Category Archives: Home furnishings

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ARTUSIASM ART GALLERY OPENS “SUMMERFEST 2017″ GROUP SHOW IN TORONTO

How nice to walk into an art gallery and be met with such warmth and welcoming hospitality – artist Tanzina Amin and her husband Carlos Sa Rodrigues of ARTUSIASM GALLERY located at 1684 St Clair West, Toronto, were the perfect hosts last night as they opened their “Summerfest 2017″ group show featuring works by local artists in multiple mediums.20170616_192040 20170616_192439 20170616_191829I was pleased to introduce fellow gallery owner and artist Lola Livingston of Stockyards Gallery to Tanzina and Carlos, who welcomed the opportunity of sharing “stories from the trenches” of operating an art gallery in the city. Here’s Lola (pictured below L) with Tanzina and Carlos…all smiles as they celebrate another successful opening!20170616_192609 20170616_192552I love Tanzina’s bold abstract portraits…she works with a bright and colourful palette and I would love to add one of these stunning paintings to my own modest collection.20170616_194138 20170616_194151 20170616_194156I spied so many more exciting works….there was a style and technique for every taste and I hope to see lots of “red dots” denoting sales when I visit again. Check out these delicate watercolours (below) and the florals, too.20170616_192017

Constellation by Leslie Karen Hall

Constellation by Leslie Karen Hall

Peach Coloured Rose by Lowell Lo

Peach Coloured Rose by Lowell Lo

…..and these Aspen trees by Leah Dockrill kept drawing me back. It was as if they were alive and I could almost hear the rustling of their leaves!20170616_193855Tanzina and Carlos always make sure gallery visitors are well fed and watered at their opening events….the home-made samosas are deelish20170616_191850Artist and gallery regular Linda Deramaix strikes a pose (below) underneath her own artwork titled “Resilience”. Nice to see you again, Linda!20170616_191951So many difference pieces to stimulate your artistic senses….20170616_193843 20170616_194057 20170616_192020…and lots of artwork to provoke conversation….20170616_194543Summerfest 2017 runs to the end of this month (June) and I recommend you drop in on Tanzina and Carlos to enjoy all the beautiful works (all of which are affordable and are looking for new forever homes!) by talented local artists. Artusiasm Gallery is located at 1684 St Clair Ave West and you can learn more about their services, hours & artists at:  www.artusiasm.com20170616_194820

 

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Mystical Toronto: The Oculis of Donna Lypchuk

My dear friend Donna Lypchuk unveils another series of stunning photographs for this year’s Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival – the official opening reception for her solo show  Mystical Toronto: The Oculis of Donna Lypchuk  takes place this Thursday May 11 (6-10pm) at Jinks Art Factory, a tattoo parlour, arts hub and coffee shop located at 1664 Queen Street West in Parkdale. The show runs until May 31st.

All photographs are printed on metallic paper that gives whites a silver reflective quality and a jewel-like depth. Prices range from $25 – $60 and sizes range 8″x 10″ to 11″x 17″.  Here are some of the spectacular skyscapes you’ll see….2013-10-16 17.13.342013-07-19 20.58.38-iloveimg-converted (1)fogThe Queen Street writer, anthropologist and arts scene contributor uses her signature cellphone “fauxtographie” to channel the essence of mystical Toronto with this series of fine art prints that draw new meaning from the city’s atmospheric skies, abandoned mid-century temples, secret parlour rooms, foggy forest clearings, and sacred condo-henges.  IMG_20161205_091732-685x4302014-07-08 06.10.56A long-time resident and arts scene contributor of the Queen Street West bo-ho community, Donna wrote a provocative weekly column (“the necrofile”) for the now-defunct eye Weekly newspaper and is a published author, playwright and multi-media artist. True to the intention of the original Art for Lobbies, Lounges and Living Rooms concept of producing livable interesting and affordable pieces , Donna’s cell phone folk art now hangs in the living rooms of many private collectors and in various government, religious and  business spaces.

I hope you will come on out during the month of May to support all local photographic artists participating in the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival  and Donna looks forward to welcoming you to her opening party at Jinks Art Factory this Thurs. May 11 between 6pm and 10pm. More information on the Facebook event page.th

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TV CELEBS & FELLOW ARTISTS HELP LOLA LIVINGSTON CELEBRATE OPENING OF HER STOCKYARDS GALLERY IN TORONTO!

