Category Archives: Current Issue

CANADIAN EQUINE ARTIST MICHELLE HOGAN SHARES STUNNING HORSE PORTRAITS WITH ART FANS AS WELL AS HORSE LOVERS

FLY has been seeing lots of social media activity from a brilliant Ontario-based artist, Michelle Hogan, whose focus is the harness racing community – her horse portraits are incredibly detailed and full of emotion…so FLY reached out for a quick chat with the artist herself….

Michelle, you’ve worked with harness-racing horses as a trainer, owner and breeder – what inspired you to start such a unique career?   Growing up, I was your typical horse-crazy kid, without a horse. During the summer before I entered high school, it was time to find my first job, and I went straight to Flamboro Downs, which was only a short drive from home.  All I knew was that I wanted to work with horses. I had my first job as a groom within days and never looked back!

Your portraits of harness racing horses and drivers are so detailed & intricate – how long have you been observing these horses from an artist’s perspective?  As long as I can remember, I’ve been interested in art.  Art and horses have always been the two constants in my life.  Because of this, I have always observed them with an artist’s eye.  I was photographing and drawing all the horses I cared for from the moment I stepped into my first role as a groom. You work in pen and ink instead of watercolours or acrylics – do you find you get better definition in your work? Most true cinephiles say B&W movies offer greater “texture” to the stories – perhaps the same could be said for your work, yes?  Absolutely! One of the things I love about ink is how much detail I can include in my drawings.  I use fine-tipped pens, some of the smallest on the market.Did you study art at school or college or are you self-taught?  When I was 10 years old, my parents enrolled me in a local adult art group/class.  As the only child in the group, I learned so much from both the teacher and the other members.  I learned to paint with watercolours and fine tune my drawing skills.  I was taught how to see as an artist.  Aside from this, I took art through high school.  Again, my teachers were fantastic and supportive of my interests.  It was there that I learned techniques in pen and ink.

Commissioned works are an important revenue stream for any artist – do you go out to clients’ stables or racetracks for photographing or interviewing the owners, drivers, the horses before starting each portrait? What is your process?  Most often I work from photographs provided by the client, with photographer’s permission.  However, for my work with Hanover Raceway, I attend the events we are partnered on and take my own photographs to work from. This way I can control the lighting and composition of the photographs to reflect what I prefer to work from in a reference image.For those of us who can’t afford originals, do you also offer prints of your work?  Yes, prints are available through my website.  I also offer cards, mugs, and a variety of other printed merchandise.

You work at and with the Hanover Raceway – is this where you started your career as a trainer/breeder? And they obviously enjoy having you and your work on site. Are there other tracks that you love to visit?  My involvement in harness racing began at Flamboro Downs in Dundas, Ontario.  The horses in my care would often race at other Ontario tracks, including Hanover Raceway, and Hanover quickly became a favourite. I also love to visit Clinton Raceway (Clinton, Ontario) and Grand River Raceway (Elora, Ontario).  The fan experience at these tracks is top notch, and you can get close to the action. What’s coming up for you over the remainder of the year? Any art shows or exhibitions where we can find you?  My work is currently included in the Owen Sound Art Banner exhibit, and my banner can be found hanging outside the Owen Sound Tourist Information building along the harbour.  And on September 10th there will be a showing of my work at Hanover Raceway during the races.Michelle continues…Having been directly involved in the harness racing industry for most of my life, the horses and the people are like family to me.  It is important to me to give back in any way that I can.  I strive to draw new interest and fans to the sport of harness racing through my art.  I support aftercare for our horses through the Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society and industry charities such as Harness The Hope.
2022 is my third season as the Official Artist of Hanover Raceway.  Winners of the Dream of Glory Trot and the Balanced Image Trot receive custom portraits of their horse.  I also partner with Hanover on other projects throughout the season, such as Bob McClure Day, Trevor Henry Day, and the Ontario Women’s Driving Championship.  Merchandise such as cards and mugs can be purchased at the Hanover Raceway program booth and Race Office. My studio serves many purposes.  It is where I work, but it is also a source of inspiration and education.  Visitors to my studio can see, feel, and experience a little piece of harness racing.  I keep a collection of authentic racing equipment, memorabilia, and artwork on display.Thank you, Michelle, FLY is now a fan of harness racing as well as your beautiful artwork.  And if you would like to learn more about this unique artist, please visit Michelle’s website and follow her on social media:  https://harnessartist.com/
Facebook.com/HarnessArtist and Instagram & Twitter@harnessartist 

TORONTO OUTDOOR ART FAIR IS BACK!

