn the last page of your book?  I hope readers will realize that decreasing rates of anxiety in teens isn’t just a “teenage issue.” I’ve seen so many parents bring their kids to therapy in the hopes that I’ll “fix them,” when in reality, there are so many cultural, familial and generational factors that influence why teens are so anxious today. But parents, schools, friends and more can all contribute to helping teens feel more supported, too. I hope readers will be reminded that we all need to work together on this.

Any advice or assurances you can give readers that their “kids are alright”?  When a kid is struggling, it’s easy to become so consumed by the problem that we forget about their strengths. But the truth is teens are very resilient, malleable, resourceful individuals, which makes working with them very rewarding. They teach me so much and possess so many qualities that allow change to happen, and we need to remember to harness these.

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So whether you’re a worried parent or frustrated teacher, this book provides practical tips and useful tools designed to reduce symptoms of anxiety in teens and increase caregivers’ abilities to cope, too.

The eBook is available now via Amazon & iBooks for $9.99 or $20 for hard copy [ISBN #978-1-9994279] (see weblink below for book  purchase) and Kristina will be presenting several book signings and workshops across the GTA in the fall so watch for announcements here on this blog or via her website or social media.

www.fresh-insight.ca/shop-1

www.facebook.com/TheAnxiousTeen  

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GO WILD! Toronto’s Urban Gallery unveils July’s group show “Wild in the City”

Yesterday, Saturday July 7, URBAN GALLERY 400 Queen St East in Toronto was packed with guests to celebrate the opening of their month-long group show, Wild in the City. Featured artists include Erik Chong, Libby Sims and Osvaldo Napoli who were in attendance, plus works from Lindsey MacKay who was unable to attend in person – she resides in Fredericton, NB. Take a virtual walk thru the gallery with me now…

The gallery filled up quickly once the doors opened at 2pm and lots of ooo’s and aaah’s were heard as visitors discovered the stunning and provocative paintings and sculptures.  Erick Chong (below) has exhibited at Urban several times over the past 4 or 5 years and for this show, he brought a whole new style and theme to the show.20180707_133652Erik has several videos showcasing his unique style and technique – get to know this artist here:

I’ve followed Libby Sims‘ work for sometime – she creates beautiful abstract florals in bold colours and strokes, along with other subjects and shapes. A mature artist, Libby has studied abroad and has developed her distinct style that is instantly recognizable. 20180707_134058 20180707_131749Osvaldo “Ozzie” Napoli (below) is another mature artist although he is relatively new to the mainstream Toronto arts scene.  His wire sculptures and large format multi-medium artworks create quite the statement and Ozzie’s fans turned out in force to see his latest work.20180707_13374520180707_131707The fourth artist feature in Wild in the CityLindsey MacKay, was unable to attend in person – she resides on the East Coast. But her art spoke loudly for her, featuring people, places and activities found around the city. I personally love the wild eyed seagull featured in her “You Lookin’ at Me?” painting (below).20180707_131836And I like Lindsey’s “In the Moment” painting (below) – reminds me of Toronto’s “Salsa on St Clair” – this weekend’s annual street fair of dancing and Latin culture.20180707_131840So many interesting and thought-provoking images to enjoy, I hope you get a chance to drop by Urban Gallery this month to see Wild in the City yourself.  For gallery hours and directions, visit:  www.urbangallery.ca

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COMEDIAN GLEN FOSTER ENJOYS INDIAN-STYLE FEAST @ TORONTO’S LEELA INDIAN FOOD BAR

Comedian Glen Foster and I go way back…waaaaaay back to when Yuk Yuk’s ruled the Toronto entertainment scene and Canada was enjoying it’s “golden era” of stand-up comedy in the 1980’s. Over the years, Glen (pictured below) has performed at comedy festivals, had his own TV specials, headlined shows in the biggest clubs around the country and has made thousands of people laugh, especially as “That Canadian Guy”, a personae perfected and showcased on stage and on the air.Head_shot_0089Now co-host of the hilarious “Hump Dump Live” radio show on Funny820-AM (Wednesdays noon to 1pm) along with fellow comedian and writer Lawrence Morgenstern, Glen recently joined me for lunch at Leela Indian Food Bar in Toronto’s Junction neighbourhood – Leela is one of the radio show’s advertisers so why not see/taste what everyone has been talking about: deelish authentic Indian cuisine served in a modest yet hipster-friendly environment located at 3108 Dundas St West.