Congratulations to artist and gallery founder LOLA LIVINGSTON who opened her brand new art gallery, STOCKYARDS GALLERY, in Toronto this past Saturday night. And what a star-studded soiree it was! Several leading local artists as well as media celebrities joined the throng of friends, family and art aficionados who came to support Lola in her exciting new venture. TV’s Colin and Justin (“Cabin Pressure”) are pictured above with Lola, and I captured their “red carpet” entrance as they yelled “no pictures, no pictures..” in fun!20170401_195559Lola’s painting of “Super Justin” – our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – caused quite the stir! Wonder if he would like it himself…?20170401_214622One of the first guests to arrive was Erik Chong, an innovative established Toronto artist who has already enjoyed a number of solo shows around town. Erik and his wife Jeannette are pictured below with Lola.20170401_190823

One of the artists Lola was presenting in her first show, Fool For Art, is ROBERT McAFFEE…

And leading Canadian artist BRIGITTE GRANTON‘s work is also featured….

Toronto 80’s pop-culture icon ALEX “RUNT” CURRIE has 2 canvases in the show, the largest of which was sold on opening night – congrats to Al and to Lola!20170401_190841Here’s Alex with fellow artist Morgan Sheardown (below)…20170401_210153…and with Lola (below)20170401_204944As the guests kept filing in, I was kept busy snapping away – here’s the talented young artist Priscilla Koopman (below with her beau)…20170401_195330…and here’s actor/artist Philip Cairns (below L) with award-winning theatre director Dan Spurgeon (below R)20170401_213807…and here’s Philip again, this time with award-winning theatre producer Drew Blakeman (below R)IMG_4661Lola was in great demand for photo opps with her guests, all of whom were thrilled to be a part of the occasion.20170401_214720 20170401_204912 20170401_213755Popular blogger and activist Georgina Bencsik (below L) was there to lend her support to Lola’s  gallery launch…20170401_201433Both Robert and Brigitte were pleased with the turnout and interest in their works.IMG_4660Here’s Jenny Huddy (my sister) visiting from Australia (below L), with her Toronto friends Marianne Sawchuk & Bruno Verdoni. You may recognize Bruno from his TV appearances on Reign, Damien, NCIS: Los Angeles, X-Files….20170401_205156My dear friend and artist, Nancy Bennett (below centre) enjoyed chatting with Robert and Brigitte – I’m sure they’re comparing notes on painting technique and themes!20170401_200640The refreshments kept flowing as people kept pouring in …..and the smiles were infectious!20170401_203938IMG_4668 IMG_4663Supporting Lola throughout this whole new venture is husband and furniture designer extraordinaire, Mark Livingston (below with Lola). Mark owns Rebarn, Toronto’s premier handcrafted furniture store featuring bespoke artisanal furnishings, salvaged antique lumber/timbers, custom barn doors, and one-of-a-kind artwork.  www.rebarn.caIMG_4666Lola and Mark are fast becoming the “power couple” of Toronto interior design and decorating!

FOOL FOR ART, featuring Lola’s work and that of Robert McAffee, Brigitte Granton & Alex Currie runs through to April 29th. For gallery hours and directions, please visit www.stockyardsgallery.ca

CONGRATULATIONS, LOLA! We look forward to more great shows at Stockyards Gallery.IMG_4664

 

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Contemporary artist, LOLA KERECKI, to open new indie gallery in Toronto

In 2 weeks’ time, I’ll be printing off the guest list and getting ready for the official grand opening of my friend, LOLA KERECKI‘s exciting new artistic endeavour – Toronto’s latest addition to the indie art scene: STOCKYARDS GALLERY! Lola is a very busy lady who not only paints stunning large canvases (mostly abstract portraits), but is currently undertaking an intense project management course that will add even more skills to her business portfolio. And now Lola (below) has become the Founder and curator of a great new space for Canadian artists to showcase their works. www.stockyardsgallery.ca As a successful and much sought after artist herself, her generosity in supporting fellow artists through this new undertaking may seem daunting to others but not to Lola – she is a bundle of energy, always quick with a smile and constantly exudes positive energy. She paints and does business under the name of “JustLola” – she is fast becoming a brand unto herself. So I recently asked her about her life, her career(s) and the new gallery and here’s what she told me:

As an artist with your own creative demands, what inspired you to open a gallery that showcases other artists’ work? And how do you balance your own work with marketing other artists’ works?  It was a very natural and organic development that just made sense to us. I had some artwork installed in Rebarn, the site for Stockyards Gallery, and it was selling well but it was becoming a challenge to keep up with the demand. We are very proud to offer 100% Canadian products both in furniture and now art. I think as a team of artists, we cross-promote and it benefits all of us because we all have different subject matters. I’ve chosen these current artists for the Fool For Art opening show because they are like-minded in that capacity.17265222_403390500030010_4024633169228926769_n16508936_386382941730766_1395139833557463211_nWhich other artists are showcasing during your opening month show, Fool For Art? And why did you select them?  I’ve chosen Robert McAffee and Brigitte Granton, both well-known Canadian landscape artists. I’ve also included a number of my own large-format paintings with a focus on portraits, pop art and collage. All these combined pieces will showcase a full spectrum of styles for the grand opening.Updated exhibition info for stockyards month long eventWith the Stockyards Gallery opening fast approaching, have you completed your own works for exhibition?  No, I often work best under pressure so I’m still creating; we will see what I will present for the show, and it will be a surprise for me as well….LOL! I have 5 canvases going at the same time. [Below are some of Lola’s current canvases]Smoking Lady Lola Kerecki  36x48 Oil on Canvas $2400 (1) Lip Ring Kerecki 30x36 Oil on Canvas $1600 Marilyn in pieces Lola Kerecki Mixed Media collage acrylic 36x48  $3500Being housed inside the Rebarn showroom, do you anticipate those clients finding the perfect artwork from the Stockyards selection displayed on the walls to go with their custom Rebarn woodwork furniture and accessories? Yes, and this is done purposefully. We have a specific kind of clientele who enjoys original custom furniture so now we can offer original art as well. We are a diversified destination point, so potential clients may be coming in for furniture but then they surprisingly find themselves gravitating towards the artwork. We also have a lot of foot traffic so those who have never heard of Rebarn (and now Stockyards Gallery) will be pleasantly surprised when they come in to browse.15337474_351115995257461_1086669202748960040_n 15267990_353068255062235_2638192854096319862_n

Lola with Rebarn's Mark Livingston

Lola with Rebarn’s Mark Livingston

As the curator of Stockyards Gallery, what are you looking for in theme or style from future artist exhibitors?  I’m looking for original artwork that compliments our furniture and is distinctly Canadian, and works that feature Toronto cityscapes. I think our clients are looking for something unique to connect with emotionally. [Below, samples of Robert McAffee’s and Brigitte Granton’s landscapes in Fool For Art]Nipigon Sunset Robert McAffee Oil on canvas $6800 Neddies Bay Brigitte Granton 30x40 Oil on canvas $3400Any other comments you’d like to share?  We support anything Canadian, everything we do is custom-made and we have mastered recycling to a whole other level. In my artwork alone, I have used old wood remnants to create something new and now I have a series of collages recycling magazines into one-of-a-kind art pieces. It is impossible to replicate so its completely original and conventional magazines will one day go out of print.logo 2

1611 Dupont Street, Toronto  T: 416-903-0117

Good luck, Just Lola!  I know Stockyards Gallery will become a popular destination for art lovers & artists alike!