What a pleasure it was to meet up with all the talented artists showcasing their work at this year’s Toronto Outdoor Art Fair at Nathan Phillips Square in downtown Toronto. It was the first time artists got to meet with art lovers and buyers in-person since Covid struck down all the galleries, art expos and fairs so FLY was delighted by all the exciting multi-disciplinary artists and creators massed together again. It’s so hot down there so if you’re visiting this weekend, FLY recommends lots of sunscreen, water and a great big hat, none of which FLY took with her so it was a flying visit, pun intended!  Here is a selection of artists you MUST visit….First up, Rob Croxford (below) who is always smiling and happy to see FLY…no swatting here! His pop-culture artworks are fabulous and a great pick-me-up after the last 2yrs of closed galleries and non-live shows. www.robcroxford.comAfter Rob, FLY found Maureen O’Connor who was just awarded the Best of Photography & Digital Media prize! Congrats, Maureen. You can learn more about her at www.maureenfaithoconnor.com FLY was already starting to wilt but she found cool comfort in Kari Serrao‘s tent.  Check out Kari’s stunning large-format paintings at www.kariserrao.com...and next door was Zoey Zoric (below) whose innovative “smartphone portraits” were all quite provocative.  www.zoeyzoric.comFLY was immediately drawn to the unique artistry of Owen who fabricates his metal artwork out of reclaimed old farmyard and barn  treasures. www.burnisland.ca
Next, FLY dropped in on Christopher Masoure (below) who has been busy attending lots of shows this spring and summer www.studiomazur.com …and a quick buzz around the corner and there’s Morgan Jones with his engaging mixed media artwork www.morganjonesart.comFLY was excited to see Jibola Fagbamiye at the fair – his love of African history and N. American pop culture is evident in his stunning large portraits. www.jibolastudios.comDenise Buisman Pilger (below) from Quebec came to play with these fabulous works in B&W with spot colours. www.ArtistAbroad.com That happy smiling face can only mean one thing…it’s Cherie Harte! FLY first met Cherie at this year’s Artist Project with her happy heart paintings. www.cherieharte.comAnd now…ta-daaa. You show FLY some great bling and she’ll stop flapping her wings instantly! FLY is a HUGE fan of jeweller Pamela Lauz and flew home today with a shiny new treasure from Pamela’s boot. www.pamelalauz.com The final tent FLY visited was that of Bhavya Dixit – her husband was manning the booth while she took a quick break and he proudly showed off her stunning work. FLY’s friend and artist Susan Howling pointed out the cute elephant she wanted….Santa now has this on Susan’s Christmas list! www.bhavyadixit.com This is just a tiny taste of the great work done by Canadian artists and craftspeople over the past 2yrs of Covid isolation that is now on display at the Toronto Outdoor Art Fair. Please go support them and visit this weekend. Info and directions can be found at https://torontooutdoor.art/

RIVERDALE ART WALK WELCOMES ARTISTS & ART LOVERS BACK AFTER 2yr COVID LOCKDOWN.

FLY enjoyed buzzing along the rows of artist tents at this weekend’s RIVERDALE ART WALK in Toronto. This is the first Art Walk since the Covid lock-down so it was wonderful to see so many art lovers strolling around, chatting with the artists and enjoying the lovely weather today. Nancy Bennett, whom FLY has known since the later 70s, appeared thrilled to be there and was already busy selling artworks….

