Tag Archives: paintings

20170907_164330

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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MEET ARTIST PAULINE LANGMAID, A TRUE NORTHERN SPIRIT!

Several months ago, I was sitting on the subway staring at the inane advertising banners – no I don’t want to meet sexy singles, nor do I want to buy a house and I am certainly not interested in a change of career at this point in my life! I overheard two ladies chatting and laughing nearby, so I found an opening to contribute to the conversation and soon found myself enjoying the journey with joyful companions. Skip ahead to present day and one of them, artist Pauline Langmaid, is now a friend and a client.

Based up north in Bracebridge, Pauline’s work is reminiscent of the famed Group of Several meets Edvard Munch meets Emily Carr – full of colour and bold strokes that describe her vision of the stark landscapes that surround her.Pauline-Langmaid_4351_Social-Media Pauline-Langmaid_Pic-Island_1600x1064I recently spoke with Pauline, asking her to share her thoughts on painting, her inspirations and her advice for others wanting a painterly life.

What first inspired you to start painting professionally, more than as a hobby?   I just wanted/needed to paint everyday and I belong to several wonderful groups of artists, The Burk’s Falls Art and Crafts Club, the Kearney Art Group; the Almaguin Highlands Arts Council; the East Central Ontario Artists Association; and the Muskoka Art and Craft Club who have been instrumental in my growth as an artist and continually encourage me to keep painting and to sell my paintings.Pauline 003Did you have any formal training and if so, where?  My first courses began when I was 8 years old at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery under the skilled direction of Paul Sloggett who is now a renowned Canadian Abstract artist.  I’ve also studied at Meta 4 Gallery, primarily with Linda Edwards.  The Haliburton School of the Arts introduced me to Ramune Luminaire and I took many courses from her as well both in Haliburton and in Oshawa at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery.  Janine Marsden and Diane Finlayson of Huntsville have also been instrumental in my growth as an artist.Pauline 007Who are your artistic inspirations?  I started out in love with Van Gogh’s work and moved on to Emily Carr – I long-lamented that she was not still around to guide and mentor me.  People over the years have told me that my work also reminds them of Edvard Munch’s work.  I have recently completed two paintings in the Jackson Pollock style and can understand why he painted this way – it was extremely satisfying.  Another huge inspiration is, of course, Mother Nature.  One of my favorite subjects is Georgian Bay after an awe inspiring kayaking trip with some wonderful girlfriends who are all over the age of 50.  I have painted at least 10 paintings of that trip in the past 3 years.Pauline-Langmaid_Georgian-Bay-Pine_1600x1283Pauline-Langmaid_4321_Social-MediaDo you have a preferred colour palette or technique, and if so, explain?  My favorite palette is orange and its complements, I’m not sure why.  My favorite way to paint is to find something in nature…sketch it, take photos of it, bring it back to the studio and begin putting down ideas.  I will often integrate many different scenes I’ve seen in nature into one painting.  At this point, I will pick my colour palette using my colour wheel, generally try to force the painting into something that I think it should be, fail miserably, then pray and do my best to let go!  Once I have been able to let go of the outcome, I get up very close and personal with my canvas and the paint just starts flowing and I try not to think.  Then the hard part comes when I need to stop this feeling part and look carefully at it and place finishing touches.17992122_1274465729297558_3029712665192584507_nYour current work shows a very bold style – how do people react to your paintings upon first sight?  And does this excite you as an artist?  I can place people’s reactions in two distinct categories.  They either “get it” or they don’t and that is ok with me.  Those who “get it” get very excited start dancing around in my small studio and expressing quite loudly that they see what I am trying to convey and often purchase at least one item, large or small, as a token of their experience.  Then there are those who don’t “get it” and they basically walk in and walk out.  All reactions are valid.  The comments I most often get are “WOW!”; “that’s interesting”; and “there’s just something about your painting, I can’t put my finger on it but I love it”.  People have definite favorites and some have compared one of my trees with a face to “Groot”, a character from the Guardians of the Galaxy movie.  At the time I painted her, I had never even seen the movie.  Possibly because my tag line is “art as worship” I have many conversations relating to God and spirit and how He/She/It moves in their lives.  More than once people have been moved to tears as a reaction to some of my paintings.  Of course I love to sell my paintings as this allows me to continue painting and spreading God’s love, however, just having people come into my studio and understand what it is I am trying to say is very gratifying. October Wind Three TreesCan you tell us about your studio which is located 3hrs north of Toronto?  My studio is located in the historical Clock Tower Center in Bracebridge, Ontario.  I was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time and was able to secure this lovely creative space.  I love my days in my little studio (below) where I get to paint and interact with people from all over the world.  I currently have a guest artist, Tamara Blakelok, also sharing my space.  Martin Sheffield, the owner of the building, had a vision and has created an amazing space for fine artists and artisans, and it’s also a Clock Museum housing many antique clocks available for sale.Pauline 014 Pauline 012Bracebridge’s historical Federal Post Office building, now renamed “The Clock Tower Centre” is officially listed as one of Ontario’s notable clock towers.  It’s located in the heart of the downtown at the corner of Bracebridge’s busiest main intersection, Manitoba and Taylor Streets.  Within the walls of the Clock Tower Centre you will find a treasure trove of artist studios, galleries, boutiques and spas creating an incredible shopping experience that will keep you coming back for more.