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TORONTO URBAN COLLECTIVE HOSTS POP-UP ARTISAN MARKET

What a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon – I took a stroll through the aisles of the pop-up artisan market hosted by the TORONTO URBAN COLLECTIVE at the Toronto Reference Library, just a few blocks from my home. So many lovely decorative, wearable and edible items presented by the craftspeople who actually made them. I was pleased to show my support by dropping a few dollars myself!  Come meet the vendors with me….20160807_125040I was welcomed by these lovely young ladies (above) who set such a nice friendly tone to the event. Then on to the first stop – the lovely ladies of Little Orbs. Below, here’s craftsperson Erin (R) with her proud mum (L) showing off her home decor and accessories (sparkly wine glass fobs were my faves) www.littleorbs.ca 20160807_120124 20160807_120130Lovely to see Cassandra from Chic Made Consciously with her eco-friendly accessories. I first met Cassandra at the Leslieville Flea a couple of years ago; I’m so proud of her and how she’s built her business. www.chicmc.com20160807_120253I was thrilled to find fashion designer Tulsi MacRae (below) whose fabulous tunics are bright and unique. I may ask her to create a customized one for me for TIFF…. www.tulsimacrae.com20160807_120549 20160807_120554Next was Ashley from Ashes & Kings – fine men’s accessories using beautiful wood slices.  They look stunning and each set of cufflinks or tie-clips are little works of art.  www.ashesandkings.com 20160807_120931 20160807_120941Oh no….not macrame!!! After living with macrame owls throughout the 70’s, I never thought I’d have to look at the popular woven string things again but these pretty home decor pieces by Natalie Ranae are delightful and could bring the trend back to a whole new generation. But please, Natalie, no owls! LOL   www.natalieranae.com20160807_121257 20160807_121300I fell in love with the delicate art of Rachel Dyck of Blossom & Sweet Pea Critter Co. I purchased 3 lovely greeting cards. She had a number of colouring books that were so beautifully printed and her watercolour prints of Canadian wildlife were charming and whimsical – perfect as gifts for any occasion. Look for Rachel @ this year’s Christmas One-of-a-Kind-Show www.thecritterco.com 20160807_121600 20160807_121607 20160807_121610I then spied some adorable wee silver spoons with colourful handles – perfect for serving jam or, in my case, eating my boiled eggs. Alkahf Moroccan Imports had all sorts of exotic treasures including beautiful little mirrors. www.alkahf.ca20160807_122237 20160807_122241 20160807_122253Then I found a brand new local company, www.StrayandWander.com that brings in ethically sourced products from around the world. I really liked the purses and clutches crafted from used native clothing (below). Their website should be up and running by the middle of August but you can find them now on Instagram @strayandwander20160807_122520 20160807_122529 20160807_122543Below is www.stationtoronto.com – groovy jewellery and accessories using the TTC subway station signs as design elements. The vendor was so busy, I didn’t get a chance to find my Yonge and Bloor station ring – I wonder if it’s a secret decoder ring for subway travel secrets?? LOL20160807_122713 20160807_122717I spoke earlier about macrame art from the 70’s….well another crafty hobby back then was nail art but nobody does it like Britt Kasco of Thread & Bark (below L). Oh my, these intricate pieces were so gorgeous, Britt really understands the simple beauty in the threads and I thought her douglas firs (lower picture) were stunning. Great souvenir gifts for friends abroad/great art to own yourself. https://her-earth.com/thread-and-bark/20160807_122854 20160807_122901 20160807_122906Now it was time to head over to the “edible art”….yummmmm. First up is Cuetti Cookies & Cakes. Yes, they’re all square, too.  www.cuetti.cc20160807_123316 20160807_123324Then I stopped in for a quick nibble at Holy Cannoli – OMG, they are sinfully delicious!! They made me an offer I couldn’t refuse – check out my @FordhamPR Instagram to see the naughty but nice videos  www.holy-cannoli.com20160807_123645I found another old friend…the Toronto-based Peruvian bakery, Sol Cookies (below), who I met at the Toronto Bakers Market a couple of weeks ago. The tiny cookies are delicious and come in the cutest packaging with a red llama on top. www.solcookies.ca20160807_124748 20160807_124752Just before departing, I spent some time chatting with Laura from Gooseberry Prints, a charming lady who creates wonderful photographic prints of the cutest wee beasties who are all up for adoption at various Toronto rescue centres. Please support her efforts by buying a card, a pin or a print: www.gooseberryprints.com  I am so in love with all the hedgehog ones I want them all!20160807_124318 20160807_124330 20160807_124408Thank you to all the vendors for welcoming me to your booths and a big thank you to the great event producers, Toronto Urban Collective. Watch for the next pop-up and come out to support local craftspeople.  www.urbancollectiveto.com

PS: When I got home, I just had to try out my new Moroccan spoon….yay, it works!20160807_135817

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Playing hooky mid-week in Port Hope!

Earlier this week, as Toronto sizzled and steamed, my friend Teresa and I played hooky and journeyed the 50 minutes east to the wonderful lakeside town of Port Hope (my fave small town in Ontario).  Over the past couple of years, Port Hope and I have become good friends – the welcoming shopkeepers and cosy cafes, the historic restored Capitol Theatre, the stunning Municipal Building, the charming little beach and the tumbling Ganaraska River have all worked their magic on my soul.