Providing the perfect balance of quality, taste and presentation of dhaba-style Indian food, Leela’s takes you on a journey through the old streets of India’s big cities and small villages where the aroma of spices welcomes you and the mouthwatering flavors keep you engaged with the authentic Indian preparations as well as innovative Indo-Canadian cuisine.  A bit of a mouthful description but Glen easily polished off  kale & spinach pakoras, vegetarian samosas, butter chicken and lamb biryani….

…but did leave enough to take home to share with his family for dinner!20180621_134749Leela has comfortable seating (pictured below) and an extensive menu offering vegetarian and Gluten-free choices, with prompt home delivery service, too. Easy access for those with strollers or wheelchairs (washrooms, too)20180409_14161620180409_141721You can learn more about Glen and Lawrence via their show website http://www.humpdumplive.com/ and watch for Glen performing live at Toronto’s leading comedy clubs.0110And if you’d like to taste the scrumptious dishes that Leela serves (and customizes for your preferred level of “heat” and spice) check out their online menu at www.leelaindianfoodbar.ca or just drop in to the restaurant at 3108 Dundas St West (just W of Quebec Ave) 7 days a week.dishes 15777

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URBAN GALLERY LAUNCHES “PROUD ART” GROUP SHOW CELEBRATING 2018’s PRIDE MONTH!

This past Saturday (June 9), Toronto’s leading indie gallery, URBAN GALLERY, launched their annual Pride group show celebrating the talented artists, friends and families from the local LGBTQ community.  Featuring the works of Hank Blondeau, Jean Fode, Jeffrey Mason and Vanessa Storoniak, the gallery soon filled with enthusiastic visitors and art collectors.20180609_150750I had the opportunity of chatting with the artists who shared their own stories of artistic inspiration with me via video interviews. First up is Hank Blondeau ….20180609_134030

20180609_133958 20180609_134104Sailors Delight Morning H BlondeauI then spoke with Jean Fode who discovered art and her creativity later in life and who is now enjoying the art of collage.20180609_134401

20180609_151003 20180609_134411Jeffrey Mason has a unique take on the world and his humorous portraits of politi-cats definitely provoke conversation as well as laughs!20180609_145927

FourHousecatsApocalypse Holy Ghost Machine20180609_135535(0)Vanessa Storoniak (below) brought in her large acrylic-on-canvas geometric abstracts which, to me, look like glorious flowers in a series of beautiful colour palettes. Vanessa was a little shy about a video interview but she certainly had lots of fans loving her work….20180609_133704 20180609_151251 4_Sunrise 6_MagnoliaOther artists came out to support our “fab four” including Erik Chong and his wife Jeanette (below). Erik will be featured in next month’s group show “Wild in the City”.20180609_145814Sculptor Osvaldo “Ozzie” Napoli and his wife France (pictured below with gallery director Calvin Hambrook – at right) also popped in to say hello. Ozzie, too, will be featured in July’s “Wild in the City” group show.20180609_145852Gallery visitors enjoyed the schmoozing and there were lots of engaged conversations as each artist talked about their work. Congratulations to all four artists and we’re sure there will soon be lots of red dots (sales) popping up over the next few weeks! See below for gallery directions & show info….20180609_15384520180609_15505820180609_135607 20180609_150742 20180609_145913 20180609_145930

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PROUD ART runs until June 30th.  Visit www.urbangallery.ca for gallery hours

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WELCOME TO “A BRILLIANT U” – CHANGING YOU, CHANGING LIVES!

For the past few months, I’ve been consulting with A Brilliant U, a lifestyle and healthful living service, guiding them thru the maze that is social media, and assisting with online marketing opportunities for their affiliated Rodan+Fields luxury skincare line (OMG, their skincare products are amazing – yes, my skin is now like a baby’s bum!). Founder John Joseph Mastandrea (below) offers guidance, services and products for a healthy holistic lifestyle: I believe in giving forward, creating opportunities for philanthropy that promote internal & external healthy life styles.25659286_175279333062886_1399336722587567973_nA Brilliant U’s Facebook page offers frequent “Thought for the Day” motivational posts as well as news of Rodan+Fields products suitable for all skin types, seasonal use and their new men’s line called “Beyond the Shave”.  (Pssst: Father’s Day is coming up) MENSRG01-01_DetailI recently sat down and asked John Joseph a few questions about the business opportunities presented by Rodan+Fields as well as being agents of change:

You have a successful ministry career – what inspired you to create A Brilliant U?  I believe in giving back to the universe and helping others to discover A Brilliant U – your own magnificent self. I hope to help people look at the core values of life and turn them inside out to ignite the brilliance within. joyHow did you find Rodan+Fields?  A family friend, Allen Norman, told me about the Rodan+Fields story which is so much more than skincare, it’s about a lifestyle….a way of living your life in the most positive way. 20180514_113249 How did you learn about the potential for generating a substantial side income thru marketing of R+F?  We attended R+F seminars and listened to the powerful potential for creating our own “side hustles” or home businesses.20180417_190117R+F products are considered the finest luxury skincare on the market – how difficult is it to attract customers away from designer or drugstore brands and introduce them to the various regimens available only thru personal presentations and online sales?  Attracting customers takes place not in the hard-sell but rather via the live demonstration and sampling of the products. We are also uploading short informational videos to YouTube, thanks to our colleague Joanne who is the perfect video hostess with the mostest!

There is an exciting revenue generating aspect to R+F – can you explain briefly how this works?Revenue generation takes place when you sign up as a consultant – here’s the link: https://www.rodanandfields.com/ca/businessSys/selectSponsor/SelectSponsorPage   Purchase a product base, then share the good news with your friends, family and wider circle of acquaintances. Invite them to purchase or become a consultant themselves and start their own side hustle. Voila! Revenue generation begins for you.20180514_121332 Apart from offering tools to enhance one’s outside, you also offer motivational and lifestyle advice plus spiritual support to improve one’s inside – how does this all impact your clients and team members?  We ignite the outside to connect with the inner self; when we love ourselves and have integrity we are truly authentic. When self is directed towards giving back, the self transforms and becomes and force for healing.

Your mandate is “changing you, changing lives” – how does A Brilliant U engage with clients in order to change lives?  We change lives by first changing ourselves. For A Brilliant U, we personally change lives by contributing our time and talents to philanthropic causes such as Fife House, Camp Winston, Kohai, and the Rotary Club.  We encourage others to find their catalyst of connection with world mending.

Finally, how has working with R+F and focusing on helping others changed your lives? Working with Rodan+Fields has opened up opportunities for meeting other like-minded people….it is contagious:  open doors, open lives and open selves.20180417_180855(0)If you would like to learn more about the Rodan+Fields products and revenue-generating opportunities, as well as guidance for living a positive and healthy life, follow them on Facebook.com/abrilliantu or Twitter: @abrilliantu or via their website: www.abrilliantu.com

Making positive changes in our lives to heal minds, bodies and souls.ACUTE CARE SOOTHE Specialreverse-lightening-regimen

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URBAN GALLERY LAUNCHES “WOMEN AT WORK” SHOW FOR SCOTIABANK CONTACT PHOTOGRAPHY FESTIVAL

Toronto’s URBAN GALLERY has become known for showcasing exciting and unique multi-media artworks in their monthly exhibitions, and for May, they present 4 outstanding photographers as part of this year’s Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival.  In their “Women at Work” show, Urban features images of women going about their work-a-day lives, be it as horse grooms, boxers, ballerinas, mothers, fashionistas….and the photos are simply gorgeous.20180505_141503Dorothy Chiotti (below) is a horse-lover as well as photographer and her images of barn life illustrate the exhausting round-the-clock life of caring for our 4-legged friends. Apart from simply exhibiting her work here, Dorothy is donating 10% from sales of her work to Whispering Hearts Horse Rescue of Hagarsville so please choose your fave photo and know that your purchase will help support the great work Whispering Hearts does for abused and abandoned equines. Bravo, Dorothy!

And here are some of Dorothy’s photos…Chiotta 2 Chiotti 4 Chiotti 6I next spoke with Wally Jay Parker – this is her very first time exhibiting her work publicly and she was so excited!

