Tag Archives: Leslieville

TOQs

I VISIT “THE OTHER QUEEN STREET” FESTIVAL IN TORONTO….BUT NOT TOO MANY OTHER PEOPLE DO

Thanks to social media promotions and emails from Mark Gleberzon of MJG Gallery on Queen East near Carlaw, I decided to visit the inaugural TOQS (The Other Queen Street) shop, sip and stroll event hosted by the local BIA…it was one of the hottest humid days this summer (so far) – not the most ideal conditions for an asthmatic like myself. I was looking forward to joining the locals in celebrating this groovy neighbourhood known for its vintage and antique stores, home decor, fashion and foodie retailers, but sadly you could almost hear the crickets chirping! There was virtually no focus and no ta-daa excitement for what was advertised as an inaugural annual street festival event. In fact, the street felt and looked more like this….vitnageI know it’s hard presenting neighbourhood celebrations but when you have BIA (Business Improvement Association) funding, engaged & motivated retailers/restaurants wanting to reach new customers and thousands of int’l visitors looking for cool inexpensive activities thanks to the PanAm Games, the lack of promotions, publicity and a simple marketing campaign made for a very sad visit to one of my favourite places in Toronto’s downtown area…Leslieville. At least I discovered a fascinating new home decor store and visited a gallery known for supporting local artists. Join me now for a virtual stroll…..

As I walked east from the Carlaw bus stop, I first noticed this lovely store – Home James – featuring home decor, gifts and accessories, all very affordable and a delightful array of treasures.

20150718_122300 20150718_121625 20150718_121355 20150718_121532I spoke briefly with owner/curator James Lane (pictured below) who also does home staging and interior decorating for clients, and he, too, was rather disappointed with the lack of signage, street and lightpole banners.

20150718_121124I was delighted, tho, when I discovered some wonderful art on his walls courtesy of local artists, esp. the charcoal farm animal drawings of Susan O’Neil (below)…I so want the little sheep at the bottom. Isn’t she gorgeous?

20150718_121418 20150718_121423 20150718_121426Jane Theodore‘s colourful graphic works and greeting cards were also a great find (below)…

20150718_121612….and lots more great art and finds. I spotted several potential Christmas gifts here so I’ll be going back for sure. Please check out the store yourself at 998 Queen St East, Toronto. www.homejamesdecor.com

20150718_122220 20150718_122229Next, on to MJG Gallery at 1028 Queen East to visit my friend, gallery owner and artist Mark Gleberzon and thank goodness his A/C was up full-blast. By the time I walked the one block from Home James, the humidity had turned my freshly coiffed hair into a blonde furball and my mascara had melted down my cheeks!

20150718_122835 20150718_122839Mark was having a sidewalk sale of art books, wood carvings and art work, taking advantage of what promised to be a busy TOQS Saturday. He was in the midst of re-arranging the gallery, moving some of the massive pieces around so I had fun taking pics of all the paintings leaning up against the walls and furniture….lots of work by some of my fave artists including Mark’s own work (1st 2 pics below). http://mjggallery.com/

20150718_123133 20150718_123146 20150718_123652 20150718_123725

20150718_123745I loved the happy robots waving goodbye to gallery visitors (below)….so friendly and cute, they made me smile!

20150718_123736I do hope the Leslieville BIA folks get it together for next year, perhaps even upload the event to their website, too. No, the poster was not there, nor were there any event details of the who, what, where, when, why of TOQS. Their blog which promotes the “latest news” from the neighbourhood shows outdated 2014 posts, nothing about today’s event. There were no balloons, no music, no street food (hey, food trucks are always looking for new locations) and no banners telling passers by to stop and take a stroll along the several blocks of Leslieville.

As a publicist and marketing consultant, I cannot stress enough the need for neighbourhoods and their Business Improvement Associations to effectively use social media for promotions, keep their websites updated, notify local newspapers and bloggers and reaching out to organizations such as Tourism Toronto to attract visitors. You don’t just post something on your Facebook then hope people find you. The potential for today’s event was extraordinary, but sadly they missed the mark by a mile. Next year, I hope to visit a whole new exciting and well-promoted TOQS…I’m rooting for them.

 

20150606_144413

STROLL WITH ME THRU THIS WEEKEND’S RIVERDALE ART WALK

What a beautiful sunny afternoon in Toronto…perfect for strolling the aisles of this year’s Riverdale Art Walk, visiting artist friends (like the fabulous Kelly Grace, above) and meeting new talented painters and sculptors. You still have another day to visit yourself – on Queen St East in Jimmie Simpson Park (details at bottom of this blog). Joining me on my artful trek was Erena, my BFF who is also an art collector who appreciates discovering new talent. I introduced her first to Sheila Thompson (below), a fibre artist whom I first met at the Artists’ Project a couple of months ago.