As per usual, our first port of call was a visit to Kenneth Bell – the king of bling, the sultan of sparkle, my go-to guy for all things fabulous! I managed to get Teresa into a tiara, too, so we now have matching crowns!! Below, Teresa meets Kenneth for the first time…a match made in bling heaven! Follow Kenneth-Bell-Fashion-Accessories on Facebook.20160726_120435 20160726_123212 20160726_120517 20160726_122852 20160726_123339Next door to Kenneth’s shop is the always-awesome Queenie’s Bake Shop where we indulged in some deelish lunch sandwiches. Both Teresa and I were so brave – we resisted the incredible giant strudel and cookies on the front counter (sssh, don’t tell Teresa but I snuck home with a couple of their famous butter tarts). Follow Queenies Bake Shop on Facebook.20160726_113232 20160726_113235A littler further up Walton Street we found Bubbles and Gems, another fab fashion house where Teresa found a cute skirt and I found these amazing cushions…something for everyone at 20% off!  www.bubblesandgems.com20160726_130124 20160726_130130 20160726_130148 20160726_130327 20160726_130314 20160726_130501We walked past Holton Flowers who always have fabulous arrangements in the windows…we went inside to find floral heaven!20160726_13244620160726_132434We dropped in quickly to G. Facey’s, another fave fashion store of mine, where Teresa found a few more additions to her wardrobe, then down to the new Joie de Vivre store (below) where Teresa found some sweetly fragranced body creams. The new store is twice as big as the previous location further up the street, and offers a lovely range of goodies for your face, body and mind.  www.joiedevivrearomatherapy.com20160726_134850 20160726_134855One of the new Walton Street shops we found (new to me, anyway) was the Marche 59 cafe and artisan bakery (below) offering organic breads, vegan and gluten-free tasty treats and all sorts of goodies from local producers. Must give ’em a try next time I’m in town. www.marche59.ca20160726_132750 20160726_132754Time to head over to the beach so we made our way down Walton Street, past these beautiful hibiscus pots, along the riverbank to Teresa’s car parked near the Municipal offices….20160726_135057 20160726_144822…then over to the lake (Lake Ontario). Wow, what a lovely glimpse of the beach (below)20160726_14575520160726_145915We even saw a dad teaching his son how to fish…so cute!20160726_150323Thanks again, Port Hope, for your warm welcome – it always feels like coming home for me. See y’all again real soon.20150613_111719

 

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REBARN OPENS NEW DOWNTOWN STORE, BRINGS MASTER WOODWORKING TO URBAN HOMES

Oh, I’m a lumberjack and I’m okay….. I know, I know – this is how most people imagine all Canadian woodsmen, but let me introduce you to Mark Livingston, Founder of REBARN, a true master craftsman who works with repurposed reclaimed wood from barns, railway ties, churches and other architectural salvage, turning them into works of art for installation in your home, cottage, office or store.20160521_142057 20160521_142412This new 2nd location for Rebarn is 1611 Dupont St (10 mins. from Dundas W subway) and has only been open for about a month – Mark and his lovely lady Lola Kerecki (an artist herself) are working hard getting ready for an official opening event – they will retain the original workshop on Alliance Ave to handle the high volume of commissions received since Rebarn has been featured on TV shows like Colin & Justin’s Cabin Pressure (see below) and Cityline.C&JMark sources “rescued” wood and then crafts stunning barn doors for home installation using authentic hardware (below) in various finishes and styles to suit every decor or theme. Sometimes beautifully sanded and finished to a mid-century modern feel, other times more rustic and raw in appearance, each piece of furniture offers unique charm and appeal.20160521_142123And using old railway ties, Mark creates stunning fireplace mantles and shelving that look good in any home (below).20160521_142404Mark’s in-store loo (still under construction) showcases this wonderfully whimsical countertop upon which a glass sink will eventually sit…20160521_142945_001You can choose your preferred hardware from a wide selection (some of which is shown below)…20160521_143533…but if you’re not looking for doors, you can find all manner of home decor accessories (see below) handcrafted by Mark and a colleague who specialized in woodburning.20160521_143136 20160521_143400 20160521_143326Don’t you just love this fun wee beastie? Much better to have a wooden moosehead than one that had to die, yes?20160521_143241And I spied this Noguchi-esque desk at the back of the showroom….isn’t it gorgeous?20160521_142552Lola has contributed a number of pieces to the store…love her moose painting on wood – see how she’s incorporated a western mountain lake scene into the body.20160521_142741I had fun playing with this giant mirror…20160521_142913…and spent time sitting on this bench embellished with the “bird on a wire” burnt into its surface.20160521_155541Rebarn can customize barn doors, mantles, furniture or simply supply hardware for your own projects so contact Mark for design ideas and a quote:  647-968-4004  or  info@rebarn.ca   www.rebarn.ca20160521_143208 20160521_143345Big THANK YOU to Lola and Mark for their hospitality…and good luck with the upcoming official opening party for REBARN!20160521_162701