You seem to have a lot of support from your local community via social media and attendance at art shows – has this helped your decision to reach out to a bigger audience in Toronto and across Canada?  I was invited to do a solo show at the Dwight Public Library last year and at the Pickering Village Jam Festival this year.  I also participate in group shows across Northern Ontario and in Algonquin Park.  The Burk’s Falls Art & Crafts Club has an Arts Center where all members show and sell their work and I have pieces for sale at this location.  I do have quite a following via social media and, yes, these things have encouraged me to reach out and test the waters in the larger Toronto market and across Canada.  I kept telling my Burk’s Falls group that the Group of Seven painted their masterpieces up here and took them to Toronto to sell.  I decided I needed to put my money where my mouth is!The Hills Are AliveAny other comments or advice for those taking up a paintbrush?  Just keep painting but also learn by intention the basics of drawing, composition and of colour.  This makes a huge impact in our work.  Get connected with other like-minded people who are willing to share their expertise and once you get some expertise share that with others, remembering:
“We Learn…
10% of what we read
20% of what we hear
30% of what we see
50% of what we see and hear
70% of what we discuss
80% of what we experience
95% of what we teach others.”- William Glasser

So I say stick with the winners.  Most importantly, get connected with your higher power whoever or whatever that is for you personally.  For me this is God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost who direct my path and help me to paint my paintings.The Other Side 3

You can learn more about Pauline at: www.paulinelangmaid.com and you can view her paintings in Toronto at Urban Gallery, 400 Queen St East (“O Canada” group show closes July 29). You can also follower her on social media at:  Facebook.com/Pauline-Langmaid-Fine-ArtPauline 016I recommend buying a Pauline Langmaid original now before too many collectors find her and recognize her talent! You can’t go wrong investing in Canadian artists.Print

 

 

 

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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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STOCKYARDS GALLERY CELEBRATES CANADA’S 150th BIRTHDAY WITH GROUP SHOW

ast night, I joined 100+ guests of artist and gallery owner LOLA LIVINGSTON as she unveiled her 2nd group show, I ♥ CANADAat the new STOCKYARDS GALLERY located at 1611 Dupont St, Toronto (inside the fabulous Rebarn showroom). Featuring multiple artists working in various mediums, the show will run throughout the month of July…although several pieces were sold on the spot last night!