Learn more about Nancy and her paintings (above) at www.nancybennett.ca

Upon entering Jimmy Simpson Park, FLY found Mirek Bialy whose bold acrylics incorporate copper and FLY has a lovely piece purchased a few years ago. Learn more about Mirek here:  https://www.mirekbialy.com/ Christopher Masoure was busy securing his tent (below) as high winds threatened to blow his large canvases away. FLY caught some quick photos of his stunning blue paintings before being hit by flying monkeys! Yes, the wind was that high today. Learn more about Chrisopjer at www.studiomazur.com  Next up, we found Celina Melo, an artist FLY had not met before. Her beautiful frosty paintings of the far north created a cool space to retreat from the sunshine, and FLY was very attracted to that smaller piece in the upper left. Check out her work at www.celinamelo.com  Wendy Cho of OnceUponaDesign.ca (below) offered some delightful illustrations and animal portraits – all the adults FLY saw going into her booth walked out with mini canvases or cards. Wendy was very popular! Then FLY found a friend from last week’s Rosedale art show – Andrew Stelmack. Again, a big blue painting caught FLY’s attention…wow! www.astelmack.com Shaan Taseer was taking a quick break when FLY flew into his tent – his work simply drew FLY in as well as others who were intrigued by his unique & exotic abstract landscapes. Learn more about Shaan at https://www.shaantaseer.com/ Kate Taylor (below) was busy chatting with potential art buyers. FLY is proud to own a small piece of KT art! www.katetaylorstudio.comMark Glebezon brought his Barbie series which should definitely prove popular considering movie star Ryan Gosling just released a sneak peek photo of him as Ken in the upcoming movie. What a doll! www.markgleberzon.comFLY fell madly in love with the adorable robots created by Jeff Walker, so much so that she had to buy a small painting of a wee robot eye (2nd photo – 2nd row down, 3rd from the right). Check our Jeff’s colourful cuties here: www.gowalkergo.com Morgan Jones (below) had a cute assistant in his tent who was certainly helping to draw in the visitors! www.morganjonesart.com

Further along the aisles, FLY came across Cat from www.CityBonez.com (below) whose photos of old decorative bricks stood out at The Artist Project a couple of months ago. Unique and quite beautiful, the bricks tell stories of our city’s past.Rea Kelly always has a lovely smile on her face – her beautiful floral paintings will ensure you, too, will have a smile on your face when you enter her tent! If you don’t have massive wall space, Rea has smaller canvases as well as beautiful greeting cards – something for everyone. Learn more about Rea at www.reakelly.com FLY discovered a fabulous new artist – Amanda Gonsalves (below) – whose abstract portraits of mythical and amusing figures are delightful. You can follow Amanda on her Instagram @nonconformist.art  Ex-baker turned fine artist Andrea Bailey presented her Yummy Arty paintings (below). FLY met her last week at the Rosedale art show and loved the gold paint that glinted in the sunlight.  www.yummyarty.com Gail Williams showcased some cool paintings like these wild abstract portraits. FLY met Gail last week at the Rosedale art show.  Visit: https://gailwilliams.partial.gallery/ to learn all about this fanciful abstract artist.So it was a very enjoyable afternoon and FLY encourages you to visit all the artists who have taken the 2yr Covid period to create wonderful artworks. Tomorrow promises to be another lovely day so pop down to Queen St East and support local artists, Check out details, directions and hours here: https://riverdaleartwalk.ca/

 

ROSEDALE ART FAIR THIS WEEKEND @ RAMSDEN PARK, TORONTO

Thank goodness the weather cooperated today with more sunshine than raindrops, and FLY was able to buzz around the artists’ tents of this year’s ROSEDALE ART FAIR – the first time for nearly 3 years, thanks to Covid. Usually held further up Toronto’s Yonge Street at Summerhill, the park setting was lovely with lots of green grass and leaves.
FLY’s first port of call was the charming display by Michelle Hutchinson – her abstract florals were so colourful you’d expect to see bees hoping from flower to flower!  www.MichelleHutchinsonArt.com…and next door to Michelle was Gail Williams whose paintings were fun and filled with wonder. www.gailwilliamsartist.com  FLY particularly like one titled “Prince” so here’s a closer look… Sculptor Chaka Chikodzi always has a busy tent…FLY had to do some pretty fancy flying between his potential buyers just to get a couple of great close-ups!  www.chakachikodzi.com  Mark J. Gleberzon has been a friend of FLY’s for many years, and his work is definitely a favourite of the winged-one! Mark recently had great success exhibiting in Chicago, selling multiple paintings and even before today’s Fair opened, he had already sold 2 of his Barbie & Ken pop portraits. Bravo, MJG!  www.markgleberzon.com Jibola Fagbamiye was too busy selling his fabulous portraits to stop and chat with FLY – bravo Jibola- but FLY grabbed a few shots of his booth in action!  www.jibolastudios.comThe weather started to cloud over so to avoid getting wings wet, FLY flew over to another aisle sheltered under the trees and immediately stopped when spying FLY’s favourite colour…cobalt blue…at Andrew Stelmack‘s booth. www.astelmack.com  Next door was another FLY favourite, Michael Toole, who greeted FLY with another gorgeous blue graphic artwork! www.michaeltooleart.comMeet the delightful Ghazaleh Naderian who showed FLY around her booth, filled with beautiful floral mini-paintings. Perfect for that little space you need to brighten up.  www.ghazal-arts.com
FLY’s bestie, Erena, ran into one of her favourite artists, Olaf Schneider – she has a number of his paintings herself. Those parrots were magnificent but scared FLY somewhat as they like eating little insects….oh dear!  www.olaf.ca  
You still have another opportunity to visit the Rosedale Art Fair tomorrow, Sunday June 12 so please go visit and say hi to all the artist – they’re so pleased to get back to “normal” and show their work to art lovers and (hopefully) buyers. 

