Tag Archives: Canadian artists

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SOUTH AFRICAN-BORN ARTIST HERDS WILD BEASTS INTO GALLERY 1313 FOR SOLO SHOW OCT.25-NOV.5

South African born and raised, and now Toronto resident Romi Samuels’ solo show “The Lion, the Watch and the Wardrobe” runs Oct. 25 to Nov. 5 at Gallery 1313, 1313 Queen St West in Toronto with an opening reception on Thurs. Oct. 26 (6-9pm) .  Romi’s floor-to-ceiling canvases illustrate the wild beasties that surrounded her family home in South Africa, painted in bold strokes of black and white. She also brings together a collection of colourful “portraits” of items found in her wardrobe, many of which belonged to her artist mother, plus a very special family heirloom – a pocket watch.

Her work features distortions, thick paint and strong colours. Her creative inspirations include the great South African painters Irma Stern, Wolf Kibel, and Maggie Laubser who were strongly influenced by the teachings of the German expressionists. To learn more about Romi please visit her website at www.romispaintings.weebly.comThe Lion, the Watch  - JPEGI recently had the opportunity of chatting with Romi when I asked her about her early artistic influences and her childhood in South Africa which has obviously informed many of the paintings in her upcoming show.

How did you become interested in painting?   My first introduction to the art world was as a newborn.  I have been told that my mother parked my stroller under the grapevine while she set-up still life paintings and give art classes on our patio.  Growing up, there were always paintbrushes in our house, palette knives, coloured pastels, twisted tubes of paints, batik dyes, lino boards, linseed oil, art books, not to mention the sketch books which were given to me even before I knew how to write – I still have a childish pencil drawing of my family relaxing in a train compartment, which I did when I was about 7 years old.  There were also outings to art galleries and of course my mother’s beautiful paintings (see below) which covered the walls in our home, and I always hoped that one day, like her, I would be able to decorate my own house with my paintings.20170911_142217What was the first subject of your painting?  Now that I think about it I am amazed to remember that my first painting which I did in nursery school was of a crocodile with its mouth wide open (probably inspired by one of our many trips to the Kruger Park – a huge game reserve in South Africa, almost the size of a small country).  And now, some 45 years later, I have, in my current show, a painting of a crocodile in that exact pose (see below).  My first oil painting which I did much later, was a still life with various objects including an African clay pot with a traditional Ndebele motif. So Africa has always featured in some way in my paintings and even now, living in Canada it continues to work its way into my art.Croc - croppedHow did your early years in South Africa influence your work?  As a child my most exciting holidays were our family trips to the Kruger Park. I have vivid memories of waking up at the crack of dawn, hopping into the car with a delicious picnic lunch, hoping to be the first out of the camp gates onto the dust roads looking for game.  I remember how we would suddenly stop the car at the slightest hint of movement and I’ll never forget the excitement of joining a whole row of cars, straining to see what all the fuss was about, or sitting for hours at a waterhole waiting for a thirsty animal to come and drink.  And then there was the thrill of eventually spotting a lion in the distance or of being dangerously close to an elephant crossing the road. So yes, these amazing images of the African bushveld have been subjects of my paintings since childhood.Two lionesses - croppedIn a previous series of paintings, I focused on the people’s struggle for survival in post-Apartheid South Africa which I did on large canvases. These paintings are of ragged children in the veld, mothers with babies on their backs begging for money, craftsmen, construction workers and security guards slaving for a meager wage.20170911_142232On a more personal level, some of my “Wardrobe” pictures also include sentimental items which travelled with me to Canada. So even though I have been living in Canada for 17 years, my paintings still reflect the bittersweet nostalgia of the ex-pat.Gloved hands - cropped Handbarg - cropped Pocketwatch - cropped Red tie - croppedDo you have a favourite medium in which to create?  For many years oils were my favourite, but now, I have also begun to enjoy acrylics mainly because they dry so quickly!  I’ve also started working with collage and mixed media which add a lot of interesting texture to my work.  For quick drawings, ink is one of my favourite mediums – I especially like the combination of a gentle washes and hard lines.20170911_142416What do you hope gallery visitors leave with after attending your upcoming show.   Firstly, because my paintings are so large and imposing, I hope to share that experience of being in such close proximity to the magnificent African fauna. Also, because my paintings are more expressive than literal, I want to communicate their intense emotion to which we as human beings can relate. I also hope that gallery visitors will see that even my “Wardrobe” paintings are not just still-lives, but rather expressions of the personalities behind them.  So basically, my intention is that that people will come away identifying on an emotional level with my paintings or responding to them emotionally or even just realizing that as human beings everything we see or create is influenced by our own emotional responses.20170911_144923What is next for Romi?  I never know in advance what I am going to paint. I usually start off playing around with something which develops into an idea and then becomes a body of work.  So my next series will be as much of a surprise to me as it will be to you. [laughs]