 

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ARTFEST BRINGS EXCITING ARTISTS AND CRAFTSPEOPLE TO TORONTO’S HISTORIC DISTILLERY DISTRICT

Over the long weekend, my bestie, Erena, and I made a quick visit to the annual ArtFest crafts and fine arts market in the Distillery District of downtown Toronto. We also visited some of the established art galleries located in the enclave of 19th & early 20th century warehouses and cellars. It was so crowded that it was hard just to get in to some of the tents so Erena and I focused on just a few.

Our very first stop was at Joseph Calleja‘s handcrafted silk & cotton scarf display The Toronto-based photographer & artist incorporates many of his own photos into the unique and beautiful prints in multiple colours, shapes and sizes. Some are pure silk, others a cotton/silk blend as well as long wraps in the softest of cotton. Erena purchased 2, one a vibrant pink and the other…the blue one she’s modelling below. www.callejascarves.com20160522_133428 20160522_133236I then noticed a very talented sculptor, Chaka Chikodzi, who hails from Kingston, ON, which has become quite the artists’ colony thanks to the great light quality in that area (about 3hrs east of Toronto, on Lake Ontario). This one charming piece of carved Springstone is a a guinea fowl and it really called to me. Perhaps next time he comes to Toronto, I will have the $s to make it mine!   www.chakachikodzi.com20160522_141408Erena and I wandered around some more trying not to trip over the cobblestones (hint: NEVER wear your Manolo Blahniks to the Distillery District!!) and saw lots of returning exhibitors from last year which I previously covered in my blog, so we sought refuge from the hot sun inside the Thompson Landry Gallery and discovered all sorts of amazing artists we’d never previously seen, for example Tommy Zen from Montreal. He is descended from several generations of Venetian cabinet makers and artisans, eventually discovering his own love for clay and ceramics. The gallery (there are actually 2 amazing Thompson Landry Galleries on-site, opposite each other) proudly displays his giant ceramics, each gilded with sparkling gold and vibrant colours. Below are 2 of my favourite pieces, each well over 6ft tall!!  www.thompsonlandry.com20160522_160806 20160522_161353Many more artists are showcased there including this massive 10′ x 6′ canvas of a raging bull (titled Turbo) by Dominic Besner (below). This was Erena’s fave.20160522_161251I also liked these pieces…what do you think?20160522_16131520160522_160924We then walked over to artagallery where I found some more gorgeous works of art that really resonated with me. I really liked these two: below left is P. Colbert’s “Dream Creek” oil on canvas (36″x48″) and below right is I. Stoyanov’s “Yellow #18″ mixed media on canvas (68″x48″)  You can find out more at www.artagallery.ca20160522_164359I also found these florals engaging…and happy!20160522_164730 20160522_164742….and Erena made a bee-line for the playful pieces featuring wildlife!20160522_164839artagallery offers some unique display settings, too – I really liked this rusted old boiler plating (below)20160522_164702The next Artfest takes place over the labour day long weekend (Sept. 2-5) in the same venue; if you’d like to check out the shopping, dining and sight-seeing opportunities at Toronto’s Distillery District, visit their website for hours & directions: www.thedistillerydistrict.com20160522_164631

 

 

 

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URBAN LAMPSCAPES OFFERS UNIQUE DESIGNS FOR CONDO, LOFT & HOME DWELLERS AROUND THE WORLD