Here’s Lola cutting the celebratory cake that carries a copy of her painting Super Justin (a portrait of our popular Prime Minister)20170629_214246Here are the stunning landscape paintings by LEE MUNN who attended with his charming wife (pictured below with a royal “special guest”)….20170629_182732 20170629_200549JOHNY DELUNA has 2 pieces featured in this show -here he is (at left) schmoozing with fellow artist ROBERT WERTHEIMER and his wife.20170629_183719And here’s Johny chatting with glass sculptor LAYNE VERBEEK about his featured pieces of hand-carved cast glass.20170629_184017Layne sold 2 beautiful pieces of art glass to casting director and art lover, RON LEACH (below with his prized new artworks)20170629_214739Here’s award-winning fine artist ERIK CHONG with Lola…Erik brought his wife Jeanette to help celebrate Canada’s anniversary with the other artists, including ANGEL TORRES (bottom pic)20170629_191151 20170629_195409(0)Watch out Erik, the Mounties are after their man!20170629_195450One of Toronto’s happiest artists must be SHAWN SKEIR who was always ready for a photo opp. Here he is (far left) arriving with friends….then hanging with AL “RUNT” CURRIE who also had a couple of works in the show…and sold one last night, too.20170629_195929(0) 20170629_20002620170629_200039I was pleased to meet film industry professional and photographic artist ROBERT WERTHEIMER  (below) for whom this was his debut showcase. Robert has a great eye for everyday objects and places, making them appear quite mythic in his photographs. Unfortunately, due to lighting reflections, I wasn’t able to capture a true image of his work so best to go visit in person to see what I mean. There’s an awesome photo of a giant ship’s propeller complete with rusty patina – I think that will have my name on it before the end of the show!20170629_184550_001 20170629_191106(0)Lola was such a busy lady, welcoming so many of her friends, family and art lovers to her unique indie gallery….and the deelish spread attracted lots of hungry patrons!20170629_194546 20170629_193512 20170629_183749Lola’s husband, Mark, helped man the bar (below) – he owns Rebarn, designing and handcrafting custom wood furniture, doors and home accessories.20170629_203930Enjoy a couple more photos from last night’s festivities…. 20170629_185622 20170629_191041I ♥ CANADA runs until July 29th at Stockyards Gallery, 1611 Dupont Street, Toronto. Check the website for hours and directions:  www.stockyardsgallery.ca

Happy Canada Day and Happy Canada150 to all!20170629_194608logo 1

 

 

pridegroupshow2017

URBAN GALLERY LAUNCHES ITS ANNUAL PRIDE GROUP SHOW IN TORONTO

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!20170610_135912 20170610_134428 20170610_134503 20170610_134610Eugene 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.  20170610_135902(0)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.20170610_134402 20170610_140527One 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?  LOL20170610_134358I was definitely pulled towards the digital anime-like images created by the very tall Jeffrey Mason (below).20170610_140557(0)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…20170610_13410020170610_134111_001 Jeffrey also published a book of his work and copies were quickly snapped up by gallery visitors.20170610_140616Former digital producer and part-time teacher at Centennial College, Hank Blondeau (below) is exhibiting some pretty striking images….20170610_14184220170610_134133…below is Hank’s pair of huge digital art prints titled Lightimage Left and Lightimage Right20170610_134203 20170610_141830Do these stripes make me look thin?20170610_144201There was something for every taste in art and I must say, it’s one of my favourite shows in recent months.20170610_140814 20170610_141723 20170610_140824 20170610_140958 20170610_141649Even the catering, courtesy of Urban Source Catering, looked like works of art…and it all tasted simply delicious!20170610_135023 20170610_135027 20170610_135032 20170610_135038 20170610_135043 20170610_135055(0) 20170610_135101 20170610_135113(0)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!!20170610_141958

 

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HANGING PAINTINGS WITH JOHNY DELUNA

25+ large paintings were hung at the Art Square Gallery last night – Toronto contemporary artist JOHNY DELUNA is getting ready for his Thursday (June 8, 6-9pm) opening reception of his solo show “Spontaneous Levitation” so I spent some time with him as he measured and moved, then measured again all his spectacular works. I snapped a few pics of close-up details (see below) from several of his paintings which illustrate the textural quality of his work with raised dots of paint with multiple colours – very hard to achieve and extremely time-consuming.20170605_190559 20170605_190611 20170605_182852And I love some of the mythical creatures and people who dance across the canvases….20170605_183058 20170605_183111 20170605_192137And who doesn’t love galloping giraffes (below) in a windswept land and seascape?20170605_182830As Johny was busy up the ladder, a young man came in obviously intrigued with what was going on…he was soon chatting with Johny about the paintings and the stories behind each one.20170605_191657 20170605_192400Hopefully you are also intrigued and will join Johny at Art Square Gallery, 334 Dundas St West, Toronto (opp. the Art Gallery of Ontario) this Thursday Jun.8th 6-9pm. Spontaneous Levitation runs until June 19th so if you can’t make it this week, you have another week to catch these wild and provocative paintings.