Opening reception takes place on Thursday Oct. 26th (6-9pm) at Gallery 1313, 1313 Queen St West, Toronto. For gallery hours & directions: www.g1313.org   Light (kosher) refreshments will be served so if you would like to attend and meet Romi, kindly RSVP to FordhamPR@rogers.com  Space is limited so email me a.s.a.p.

Although it’s not in this show, here is one of my fave Romi paintings – I just love chickens and Romi painted some of the hens that used to run around her childhood nanny’s property back home in S.A.20170911_141930

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“Untamed Things” @ Arta Gallery in Distillery District, Toronto

Over the past few months, I’ve found myself discussing legendary Group of Seven Canadian artist Tom Thomson – first with northern Ontario artist Pauline Langmaid, then with author and Thomson expert Barry Brodie. This evening, I think I topped it all off by attending Arta Gallery‘s new exhibition titled “Untamed Things” which features stunning Thomson-inspired paintings by 11 acclaimed painters from across Ontario who retraced Thomson’s footsteps through Algonquin Park as inspiration for their own artistic explorations.20170908_180925Here are some examples of their work which remains on display until Sept. 19th.20170908_175000 20170908_175421I introduced myself to several of the artists who were on hand to meet-n-greet the appreciative gallery guests…. here’s Peter Taylor (below)  www.petertaylorpaintings.com20170908_175146..and here’s the very jovial Paul Nabuurs (below) www.paulnabuurs.com20170908_175814(0)I then met Andrew Peycha (below)….www.andrewpeycha.com20170908_180215….along with Mark Berens (below)….www.markberensart.com20170908_180243and Bryan Wall (below) whose work really resonated with me. Wish I’d had lots of moolah on me as I would have loved to grab one of his smaller pieces (2nd pic)  www.bryanwall.ca20170908_18050920170908_175230So many beautiful paintings of all sizes suitable for any downtown loft, condo, home or corporate office.20170908_181219 20170908_181556I definitely recommend you visit Arta Gallery , 14 Distillery Lane (in the historic Distillery District) downtown Toronto. Visit their website for hours and directions: www.artagallery.caexhibition_image_428

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ALLEN SHUGAR OPENS HIS SOLO SHOW AT URBAN GALLERY, TORONTO

Usually the curator for other artists’ shows, ALLEN SHUGAR was proud to present his own work at Urban Gallery (400 Queen East, Toronto) last night for the opening of his month-long show titled SHIFTING LIGHT. Allen is joined here by gallery director, Calvin Hambrook (below L) in front of his title artwork (lower photo)20170907_164910(0) AllenShugar_SHIFTING_LIGHT400Each stunning piece illustrates how light shifts when viewing from different vantage points and I particularly liked the play of light on leaves in this painting (below) appropriately titled “Goldleaf”.20170907_164502In fact, lots of gallery visitors loved these works – within half an hour of opening the gallery doors, the room was packed with Allen’s friends, family and fans.20170907_180622 20170907_175316I managed to grab Allen for a quick interview before the party was in full swing and asked him about his show….