I’d like to welcome new client URBAN LAMPSCAPES and introduce you to their stunning customizable range of lamps with street-art inspired designs and colours. www.urbanlampscapes.com/SLIDER X6b (1)A couple of months ago, I met Charles Ezerzer, CEO & General Manager and his co-founder, Artistic Director Joe Ponciano when I attended the annual Toronto Interior Design Show and was stopped in my tracks by the collection of art/lights in their booth (below)…..DSC07961…I found their lampshades intriguing and edgy – perfect for the urban loft dweller or condo resident! They even showcased flat wall lamps that look like illuminated posters.DSC07964DSC07965I was hooked on Toronto-based Urban Lampscapes products and quickly set up a meeting to chat with Charles and Joe to discuss introducing them to my interior designer and decorator friends as well as share their lighting concepts with all my artsy-fartsy friends (of whom I have many!).  I recently suggested that Charles offer some insights into his company’s concept and design esthetics so here’s what he told me:

What inspired you to create the business Urban Lampscapes?
I think it takes more than a single moment to compel someone to do something unusual and risky. For me, one of those moments was as I sat in yet another airport waiting for my flight home with my best friend, Joe Ponciano (Urban Lampscapes’ Artistic Director), when I realized we had been traveling together for more than 20 years wandering along the backstreets and main thoroughfares around the world in search of our shared passion: street art. Between us, we had shot over 20,000 images at that time. With him being the more talented photographer with an eye for details and myself being more creative and design-motivated, I thought we should share our work and mutual passion within a business infrastructure so we started implementing our customizable lamp business in 2014.IMG_1599IMG_1377IMG_1632Instead of simply offering a set standard series of lamps and shades, why did you feel it was important to offer customizable DIY lamps for you customers?
We could have simply offered a set range of lampshade designs and we may do a limited line in the future, but for us we’ve learned how different people’s tastes are, especially when it comes to art. We want to give each customer the same experience as if they are buying a print from a gallery except this serves a dual purpose; art piece / designer lighting.gallery_aw100025_tb_1Who are your customers?
Urban Lampscapes’ primary customers tend to be individuals who like to express themselves, be creative and look for different unique accessories to fill their homes. We’re seeing lots of downtown condo and loft dwellers across a broad age range – teens to the groovy 55+!IMG_3324ABOUT_2Do you think lighting is an under-utilized décor accessory?
With today’s new technology and energy-efficiencies, it has become more important than ever to ensure that one is contributing to a greener world. With LED lighting becoming more affordable and reliable, home illumination is being re-thought and better designs are emerging. Urban Lampscapes materials and designs are specifically made to take advantage of LED technology. Remember, lighting directly impacts how you set the mood in a space so it should be given considerable thought.gallery_aw100018_fl_1gallery_aw100183_tb_1You attended a trade show in China last month (April) – were you inspired by any local street art there?China is one of the hardest places to find street-art because as soon as it goes up, a fresh coat of white paint is immediately applied over it. It doesn’t mean we didn’t get any great images but it is harder to find. As for design, it’s always inspiring to see what creative style is being combined with traditional style to create something new. (below, Joe & Charles @ far east trade show).IMG_1508IMG_1640IMG_1578IMG_1644Do you have plans for other int’l travels to discover new street art?
We are always on the go, adding to our collection and discovering new works that push the limits of street art and the boundaries of creativity. Below, here’s Joe posting in front of a wall hoarding during the recent China trip.IMG_1665 (1)Do you ship your lamps to customers around the world or just in Canada?
Yes, we ship all over the world – we make our lamps dual voltage so they can work anywhere. All you have to do is log onto to our website, choose your base shape & size, your shade design & size then click-click-done! Easy as sitting on a park bench and texting with your Smartphone!computersWhere do you see the business expanding in the future? 
Currently, we’re happy to work with customers who want their own photographs or artwork, and have also been asked to start offering our work as prints, especially by corporations looking for corporate gifts or incentives which is all in the works. We’ve previously undertaken customized work for corporations and will be expanding our commercial trade division as well.