Artist DONNA WISE introduces spring/summer ’22 series with new colour palette

After wintering in sunny warm Florida (and avoiding the final few months of Covid lockdown) Toronto-based contemporary abstract painter DONNA WISE has been busy creating a beautiful series of spring/summer “flavoured” large canvases – some reminded FLY of ice cream cones and sundaes. Here is From the Sea (48×48), including a close-up from the canvas.
And this blue & white 40×40 painting is titled Shadow Play The 48×48 header canvas is titled On the Bright Side…here are a couple of close-ups:

FLY’s favourite is Dragonfly Dancing (48×48)
The close-ups allow you to see Donna’s textural canvases…she seals each painting so you can run your hands over the artwork to feel as well as see her work.
She has also done a series of smaller paintings (24×24) with bold colours and compositions…

Donna is planning a big exhibition at the end of the summer and FLY expects to see lots more new masterworks between now and then so watch this space for news of date and venue. In the meantime, you can reach Donna via her social media – IG: @donnawisefineart or on Fcbk: donna.wise.921677   And you can learn all about this exciting & prolific octogenarian artist at www.artbydonnawise.com 

FLY VISITS COLLECTIVE 131 GALLERY TO SAY HI TO ARTIST MARK J. GLEBERZON

If you’re strolling through the mall under Holt Renfrew on Bloor Street W, Toronto, do drop in to say hello to the artists whose work is on show at the Collective 131 gallery opposite the lower level Holts entrance. One of them will be there to guide you through the collection and perhaps introduce you to new works that would look perfect in your home or office. Mark  Gleberzon (pictured above) was at the helm the day FLY dropped in and he was hard at work completing more small works for his upcoming US shows. Mark loves creating unique artworks from beautiful Barbie and Marilyn photos, as well as other pop art subjects. Other artists include Morgan Jones, Vanessa Drew, Amey Lai, Todd Monk, Kari Serrao, Adrienne Jackson and J&J Photo Art. There’s a stunning, impactful portrait of Biggy Smalls for the hippest of art collectors….as well as fun works for the comic book hero in all of us!There are works for all contemporary art lovers….…and FLY was intrigued with the soft, fluffy toques and greeting cards for those lacking in wall space!FLY gives Collective 131 Gallery 4 wings up! You can find the artists at 50 Bloor St West, lower level.

TORONTO’S GALLERIES ARE RE-OPENING AND HOSTING SOCIALLY-DISTANCED SHOWS

Finally….galleries are open for business here in Toronto. From large public galleries to small indie showrooms and outdoor art exhibitions, painters, sculptors and photographers now have venues in which to exhibit their art and FLY will be visiting them throughout the coming months to bring you stories from the walls.Throughout the pandemic, artists of all genres have struggled to navigate the many online platforms that put their work in front of art-lovers, dealing with the challenges of spatial perception, true colours & textures and that all important one-on-one experience with potential buyers and collectors. Facebook, Instagram, event Tik-Tok have hosted “virtual galleries” but without targeted marketing and promotions just to get people to click on to artists’ sites, it’s been a battle esp. for those who are technically challenged.

FLY hopes to continue to support upcoming gallery re-openings, indie artist shows and special events in Toronto and surrounding cities.