As you can tell, Allen is very passionate about art, the painter’s process and working as the curator for Urban Gallery. Below, Allen greeted many friends who came out to support him…20170907_19082220170907_173655….and several fellow artists dropped by including Grace Dam (below) whose shows Allen has previously curated…20170907_182305…and Romi Samuels (below) who hopes to bring a show of her work to the gallery in the near future.20170907_184401Here’s award-winning artist Erik Chong (below with his wife, Jeannette) whose shows Allen has also curated over the past few years.20170907_191308Allen showcased 3 smaller framed pieces (reverse painting on glass) and my favourite one was quickly snapped up by this lovely lady.20170907_191204 20170907_164314So many gorgeous pieces…you must visit the gallery to see for yourself!20170907_184325 20170907_170622 20170907_171732And of course, the refreshments were works of art, too, courtesy of Urban Source Catering20170907_164657 20170907_165202(0)

Artist statement:
Colour, light, the cycles of nature (so extreme in our climate), the beauty of the human form – these are the subjects that inspire my paintings. Naturalistic representation has never much interested me. I take, rather, a transformative approach that seeks to capture a purely subjective experience, a state of mind, an evanescent thought. In this respect, my work owes as much to musical and literary influences as it does to visual stimuli. My aim is to suggest the extraordinary that lies just beneath the surface of the ordinary.  – Allen Shugar

SHIFTING LIGHT – Paintings by Allen Shugar
Exhibition dates: September 7 to September 30, 2017
Gallery hours & directions:   www.UrbanGallery.caSTILLNESS oil on canvas Allen Shugar

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MEET HANNA KOSTANSKI, URBAN GALLERY’S ARTIST OF THE MONTH!

Last night, Toronto’s coolest indie art venue, URBAN GALLERY, hosted the opening reception for HANNA KOSTANSKI, whose work is inspired by vintage photographs of our city from years gone by, found in the City of Toronto Archives.  With permission from the Archives, Hanna has recreated well-known intersections and streetscapes from the early 1900’s through to the 1980’s, adding colour and movement to the imagery, bringing the scenes to life.  Her show, 20th Century Toronto: Intersections & Interactions, runs until August 26th at Urban Gallery (400 Queen St East, Toronto) and I strongly recommend you visit in person to see if you recognize each of the locations she’s painted. Betcha you’ll be amazed to see how our city has changed!

About the artist:  Hanna was born in Szczecin, Poland, and grew up in Hamilton, Ontario. She obtained her BFA from OCAD University in 2007 and currently resides in Hamilton and works in Toronto. Her work can be found in dozens of private and public collections in both cities.Hanna Kostanski YONGE AND DUNDAS 1978 acrylic on board(Above) Yonge and Dundas, 1978 Acrylic on Wood 30″ x 60″ by Hanna Kostanski
From City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 92, Item 49 • Original Photograph by Harvey R. Naylor

Artist Statement:   For nearly a decade my work has been focused on the visible passage of time, experienced through the exploration and documentation of abandoned and decaying buildings in cities like Hamilton and Detroit. I have always been fascinated with historical architecture, specifically how we interact with our buildings and structures, and what happens when that interaction ceases to exist.

My current body of work continues to explore the connection between people and their environment, but with a focus on historical representations of that relationship.  To that end, I have been working on a series of paintings based on photographs found at the City of Toronto Public Archives. These images span several decades and are nostalgic of the city as it used to be. They celebrate the many past incarnations of Toronto, the vibrant intersections of the city and the interactions of its people.  Hanna Kostanski (2017)

The gallery was quickly crowded with fans of Hanna’s work which has recently garnered some exciting media attention – even Toronto Mayor John Tory has weighed in on Twitter about Hanna’s ability to capture a sense of time and place with her large format paintings.20170803_18202620170803_17482220170803_17564020170803_16431220170803_164228Two of Hanna’s BFF’s came to support her and found a familiar sight in this painting (below) of Yonge Street between Queen & Dundas! 20170803_171702 20170803_173123I think this fellow (above) must work on Bay Street – he appears to be looking for the location where his office now sits and explaining the old geography to his lovely companion.20170803_173228 20170803_180704Hanna welcome many of her friends and fans (above), all of whom seemed eager to see her newest paintings.