Here are some of the comments from Johny’s previous solo art show….come add your own observations and kudos.20170605_192001 20170605_192032_001 20170605_192048

 

27. Arabella Summer-Fall 2016

MEET THE PUBLISHERS OF ARABELLA, CANADA’S PREMIERE ART & DESIGN MAGAZINE

Having been a regular reader of ARABELLA, the quarterly magazine featuring the best in art, design and architecture, I thought my own readers would like to learn more about this gorgeous glossy mag and meet the publishers who bring us the beautiful images and stories of those who create and exhibit such masterpieces. You can view the magazine here:  www.arabelladesign.com

Debra and Brian Usher have been supporting Canadian and international artists and galleries with their magazine for many years – in fact, I first met them at Westmount Gallery in Toronto several years back when I was working with artist Bruce Lawes whose stunning hyper-realistic equine paintings were being showcased there at the time. While gallery visitors ooo’d and aaah’d at Bruce’s work, I quietly sat in a corner eagerly thumbing through the current issue of Arabella, intrigued by the contents and marveling at the new artist discoveries to be had inside the covers. (2 of Bruce Lawes’ equine paintings have been featured on the cover – below)9. Arabella Winter 2010 21. Arabella Spring-Summer 2014After many years of living and publishing their magazine in Toronto, a couple of years ago Debra and Brian decided the time was right for a move down east so they purchased an historic home and barn in the seaside town of St. Andrews, New Brunswick and established their business in this picturesque new location. I recently caught up with them via phone and asked them to share their thoughts on the art world, publishing and their new home amidst the salt air and crashing Atlantic waves….

What first inspired you to launch a big glossy art magazine?  We didn’t start with the idea of “big and glossy” but instead looked at what other art magazines were doing and tried to determine how well they provided art consumers and art lovers with an experience that portrayed both the art and the artist in the most effective way.  The artists and galleries we talked to were concerned about reaching a wider audience as the standard “art tours” had pretty much ran their course and their audiences were dwindling.  We started with the business idea – how can we best promote and support the sale of art? To accomplish this we needed to really reach a national and international audience.

Editor-n-Chief, Debra Usher

Editor-n-Chief, Debra Usher

A magazine with national and international distribution required a look and feel unlike anything on the book-shelves. While “big and glossy” is often seen as a waste of a natural forestry resource, it in fact was an important feature for ensuring that ARABELLA was going to be treated much like a coffee-book, a keepsake that could take readers on an artistic and engaging journey that lasts beyond a quick scan and becomes a lasting visual and narrative treasure.

When we looked at “the competition” for the most part, other art related publications seemed to be more focused on “critical dialogue” as this was central to their not-for-profit, charitable commitments to “educating the public”.  As a result their editorial content tends to place more of an emphasis on thoughtful, academic analysis and less on the raw, emotional experience of the visual.  We knew we had to get beyond the boundaries of conventional art publications. ARABELLA had to be about beauty in all its forms and provide readers with an unforgettable reading experience! It was a gamble on our part but we had all sorts of feedback that the audience for critical dialogue was much smaller than the audience of those who want to be visually and emotionally engaged by the art, the artists and their stories. Maybe it’s just a different audience, but we now believe they overlap.23. Arabella Winter-Spring 2015 24. Arabella Summer 2015So, we started ARABELLA in order to help support and promote artists and galleries from a commercial perspective first and recognized that in order to sell art the consumer or reader had to get as close to the art as possible. In designing our format, we emphasized the visual through full colour large scale imagery which requires the highest quality of printing – or as you say “big and glossy”.