Want to learn more about this exciting new concept in art~lighting? Visit www.urbanlampscapes.com/ and browse through their catalogue.try this

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COME STROLL THRU TORONTO’S “INTERIOR DESIGN SHOW” WITH ME

Now in its 18th year, IDS brings together the newest & most innovative of international and Canadian design to the Metropolitan Toronto Convention Centre (Jan.22-24). With three full days of inspirational exhibits, influential speakers & leading products, IDS is not just a fair — it’s a total design experience.  http://www.interiordesignshow.com/

Now you know what the show is about, let me be your virtual tour guide – I spent a few hours strolling through the aisles today courtesy of Mark Gleberzon of MJG Gallery, viewing the latest styles of interior designs, furnishings, home accessories…and really cool stuff I wish I could afford! Let’s get started….20160122_120010Arriving at the top of the escalators, we’re all presented with totes, magazines and the official show program. I always like to start at the east end of the giant showroom, then work my way towards the far west end. Thank goodness for comfortable sneakers and Dr. Scholl’s arch supports. LOL !20160122_120034My first stop was to say hi to Joe & Charles at the ART2LIGHTS booth (below) showcasing groovy light fixtures incorporating fab art with the form & function. Check out their cool lights…  http://art2lights.com/DSC07961 DSC07964 20160122_120517DSC07965Just a few aisles away and tucked around the back, I discovered the beautiful display from Kitigan.com, an organization that cultivates Aboriginal arts. On display were various artists’ works including beadwork, carvings, jewellery, home decor, moccasins…. DSC07976 DSC07979 20160122_121442The Weavers Art exhibit (below) offered stunning floor coverings in all manner of texture, design and colour. I ran my hands over all the rugs and carpeting, feeling the sculpting and woven images. Lush, luxurious and so beautiful. www.weaversart.com 

DSC07995 Here are a few more booths ….was lovin’ all the wooden chairs and mid-century modern & shaker influences.20160122_122023 20160122_121214 20160122_121237DSC07990Every year, the folks at Urban Barn put on a fabulous show and again, their room vignettes stopped me in my tracks!  www.urbanbarn.com   Just look at all the great accessories and furnishings…don’t ya just love the wee piggies and that sexy little mermaid?DSC07999DSC07996DSC08001DSC0800220160122_122733Farrow & Ball originates from the county of Dorset, in England. They are craftsmen in paint and paper, and they certainly have a great sense of whimsy as you can see by the herd of beasties populating their booth below. Check out their fashionable colour range at www.farrow-ball.com (their Toronto showroom is at 1054 Yonge).20160122_125014 20160122_125056 20160122_125106Flamingos! Is this Miami? The ladies of Digital Print Specialties & South Hill Interiors blew my mind with this super fab booth showcasing their large print format designs and stunning furnishings and accessories. Check ’em out yourselves online at www.digitalprintspecialties.com  and www.southhillinteriors.com DSC08003 20160122_123056Found him! Meet Mark Gleberzon of MJG Gallery – he kindly provided the guest passes for my photographer Gabriella and me. Mark was not only showcasing his own artwork but also other artists he represents like Ian Busher whose giant moose is featured behind Mark (I have one of Ian’s smaller works hanging on my wall at home that I purchased from Mark last year).DSC08014 DSC08020Sharing Mark’s space was Zenporium.com custom design furniture using “guilt-free” wood that is reclaimed, salvaged or responsibly harvested (below).20160122_123839 20160122_123856Texas-born sculptor/now furniture designer Peter Glassford welcomed Gabriella and me into his booth where I just had to try his unique “Laredo Chair” (pictured below). Surprisingly, it was one of the most comfortable chairs my bottom had test-driven all day! Peter has partnered with a Guadalajara-based firm to hand-craft his unique sculptural pieces. Check more of Peter’s designs and his story here: www.peterglassford.comDSC08030 20160122_135042I wanna know who that lady in a lab coat is and what she’s doing here….any suggestions?20160122_122124The Caviar20 exhibition was intriguing and artfull; the multi-coloured acrylic sculpture looked gorgeous in the bright lights. I just loved this wooden bench carved to look like tufted upholstery. Thanks, Gabs, for all the photo snapping.  www.caviar20.comDSC08034 20160122_135557 20160122_135431So much to see at IDS but oh my feet were aching…..time to head home but not before a few more random shots:20160122_121905 20160122_121938 20160122_124442Don’t forget, the show runs only this weekend (Jan 23 & 24) at the MTCC in Toronto so come on down…. www.interiordesignshow.com 20160122_124438