Fellow artist Nancy Bennett (below) looks like she’s calling a cab from the intersection of Yonge & Dundas…LOL20170803_172148Amidst the hub-bub of the busy gallery, I managed to grab Hanna for a quick chat about her work…

Hanna is also offering fine prints for those who don’t have the space for the original BIG paintings…here’s a happy art-lovin’ family who purchased 2 prints of their favourite paintings….20170803_173528(0)Here’s Wayne Abell of Urban Source Catering (they always present the most deelish treats for gallery openings!!) with KJ Mullins, publisher of NEWZ4U.ca, a Toronto-centric e-newspaper who really liked Hanna’s work.20170803_173304If you would like to come and play “spot the street” with Hanna’s work, please visit www.urbangallery.ca for gallery hours and directions.  You can also follow Hanna on social media via her own website: www.hannakostanski.com

 

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Thank you for supporting Canadian artists!

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NANCY BENNETT TELLS HOW SHE WALKED AWAY FROM THE 9 TO 5 LIFE TO EMBRACE HER INNER ARTIST

When I first came to Toronto in the late 70’s, I fulfilled my parents’ dream of a safe and secure life with an office job (dull…urgh!) which, thankfully, I walked away from in ’79 for a life in showbiz when I landed my first audition, the role of Magenta in the Toronto theatrical production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show! which obviously became my parents’ nightmare…LOL!  I had been doing my 9 to 5 work at a renowned investment house called Wood Gundy, where I first met Nancy Bennett who, unbeknownst to me at the time, was also struggling with her own office vs. arts dilemma.

Skip ahead a few decades and one day I encounter the same Nancy Bennett at an art show exhibiting her fabulous vibrant work – we’ve been playing catch up ever since.

Nancy in her booth @ Toronto's Riverdale Artwalk

Nancy in her booth @ Toronto’s Riverdale Artwalk

I was thrilled to hear of her journey since I last saw her when we used to share office gossip at our favourite after-work cocktail lounge; she has since left her busy career in the financial sector to devote her life to creating art full-time.  After securing her house, buying a dog and having a baby (whew, I’m exhausted even listing those), Nancy turned to her first love, painting, in 2008 when global finances took a very hard knock, impacting her career as well as most of those working on Bay Street.  As Nancy tells it….“I first started collecting works by local artists as an antidote to my work life which had become increasingly toxic…then I began painting again.”

After being laid-off from her day job in 2013, Nancy immediately began painting full-time; her first show “Kiss the Sky” at the Women’s Art Association of Canada, featured paintings of skyscapes using a knife, brush and rollers on canvas and wood, in both large and small formats. It took a couple of years and a deep “Group of Seven” phase for her to cultivate a style that feels natural – layered knife paintings on large wood panels. I recently visited Nancy’s studio and saw this new piece (below) that’s still in the early stages – she showed me how she layers her work… 20170721_105045

“My paintings combine skyscapes, which are universal, and landscapes, which are specific to each location. I’m passionate about sharing the appreciation for my urban home setting and emphasizing that we’re all under the same sky – a commonality that helps us talk and create art together. The sky is a constant in all our lives and is a source of unity, calm and wonder as well a source of endless variety. Through my work I encourage people to look up and know they are not alone.”

Nancy continues….”I paint with oil paints on wood. Through these materials, I feel a connection to the history of my craft. In the current world of social media, the relationships and communication are real but have a fairy-like quality, flitting around the edge of “real life” and fading away completely if not nurtured. All the new media art tools today have evolved through the work of artists over centuries. The textures of different paints are an inspiration for the hundreds of filters available on Instagram. My passion with oil painting is a homage to traditional creation and its interaction in the digital space is my acceptance to our technological evolution.”20170721_105005

In 2015, Nancy co-founded the Four Corners Studio Collective, a Toronto based group of four emerging artists working together, learning from each other’s skills and experiences and supporting growth in their respective careers.  That same year, she curated #TwitterFirstFriday, a monthly art show conducted on the social media platform.  The goals were to encourage networking between artists around the world and promote art through sharing across multiple networks. Throughout 2015, on the first Friday of each month Nancy gathered works posted by artists, evaluated them for suitability and adherence to the show’s rules and shared with an online community.

Nancy is a member of The Artists’ Network, CARFAC and the Akin Collective, and in 2017, she began volunteering at Art Heart, an arts program for vulnerable adults.