…and big CONGRATULATIONS as one of Wally Jay’s photos was the first to be sold at yesterday’s opening reception!! 20180505_135247_001 _MG_0424 THE-PLACE-MY-VOICE-IS-HEARD-by-WJ-Parker-at-URBAN-GALLERY.-975x650Digital & analogue photographer and collage artist Erin McGean joined me next for a quick chat…

…and two of her works were next to sell at the opening party. Congrats, Erin. Her family was there, too, and showed off their favourite picture of mum’s (bottom)BE FEMININE by Erin McGean20180505_135110 20180505_142251The only male photographer in the show, Lyndon Wiebe, is a well traveled photographer as well as celebrity chef. Lyndon and 2 of his chef pals traveled the world for the popular “Chefs Run Wild” tv show. Lyndon is also the executive chef for Urban Source Catering (the gallery’s yummy caterer for all their opening receptions). Lyndon is bashful when it comes to video interviews but I managed to grab a few quick photos of him (below), including one of him with the subject of his charming ballerina photos.20180505_14201720180505_14050120180505_140455 20180505_140514 20180505_142500 20180505_140523There were lots of family and friends who came out to show support for the artists and the gallery was humming with positive comments and kudos from all…20180505_141450 20180505_144543…even Erin and Dorothy exchanged artistic visions (below)20180505_142326KJ Mullins, publisher of NEWZ4U.ca (below left) checked in at the door with gallery hostess Kellyyes, you’re on the guest list!20180505_141847“Women at Work” runs throughout May as part of the city-wide CONTACT fest so do come down and support your local photographic artists.  Check the gallery’s website for hours & directions:  www.urbangallery.ca CONTACT May

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LEELA INDIAN FOOD BAR SPICES UP TORONTO’S JUNCTION!

Don’t know ’bout you but I looove good authentic Indian food and I’ve finally found a great little restaurant that serves it up in a beautifully designed environment far from the trinkety, bedazzled elephant decor dining room we’ve come to expect from local Indo-Canadian food spots. Welcome to LEELA INDIAN FOOD BAR located at 3108 Dundas St West (just past Quebec Ave) a calm oasis in the busy Junction strip of cool boutique resto-lounges and boites, serving the most authentic “dhaba” or street food this side of the Bay of Bengal!20180409_141640_001The charming and well-informed staff are happy to recommend menu selections and stand behind their dishes, each of which is made fresh for each diner. On my first visit, I thoroughly enjoyed the recommended roasted cauliflower chaat tossed with chutney, yoghurt and fresh cilantro (pictured below). Mmmmmmm, deelish!20180406_202743…which was followed by the butter chicken. OMG, so yummy, and the rice was light and fluffy, not gluey or over-cooked like many other places serve.20180406_205827I recently spoke with owner, Hormazd Daver, and asked him to share his thoughts on Indian food and his delightful restaurant:

What inspired you to open Leela Indian Food Bar?  I always wanted to open my own restaurant; it’s been a passion for while to have somewhere that I can put my own ideas and efforts into practice and cater authentic Indian cuisine to hungry Toronto foodies.

Did you have previous experience in the food/hospitality industry and if so, where? My previous experience was working as a flight crew member for Cathay Pacific airlines which gave me the opportunity to interact with people of different nationalities and share their experiences about the food and international cuisines available in Toronto.

You have family members working with you – who are they and what duties do they undertake to help make the restaurant such a success?  I have my sister working with me, along with my brother-in-law, which make us a complete family team. This helps a lot as my sister works on weekends both in a service and administrative capacity. My brother-in-law is responsible for managing the restaurant on a daily basis from ordering supplies to managing the staff and all other duties required to successfully operate the restaurant.

What are your most popular dishes?  According to reviews posted by our customers, the Lasooni Cauliflower (stir-fried cauliflower with our chef’s special spices & sesame seeds) is very popular along with my favourite Shrimp Malai Curry which is tasty and very light. Also popular is our Butter Chicken which is not overly “sweet”, unlike what you might find in many other Toronto Indian restaurants. As far as vegetarian dishes, we find the most popular is the Sweet & Sour Eggplant with curry leaf and mustard seeds – by the way, we have many vegetarian options for diners to choose.