As opposed to presenting “analysis and critical dialogue” from an external, expert perspective, we decided to focus on what is now pretty much accepted as the most critical aspect of selling – i.e. namely to tell stories, particularly from the perspective of the artists and the gallery owners.   ARABELLA gives artists and galleries their own voice and helps readers connect with the people behind the art.22. Arabella Fall 2014Are you both artists yourselves? Have you dabbled in any creative arts?  Both our careers have involved multiple aspects of creative arts. Brian and I have been involved in painting, photography, and creative crafts.

For the most part, these activities have been secondary to us pursuing business careers that focused on helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses through effective change management and leadership development.  Anyone involved in these aspects of businesses will recognize and identify with the creative processes and innovation required for success.

With so many newspapers and magazines going out of business on almost a monthly basis, how do you keep Arabella relevant & popular?  Well actually that’s two questions.  I’ll deal with last one first.  The relevance and popularity factors are pretty much driven by having a strong network in the commercial side of the art world. We are constantly monitoring and research trends and patterns through direct contacts; as many forms of media as possible; and feedback from artists, as well as our readers.

The format and editorial focus on the magazine, as outlined above, is built on understanding what is popular and relevant with our readership. It pretty much follows that we have a very strong chance of addressing customer needs.

The issue of newspapers and magazines going out of business is really a direct result of these mediums failing to understand what readers are looking for in their lives. ARABELLA recognizes a critical reality – namely that we are in the entertainment business. Our readers are looking for an opportunity to take a journey, to appreciate beauty and make it a part of their lives.

Having said that, our biggest challenge is funding the production of the magazine through direct advertising revenue. This is a problem that we share with newspapers and other magazines.

Brian, a couple of years ago, you moved home & business out to St. Andrews, New Brunswick, from Ontario – how did this move impact your work and lives? And can you tell us about your lovely new home?  Our move to St. Andrews was first and foremost a lifestyle decision. We were first enchanted by the people, and the architectural and cultural charm of the town and the region. Something about moving to the sea seemed almost like a natural at this point in our lives.

There’s no denying that there were clear economics involved as the real estate values were significantly more affordable. But at the same time we realized that a lot of what we do to produce the magazine is actually done via the internet and we actually had already established a virtual team of writers, photographers, and designers.  With access to “relatively high-speed” internet we thought the move was well worth it.

Brian Usher, Publisher

Brian Usher, Publisher

There have been some limitations – but most of these are now under control as we have now established a local New Brunswick production team and we are looking to reach a wider audience by using a Toronto-based publicity specialist and targeted advertising to continue to expand our footprint in the market.  The one limitation Debra will be sure to mention is access to the range of food stuffs we were used to in Ontario. But no question the seafood is bountiful and we have a much better appreciation for what’s involved in being a part of the fishing industry on the East Coast. It’s certainly not an easy occupation, particularly given the amount of time spent on the ocean in winter months.2. The Anchorage and BarnOur new home (pictured above) is locally described as a Maritime Gothic Revival residence and is listed in the Canadian Registry of Historic Places. The original house was built in 1825 as a rectory for the first Roman Catholic priest and the house is now known as The Anchorage.

This style is characterized by the three Gothic gables that break the plane of the roof-line. The central and largest cross-gable, with a pitched roof, is flanked by two smaller cross-gables with jerkin head roofs. The cross-gables are heavily molded and each contains Gothic Revival windows. Gable returns and single-story bay windows are used in the side façade. This attractive property has beautiful grounds which, when built, occupied an entire block-face.1. The AnchorageIt has both the charms and the wrinkles of a building that age. One of St. Andrews most historically significant homes, The Anchorage has been fully restored and up-dated while remaining faithful to its design and character.  The main house has undergone several renovations and extensions over the years with the addition of a major size barn/garage now adjoining the swimming pool area. This building is almost critical for housing all of Debra’s various