TORONTO’s ARTISTS’ NETWORK CELEBRATES NEW HOME WITH AN EXCITING EXHIBITION

Last night (Wed. Nov. 6) FLY was thrilled to be invited to the official opening of The Artists’ Network new digs in downtown Toronto. Located in the vibrant cultural community of Leslieville at 1158 Queen St East, the gallery hosts a juried exhibition of Artists’ Network members that includes original works inspired by a broad interpretation of the theme MOMENTUM, from the act of moving forward to the poetics of spiritual growth. FLY was invited to the celebratory soiree by the fabulous Connie Gorsline who posed in front of her wonderfully energetic seascape (below)The gallery filled quickly with members and fans of fine art ….….who discovered lots of stunning artworks on the walls…….and FLY was pleased to see a favourite photographic art piece by Lori Ryerson (below)And here’s Connie with fellow artist Nancy Bennett (below) enjoying a glass of cheer and the great company!Congratulations to Kate Taylor and the entire Board of The Artists’ Network in securing such an amazing new HQ, and FLY recommends a personal visit to see the talent contained within its walls. The current show runs until November 24 (see details below) and to learn more about the organization and upcoming events, visit their website: www.theartistsnetwork.ca 

4 MORE DAYS TO CATCH JOHNY DELUNA’S SOLO SHOW “STILL LIFE WITH FRUIT” @ ART SQUARE GALLERY IN TORONTO

FLY braved the lower humidity yesterday and headed down to Art Square Gallery, 334 Dundas West (opp. the AGO) to visit super talented artist JOHNY DELUNA whose solo show “Still Life with Fruit” closes this Sunday, August 4th. The A/C is fabulous so no excuses…hurry hurry hurry to this unique showcase of extraordinary works.The main inspiration for my work is observing the human condition. I try to say things about happiness, sadness, confusion, hypocrisy, ignorance, cruelty, indifference and self delusion. I never put myself above these frailties but I laugh at my own weaknesses more than I laugh at others. I try to embed my stories deep enough in the paintings so that each viewer can experience them in their own way. I try to entice the viewer into the work through color, energy, humor and curious or bizarre imagery.  Behind all that is the story – the viewer is free to go as deep as they want. I hope everyone see’s the works differently.
I believe that humor is the best way to connect with others, because if we can laugh at ourselves there is still hope. As an artist, the only thing I can do is be honest, brave and stay true to my vision. ~ Johny Deluna

FLY  strongly recommends you see these stunning large-format paintings to appreciate the intricacies of each – pointillism meets surrealism meets contemporary meets…OMG!Each of Deluna’s paintings portrays deeper, darker stories beneath the exterior of bright, joyful images. The textural quality of the “pointillism” inspired works creates a 3D effect for each canvas. Every masterwork has been thoroughly thought out, exploring abstract themes in his signature riotous palette of primary colours. See close-up details from 3 of his paintings – belowWhile FLY was in the gallery, several visitors came by and took several minutes in front of each painting – so much to discover on each canvas…So don’t forget…Still Life with Fruit closes end of day Sunday Aug. 4th so plan on including a visit over the next few days – you will be amazed, inspired and mind-blown by Johny Deluna’s paintings.For more info on the artist, visit his website www.johnydeluna.com   or follow him on Facebook.  Johny’s work  is in several distinguished collections in Europe and the US, and he also works on corporate & private commissions.

TORONTO POP-ART STAR, ROB CROXFORD, UNVEILS NEW WORK STUDIO & GALLERY

FLY has long been an admirer of the fabulous and funny ROB CROXFORD whose humorous pop-art paintings are immediate smile-inducers! In late May last year, a studio fire all but destroyed his Toronto studio and his complete inventory of artworks. This new studio at 100 Sunrise Avenue in the east end, offers Rob a fresh start and, as with all new beginnings, Rob is focusing on new experiments and new artworks.  This year marks Rob’s 15th year as a professional artist and the completion of some 1,500 works of art – CONGRATULATIONS, ROB! He’s shown in over 125 juried & solo exhibitions here and in the United States. His work is in the permanent City of Toronto’s Art Collection, and in the private collections of several Mayors, and celebrities such as Alex Lifeson, Stuart McLean & Ann Marie MacDonald. You will find his art and his commissions in many private collections all over the world from Istanbul to California. Here’s Rob to tell you himself about the new space and his new collection….

Media-darling Rob has been profiled in Argyle Magazine, Neighborhood Living Magazine, The Society for Commercial Archaeology, Spacing Magazine and many others. Rob’s acrylic paintings are intentionally upbeat and humorous. His vintage-inspired work is instantly identifiable and has a clever approach to pop culture that often merges political topics within whimsical compositions. 

FLY recommends a personal visit to Rob’s studio so reach out via social media or check his website for upcoming shows: www.robcroxford.com Apart from his large-format original paintings, Rob also offers quality prints and giclees of his most popular pieces.