“I’m a social artist. I thrive in a community, share studio space and have an active online following on social media. Through my paintings, I bring the extended community into my world and transfer my physical space into their digital one. I share my views, interpretations and feelings as I work through a piece. I encourage my online community to observe their own surroundings with an artist’s eye and get involved in my work. I appreciate when they send me photos of scenes that inspire them or remind them of my work. Through this give-and-take, my audience is with me throughout as an active component of my process in addition to being a passive audience to the final piece.”17634397_1444251605608964_2311017889669336969_nUPCOMING SHOWS
August 2017 – Solo exhibit, Deer Park Library, 40 St. Clair Ave. East, Toronto
August 18- 20 2017 –  ArtWalk in the Square at Shops @ Don Mills, Booth #24.
February 2018 – The Artist Project, Exhibition Place, Toronto

You can follow Nancy on Facebook.com/NancyBennettArts or visit her website: www.nancybennett.ca14390924_1241314049236055_5450160895757346700_nAnd if you see Nancy at any of her upcoming shows, stop in to her booth, say hi and learn more about this multi-talented woman who (finally) got to follow her dreams….

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URBAN GALLERY CELEBRATES CANADA150 WITH STUNNING GROUP SHOW “O CANADA”

Yesterday, URBAN GALLERY (400 Queen St East, Toronto) opened the doors to officially launch their summer group show O CANADA (runs until July 29), featuring 17 Canadian artists with diverse cultural backgrounds and artistic styles whose individual visions of Canada celebrate the country’s 150th anniversary. Come take a virtual walk with me thru the gallery….

The stunning image by Erik Chong features the lyrics to the Canadian national anthem in all three official languages and Erik posed proudly in front of his painting, “Beautiful Day” (below)20170708_141459Celebrated wildlife photographer Linda Langerak has 3 gorgeous photos of BC creatures in the show (below) – I love the bald eagles…20170708_141140Kirk Sutherland created the frame around his “Terra Nova” painting from found architectural salvage featuring maple leaf designs. How clever is that?20170708_150459Caught this cool shot and realized afterwards that it was all about the stripes….LOL!20170708_150006Pauline Langmaid (below) drove in all the way from Bracebridge to showcase her glorious abstract landscapes…or should I say “lake-scapes”? 20170708_142055Pauline’s two paintings proved very popular with gallery visitors…20170708_160719 20170708_145939Another popular image was celebrity chef & photographer Lyndon Wiebe‘s photo of a windswept view of Port Hope (below). Lyndon brought out an extended print showing more of the scene – located to the west of the town where housing development meets grassland.  20170708_144818(0) 20170708_161500Film industry professional and accomplished photographic artist Karen Silver chose a chilly winter scene of a Toronto park and a lonely bicycle. Now that’s one seat I would not like to sit on…LOL!20170708_142229Kris Bovenizer (below centre) talks with a guest about her two acrylic on canvas works…the sea-faring image on the left is now a label on bottles of a limited edition maple syrup bottled for a Canadian business leader (as Canada150 corporate gifts for his clients). How cool..and congrats to Kris. 20170708_151736And Kris posed with fellow artist Kirk Sutherland and gallery owner Calvin Hambrook (below)20170708_144136Manije Sabet Sarvestani (below) brought two oil-on-canvas works: “Canada Day in Quebec City” (on left) and “Thornhill Festival” (on right). The soft-spoken artist let her work do all the talking and these certainly announced her talent loudly!20170708_145703Kent Bridges was the first artist to score a “red dot” (a sale) for his “Life in a Northern Town”. Here he is (below left in red) with purchaser and fan David Currah of Toronto’s Fife House. Congrats to Kent who was all smiles as he celebrated the sale.20170708_140935 20170708_145308Ronald Regamey uses a technique known as “quilling” to create beautiful 3 dimensional paper & glue artwork. Here’s Ronald being snapped by Calvin in front of his latest piece titled “Alive”.20170708_145416(0) 20170708_145438…Ronald had a number of family and friends congratulating him on his gallery appearance – they were so animated and excited it was hard to get them all to stand still for a photo…LOL20170708_150035Gallery curator Allen Shugar and poet/artist Brenda Clews also met under Ronald’s work….20170708_150050…while Linda Langerak snapped away with Kirk (below)20170708_150521The delicious food was catered by Urban Source Catering and the platters were themselves works of art.20170708_141011 20170708_140959Colin Nun (below left) who recently had his own successful solo show at Urban Gallery, shares his thoughts on his work “Canada” with KJ Mullins (below R) editor of NEWZ4U.ca20170708_152712In fact, a lot of guests remarked on the uniqueness of Colin’s oil-on-canvas typographical and topographical view of the country.20170708_141116Snapd newspaper photographer Gianmarco dropped by to cover the event and got busy snapping the artists…20170708_153729 20170708_153539I managed to grab a quick pic of Joan Andal Romano with her “True North” mixed media on canvas. So many intricate details to view, it must have taken her many hours to create.20170708_15425920170708_140749Several artists were unable to attend, 3 delivered beautiful Canadian landscapes – Stacey Kinder‘s “Light” featuring a stand of trees in the fall, Christine Marin‘s “On Bear Trap Road” (2nd pic) and Grace Dam‘s snowy “Canmore” (3rd pic)….20170708_140802 20170708_145552Dam CANADIAN ICONS -CANMORE ALBERTA 48w x 60h oil on canvas..and Aisha Chiguichon was represented by this provocative acrylic on canvas titled “Stereotypes”CHIGUICHON StereotypesVictoria General attended but the shy artist preferred to let her work take centre stage and declined a photo. Victoria works in charcoal on paper – here are “We Need a Bit More Sand, I Think” (upper) and “I’ll Have to Call You Back” (lower).20170708_151807The reception drew many art lovers and more red dots should be appearing alongside these Canada150 artful tributes. I hope you get a chance to visit in person and support the talented artists at Urban Gallery.20170708_144203 20170708_150135 20170708_150423