20150606_133532 20150606_133541www.sheilathompson.ca

Next, I was inspired by the beautiful, photographic quality of Marsha Strycharz‘s still-life paintings (below)

20150606_133833 20150606_133843www.marshastrycharz.blogspot.com

I really liked the contrast in style exhibited by fine art photographer Felicity Somerset (below) who offered framed prints of industrial rust and weathering close-ups, as well as the delicate hummingbirds and flowers featured in her packages of notecards.

20150606_134119 20150606_134130 20150606_134433www.felicitysomersetphotography.com

Mark Glebersen is one of my Toronto art heroes – his MJG Gallery is fast becoming the go-to gallery in Leslieville and here he is (below) representin’ with some colourful, joyful pieces….

20150606_134529 20150606_134633www.mjggallery.com

As I watched visitors entering photographer Lorie Slater‘s tent, each and every one of them smiled, pointed to familiar scenes and spent a lot of time guessing locations of the subjects she paints. Behind Lorie (below) is a graffiti of Felix the Cat located in an alley near her home…she told me she took the photo only a day or two before someone painted over it so she was pleased she captured the scene before it was too late.

20150606_135154 20150606_135222www.lorieslater.com

Loved the crows featured prominently in Katherine Palmer‘s paintings (below). You could almost hear the caw-caw!

20150606_135744www.katpalmer.ca

I first met painter Karola Steinbrecher up at Schomberg a couple of years ago and fell madly in love with her chicken pictures (below). I find something very comforting and cheerful in her work which makes me feel a little guilty about eating KFC! That giant rooster on red background (below) is going to be MINE!

20150606_140143 20150606_140325www.karola.ca

Rob Croxford!!! Who doesn’t love this guy’s work? Great sense of fun, intellectually stimulating, conversation starters, locally themed…and affordable. Bravo, Rob, another great show for you.

20150606_140736

20150606_140742www.robcroxford.com

Another fave of mine is Ian Busher (below) – in fact, I have one of his pieces hanging in my place right now. I thought Erena would enjoy meeting him and seeing how he works in the different mediums.

20150606_141140 20150606_141145www.studiobusher.com

I love discovering new artists I’ve never seen before…like Roberto Centazzo (below) who works in marble mosaics. Stunning to view in person, sorry my pics don’t do them justice. His elephant mosaic is made completely from stones found down at the Leslieville lakeshore…wow!

20150606_141717 20150606_141728 20150606_141839www.stonefolio.com

Sculptor Jeremy Guy (below) exhibited some of his more manageable pieces at Art Walk – I hear he has a sculpture garden with huge, over-sized pieces. Jeremy’s work is very tactile and you are encouraged to actually touch the artwork here.

20150606_143211 20150606_143220 20150606_143227www.jeremy-guy.com

Walking into Jessica Masters‘ booth (below) was a very calming experience. Her soft pastels beckoned me in…I felt as though I could escape right into her pictures, onto the sands of Maine and chase the seagulls. A lovely talented lady with charming stories for each of her pictures.

20150606_143445 20150606_143629www.jessicamasters.com

The uber fabulous Kelly Grace (below) was well-represented with her tiny perfect portraits as well as some new works (bottom pic). She was trying out a new hair ‘do which made me jealous…I so need a cut’n’colour!

20150606_144412

20150606_144453www.kellective.com

Atten…shun!  Brian Harvey strikes a pose between two of his Toronto streetscapes (below). Brian and Stewart Jones (who didn’t participate at this show) are two of my fave Toronto streetscape painters – each offers up pieces with great personality & atmosphere, and a colour palette that matches perfectly their real-life locations. Brian told me the diner was actually a New York City view, but the green-toned alleyway was a view not far from his home.

20150606_144902 20150606_144910 20150606_145031www.brianharvey.ca

Lois Shaw posed alongside one of her large format paintings of giant chili peppers…what a fabulous foodie picture! Can’t you just see this painting hanging in some classy Italian eatery? Lois has actually been commissioned to paint something just like that for a client’s new kitchen and needless to say, it was a big hit.

20150606_145416 20150606_145442 20150606_145527www.loisshawfineart.com

Dog-lover Zoey Zoric (below) offered some striking poochie portraits that attracted a lot of 4-legged as well as 2-legged fans. I got to meet a lovely collie who came in for a drink of water and a cool-down with Zoey who was also promoting Happy Tails Rescue organization – they rescue, foster and adopt out small furry friends. If you’re looking for a new pal, drop in to her booth on Sunday and pick up some information or visit their website: www.happytailsrescue.ca

20150606_151105 20150606_151113

20150606_150528www.zoeyzoric.tumblr.com

The last booth I visited was that of Kari Serrao. Love love looooove her farmyard animals with their soulful eyes staring back at me. Another booth that made me think twice about my steak and eggs, bacon, lamb chops…. so Erena and I went for sushi after visiting show…thanks, Kari!

20150606_151311www.kariserrao.com

Tomorrow looks like a nice, sunny day but go early as there is some rain coming in towards the end of Sunday. Check out the official website for details: http://www.artistsnetwork.ca/

Thank you for supporting Canadian artists!