Your gallery advertisers are treated to lots of non-traditional perks such as editorial coverage of their shows and individual artist profiles – how has this impacted your relationships with advertisers?  You’re right! The promotional aspects of the business involve a combination of advertising placement; features on galleries and artists; and social media promotion for artists, galleries and events. It’s an extensive package and the editorials are extensive (usually 16 pages) and provide an excellent marketing vehicle for individual artists and their galleries.  This service is not offered by other Canadian or US art magazines.11. Arabella Summer 2011 12. Arabella Fall-Winter 2011With more and more magazines going strictly online, have your subscribers remained loyal to the quarterly hardcopies? Let’s face it, Arabella is more like a collectors’ coffee table book than a regular magazine.  ARABELLA is available both in print and online versions. You’re right about the magazine being more like a collectors’ coffee table book. That was our intent from the get-go.  We have both print and online subscribers but the unanimous feedback we get is that there’s nothing like the print version. Only print can present the visually stunning content and readers consistently remarks about the importance of “touch” and physically turning pages.20. Arabella Winter 2013 26. Arabella Spring 2016You’ve just released a new hard-cover art book, The Love of Flowers, and previously had published It Starts With a Dream, your first hard-cover book highlighting images of Canadian art, architecture and design. What’s next on your book publishing agenda – can you give us a hint or two?
We are currently planning the creation of a book to be released in the spring of 2018, as homage to the coastal areas of Canada and the artists who capture its mystery and its siren call. Four hundred (400) pages of extraordinary art and artist profiles will be showcased through a myriad of forms, styles, and mediums. At the forefront of the book, Canada’s legendary artists – both living and remembered – will be featured. These will include Alex Colville, Mary Pratt, Christopher Pratt, Tom Forrestal, William Forrestal, Fred Ross, David Blackwood, and Maude Lewis. Following these featured Canadian icons will be 40 other Maritime artists, each celebrated with an eight-page profile, with full-bleed images of their best art and words to describe their own personal stories. This book will heighten any art collection, jump off bookshelves in Indigo and Barnes and Nobles stores across the continent, become gracious gifts for family and friends, and will have a special spot on coffee tables everywhere.arabellaMailercopycopyAnd any exciting new artists or galleries being featured in the next Arabella (and when is it due for publication)?  Frank Hyder is truly one of our more unique artists to grace the pages of Arabella Spring 2017. His unique sculptural heads and swimming fish are bound to capture our readers’ attention.

Spring 2017 will have an assortment of artists but this issue more than any other will showcase the work of artists across the country as well as their will be quite a selection of 3 dimensional work as well as paintings and craft.

We are bringing back two stunning architectural homes – one from Paris and the other from California.

A new feature is the gallery listings and shows at the back of the periodical. We are trying to make each issue more in keeping with a book, and the cover will be slightly heavier – more life a soft cover book.

We introduce in this issue the start of Gallery Owners and Collectors Comments which should interest a lot of readers to hear different points of view from around the country.

To read the current issue online, plus subscription and advertising information, visit: www.arabelladesign.com

A little more about ARABELLA magazine:

ARABELLA’s mission is to produce the most exquisite Canadian Art, Architecture & Design magazine edited for those with a passion for transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary and living life well. A truly unique Canadian magazine created for people who aspire, are achieving, or have already accomplished a luxury style of life reflecting what it means to be Canadian.
Each issue presents original, in-depth editorial on the best of Canadian contemporary and historical fine art; galleries to visit; artists to collect; architecture and living spaces; unique stores to visit; business and personal life style profiles, landscaping and interior design; luxury properties for sale; unique travel destinations; and food and wine to savour.

ARABELLA is dedicated to supporting and promoting creative talent and related businesses through specialty print and digital media publishing, special events/destination marketing, and professional development programs. We believe in the power of arts and culture in building stronger communities, national identity and economic development.

ARABELLA, our major quarterly magazine publication, is now in its ninth year and is distributed across Canada (Chapters & Indigo, Coles and Smith Books) and the US (Barnes & Noble, Books a Million) and has a global digital circulation on all major platforms. With each quarterly issue we reach 350,000+ readers.

ARABELLA’s print and digital publications play a critical role in presenting Canadian creative talent to the widest possible audience while providing in-depth, visually compelling insight into the best of art, residential architecture, landscaping, interior design and luxury lifestyle products and services.