Urban Gallery, 400 Queen St East, Toronto  www.urbangallery.ca20170708_155624

Urban Gallery is also available for rental if you wish to host your corporate or private party, reception or even a sit-down dinner with delicious food & refreshments courtesy of Urban Source Catering. Visit the website for details.

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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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A VISIT TO ARTUSIASM ART GALLERY, TORONTO

Last Friday evening, I had the pleasure of visiting a charming new storefront gallery along St. Clair West in Toronto – ARTUSIASM GALLERY – owned by Carlos Sa Rodrigues and his talented artist wife, Tanzina Amin pictured below.  Their current show, Life in the City, runs until May 1st.

Photo courtesy Linda Langerak

Photo courtesy Linda Langerak

Accomplished photographer and artist Linda Langerak invited me to the opening soiree and I was so pleased I accepted – what an exciting array of art from established and emerging local artists, and I was thrilled to find a number of pieces by a favourite painter friend, Kirk Sutherland (below).20170421_201952 18011082_1918219125130778_2553514075971526526_nOwner Tanzina is also quite the talent with a paintbrush – I really like her colourful exotic portraits (below)20170421_202542 20170421_202751 20170421_203648Another artist friend, Aisha Chiguichon, was also exhibiting there with 2 pieces, and she was having fun posing for friends just like a red carpet veteran!20170421_203558 20170421_202434 20170421_202444…even Linda started snapping away at all the work by fellow artists (below)20170421_203605I managed to round up several artists for a photo call…look at all those happy smiling faces!20170421_202518 20170421_20313520170421_203624The general consensus from the artists was that they all felt respected and well cared for by Carlos and Tanzina who even built a special access ramp for wheelchair-bound artist H. Jordyn Taylor, pictured below with her painting “Below the Stains of Time”. The usually shy Jordyn had a blast meeting lots of new fans of her work.20170421_203306Another lovely painting I discovered was “Don’t Tell Me to Smile” by Helena Napal, pictured below with her work.20170421_202346There were a couple of really fine cityscapes featuring the iconic CN Tower…20170421_201930 20170421_202057…and lots of familiar street scenes and abstracts, too.20170421_202015 20170421_202028 20170421_203518So many local Toronto artists are showcased in this show and I strongly recommend you drop by Artusiasm Gallery located at 1684 St Clair West, Toronto before the show closes on May 1.  You can’t miss the gallery – just look for this stunning streetcar painting in the window!20170421_202954Congratulations to Tanzina, Carlos and all the artists for a wonderful opening!  Check their website for details: www.artusiasm.com20170421_211419

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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!