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.I 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 ….
I then spoke with Jean Fode who discovered art and her creativity later in life and who is now enjoying the art of collage.
Jeffrey Mason has a unique take on the world and his humorous portraits of politi-cats definitely provoke conversation as well as laughs!
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….Other 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”.Sculptor 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.Gallery 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….
What a wonderful showcase of multi-media artworks from four talented Toronto-based artists from the LGBT community!! Congratulations to URBAN GALLERY and its curator Allen Shugar, for presenting an outstanding exhibition of paintings, text-based graphics, digital and acrylic on canvas art celebrating this year’s annual PRIDE month. I got there nice and early and had the gallery to myself to record a quick video walk-around:
The first artist to arrive at the gallery was the charming Eugene Nam whose striking large format acrylic-on-canvas works were both powerful and beautiful. The textural quality of his work was such that I wanted to reach out and touch the brushstrokes…..but I resisted!Eugene came to Toronto a few years ago from S. Korea, via San Francisco. I asked him why he left the city by the bay to come all the way to Toronto and he told me…. In South Korea, our sexual identity must be kept hidden – homosexuality is not openly tolerated. As soon as I could, I left and went to the U.S. to pursue my passion for painting but once I heard of Toronto’s attitude of acceptance and inclusion, I knew that’s where I belonged. Since arriving, I have felt such freedom to live, love and create. I’m so happy to participate in Urban Gallery’s showcase so I can share my feelings with you all through my work. The next artist to arrive was TV and commercial producer Barbara Zumer whose love of creative writing and words she now showcases in her art.One of Barbara’s pieces is actually printed on a mirror so I had a bit of fun with it…just so happens I recently had my hair done so the message is very appropriate, don’t you think? LOLI was definitely pulled towards the digital anime-like images created by the very tall Jeffrey Mason (below).His whimsical and wild illustrations of cat-like pop culture icons created quite the stir – people chuckled as they gazed at the instantly recognizable references… Jeffrey also published a book of his work and copies were quickly snapped up by gallery visitors.Former digital producer and part-time teacher at Centennial College, Hank Blondeau (below) is exhibiting some pretty striking images….…below is Hank’s pair of huge digital art prints titled Lightimage Left and Lightimage RightDo these stripes make me look thin?There was something for every taste in art and I must say, it’s one of my favourite shows in recent months.Even the catering, courtesy of Urban Source Catering, looked like works of art…and it all tasted simply delicious!The PROUD ART show runs until June 30th and I encourage you to visit in person to view all of the above and more. URBAN GALLERY is located at 400 Queen St East, Toronto – just East of Parliament St. www.urbangallery.ca
But hurry…the art is selling quickly. Jeffrey’s Bunny Sushi already has a red dot on it!!