ARABELLA’s vision is to go beyond the boundaries of conventional publications and produce the most exquisite Canadian Art, Architecture & Design magazine for consumers who aspire, are achieving, or have already accomplished a luxury life style and have a passion for transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary and living life well. It’s about beauty in all its forms and providing readers with an unforgettable reading experience!

With layout and design features unlike any other North American print or digital magazine, each issue (which is more like a book) provides visually compelling, in-depth information and insight on the best of art, residential architecture, landscaping, interior design and luxury lifestyle products and services from the traditional to the contemporary, from the local to the internationally inspired. 18. Arabella Summer 2013

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GRACE DAM OPENS HER SOLO SHOW @ URBAN GALLERY IN TORONTO

Toronto’s URBAN GALLERY turned up the a/c for the launch of GRACE DAM‘s hot solo exhibition “The Artist Unmasked” which runs until October 1st.  Family and friends turned out on the sultry Saturday afternoon to celebrate her show and sale of paintings that reflects the complexity of life, the challenge of relationships –and the connections between earth and sky.20160910_144606“My approach combines figurative and abstract elements to explore the emotions and meaning inherent in my surroundings. My subject matter, sparked by the mood and politics of the day, is then researched and studied before I attempt to capture it on canvas. My message may appeal or it may provoke –my aim is to tempt the viewer to linger long enough to tease out the meaning.”    Grace Dam

20160910_14143620160910_14172620160910_141452Fellow artist Erik Chong and his wife Jeanette (below) arrived to show support…20160910_143352…as did good friend Linda Kaplan, shown below with Grace.20160910_143150Grace’s husband, Howie, admired her work…20160910_141635…as did her lovely daughter Hillary (below)20160910_141932Below, Wayne Abell of UrbanSource Catering and KJ Mullins, publisher of Newz4U.ca were happy to come out and celebrate Grace’s grand opening….20160910_142304

The Wait 48w x 36h Oil diptych Canadian Icons (Niagara Falls diptych) 48 x 60 oil on canvas Image THE MASK by Grace Dam -oil on canvasFor further information on Grace’s paintings and gallery hours, please visit: www.urbangallery.ca/20160910_144606

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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URBAN GALLERY hosts new show ‘HUMANIMAL” featuring soft sculptures & paintings by ZOE CHANGEUN SON

I’d like to intro you to exciting Korean-Canadian artist ZOE CHANGEUN SON (below), whose show of mythical beasts portrayed in soft sculptures as well as paintings, is now on exhibition at URBAN GALLERY, 400 Queen St East, Toronto, running until Feb 13/16.20160116_142609(0)HUMANIMAL showcases the wee creatures that are 3D portraits of the beasts in her imagination. Scary, weird, humourous and bizarre, the felt and cloth critters are displayed flying across the gallery wall and some mini beasties are on a central table – I just had to say hello (bottom picture).20160116_144929 20160116_144939

20160116_142155 20160116_142404Nancy from Snapd Newspaper dropped in to cover the artist’s reception and was busy snapping away (below)20160116_142030 20160116_142313Zoe’s paintings show the same imaginative spirit, featuring all manner of whimsical humans with “special” powers and appearances. I was intrigued by the snowy bunny-like androgynous being below, titled “Someone’s Portrait #1″….IMG_7210…as well as “Someone’s Portrait #2″, featuring this moose/boy belowIMG_7211Also shown are a series of mandalas and imaginary beasts, painted in acrylics on canvas or wood. Aren’t these extraordinary?20160116_142011 20160116_142451 20160116_14245720160116_145004The fabulous Kaspara Albertsen (below, right) ably assisted with gallery hospitality – a photographic artist herself, she knows how to motivate the staff as well as her fellow artists.20160116_142821The rest of the gallery staff and management were in attendance and joined Zoe for photo opps, below. L-R: Calvin Hambrook (gallery director), Kaspara, Zoe & Allen Sugar (curator)20160116_142946I encourage you all to go see where the wild things are over the next 4 weeks…check out the gallery’s website for hours and directions:  www.urbangallery.ca

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