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One thing that really impressed me while sitting and inhaling my yummy meal was the humble decor and accessories – I love the blue carved ceramic serving platters on each table as well as the copper water jugs full of chilled fresh H2O – apparently the copper infuses valuable minerals into the drinking water so it’s extra good for us to imbibe.20180409_141631 20180406_21441020180409_141655The open kitchen (below) makes for a friendly casual atmosphere and you can watch your meals being prepared fresh by the skilled cooks.20180406_202657Leela Indian Food Bar also has a busy home delivery service and you can order via their website: www.leelaindianfoodbar.ca  If you’d like to reserve a table (suggested for groups of 6 or more), you can also do that via the website (upper r.h. corner)

A few more personal recommendations include the incredibly over-stuffed veggie samosas…20180428_193453…the oh-so-delicious kale & spinach pakoras(below) – I’ve never tasted pakoras like these and not an once of grease to be found!20180420_194052And you just gotta end your meal with their fresh, sweet Gulab Jamun dessert (spongy honey balls).20180428_200254So take it from me, a hard-boiled, curry-lovin’, naan gulping Indian food fanatic – Leela Indian Food Bar is THE place to take your friends, families or sweetie…and it’s very affordable, too!

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 www.leelaindianfoodbar.ca
3108 Dundas St West, Toronto – T: 416-769-7777

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PHOTOGRAPHIC ARTIST ANDRE VITTORIO OPENS SOLO SHOW @ URBAN GALLERY

Last Saturday, it was a full house at URBAN GALLERY for the opening reception of ANDRE VITTORIO‘s “Abstractions on Metal” solo show of photographic art. running until April 28th, the show features stunning B&W architectural portraits from around the world (the Eiffel Tower looks magnificent)….Paris….as well as a series of brightly coloured shots of the waters surrounding the Venetian island of Murano (below). In fact, the photos reminded me of the fine Murano glass work for which the artisans of the island became famous.COLOUR ABSTRACTIONS Andre Vittorio April 201820180407_140936Andre was thrilled with the turnout of family, friends and fans of his work…20180407_14104620180407_151738 20180407_162800Snap’d newspaper photographer Kate McGartland dropped by to cover the show – here’s Andre showing her his Murano series which certainly captured her attention!20180407_143849And KJ Mullins, publisher of NEWZ4U.ca also came by to cover the event, seen here below 2nd from left chatting with Wayne Abell (at left) of Urban Catering (who supplied the yummy refreshments).20180407_151916Gallery director Calvin Hambrook (below left) was on hand to welcome other artists, including Tunde Omotoye (far right) who may be participating in an upcoming group show at the gallery.20180407_140755Prior to the guests arriving, I managed to grab a few minutes to interview Andre ……

Congratulation, Andre, on a fantastic show…and the sales started early! I watched as the first of the Murano series sold to a very happy fan! I believe it was Murano #8.20180407_171042

“Abstractions on Metal” runs throughout the month of April so if you’d like to spend time with gorgeous, unique artwork, visit Urban Gallery at 400 Queen st East, Toronto – check their website for directions and gallery hours: www.UrbanGallery.ca20180407_13344220180407_13352820180407_141018

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Exciting solo show by Dutch-born Artist PRISCILLA KOOPMAN runs to April 15th

I had the pleasure of meeting PRISCILLA KOOPMAN last year when she was part of the group show by Centennial College Studio Arts Program (1st yr students) hosted at Urban Gallery, Toronto. Although she herself is soft-spoken and humble, her work did all the talking for her….intense, intricate and provocative! Here she is pictured below at left, with my sister, Jennifer, who was visiting from Australia – Jenny was very taken with Priscilla’s work.20170325_142837Last week I visited Priscilla’s solo exhibition “Femme Empiricism” in The Corridor Gallery at the Story Arts Centre (2nd floor) located at 951 Carlaw in Toronto. Wow, what a difference a year makes – more intense details and deeper stories behind each piece and each tiny detail featured on each.20180405_143523 20180405_140034Each artwork illustrates graphic abuse and the sexualization of women as a whole, and of childhood incidents experienced personally by the artist. Speaking with Priscilla, it’s obvious that painting has been her salvation; the perfect healing therapy to calm her demons and allow her to grow artistically and spiritually from the darker, earlier works shown at the beginning of the show to the colourful lightness of her more recent works – sky blues, various hues of pinks, greens and golds.
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Here’s Priscilla to tell you about her art….

I particularly love her fishies…happy little multi-coloured koi swimming across the open waters…20180405_14075320180405_140058Priscilla is planning on returning to The Netherlands this summer so hurry to see her show which runs to April 15th. You can even make an appointment to view the show with the artist herself – details on her Instagram: @allicsirpart20180405_143418