Welcome to the inaugural edition of FLY ON THE GALLERY WALL, a monthly e-magazine for fine arts in Toronto and around the world. To start our publication off with a bang, we’re featuring a photo safari from this year’s Artist Project (Feb 22-25) in Toronto, highlighting some of the talented multi-discipline artists FLY has followed over the past 5 years. We’re also featuring stories and interviews with artists who have previously exhibited in solo and group shows, and in each future monthly e-magazine, FLY will also shine a spotlight on galleries, curators and other arts professionals who have supported the fine arts community. With our multi-platform social media network, we hope to offer artists promotional exposure not found in traditional media, plus affordable advertising opportunities to galleries, art suppliers and individual artists in order to reach their targeted audience. Thank you for joining us, enjoy the read!
MARCH 2018 ISSUE
Meet artist & sculptor Osvaldo Napoli, an overnight success 50 years in the making!!
Born in Montevideo, Uruguay, Osvaldo “Ozzie” Napoli has been an artist all his life but only recently has he decided to share his creativity with the world. As he prepares for his first solo exhibition later this year at Urban Gallery in Toronto, Ozzie’s been reviewing his past work and assessing his latest for inclusion.
From spectacular bronze sculptures and freestanding wire pieces that will stop you in your tracks, to imaginative 3D wall art comprised of cellphone and computer components, his work provokes conversation, inspiration and adoration! One of my favourite pieces is titled “Bliss” (see below) and is a piece that Ozzie holds dear to his heart….and we can see why.I recently joined Ozzie for a photo shoot at his Richmond Hill studio of his latest works to add to his website (see end of story for link) and I asked him a few questions about his life, his inspiration and his art.
What first inspired you to paint and sculpt? As a child I was fascinated by the wonders and colors of carnival season in Uruguay. I used to carve and paint masks from palm tree branches and my friend and I wore them mimicking the dancers and performers at the parades in my neighborhood. [that early influence is clearly reflected in his current work – below]
Who was your sculpting mentor/teacher and how did he impact what you create now? My mentor and friend was Canadian artist, writer and philosopher Sorel Etrog, best known as a sculptor. He taught me to see subtleties between strengths and weaknesses of composition and content. He also encouraged me to always approach art from my heart with clarity and vision. You work predominantly in wire, creating stunning human-like characters and fantastical creatures – how do you come up with such ideas? My ideas come mainly from real life stories and situations that we all find ourselves in as part of our everyday life….but with an added touch of fantasy and whimsy. I interpret the mystical and esoteric aspects of people and incorporate those into most of my work. You also incorporate components from cellphones and computers in freestanding and 3D wall art – where do you find these bits’n’bobs? Surely you don’t smash your own phones?! I rely on the generosity of family, friends and neighbors to supply me with their recyclable e-trash; they are more than happy to donate to my stockpile and at the same time, get rid of their unwanted electronics.You have numerous pieces done in bronze – how difficult is it to cast and where do you undertake that task? I form the original work in sculptor’s plasticine or wax and then take it to the foundry to be put through a rigorous process where a rubber and plaster mold is made to create a wax-like figure which is then coated with a compound called ceramic. That is then melted afterwards to produce a new mold that can handle the molten bronze…et voila! The sculpture is done and ready to be colored by a process called patina. The whole procedure could take up to three months before its completion. Whew!You are now starting to exhibit your work as a mature artist – has waiting this long to share your work with the public been beneficial to you as an artist? Yes, because I now have the confidence to create with conviction and sound craftsmanship. I felt that I needed that time to create a vast collection of work which I am now ready to share with the world. In the fall, you have your first solo show at Urban Gallery in Toronto – what are your expectations? I’m excited to show my collections to the public and meet art lovers who come out to support the launch of my month-long show. I’m also hoping to receive a good response to my work and gain attention from art critics and collectors. I would love for my works to go out into the world to inspire, provoke, entertain and enhance people’s understanding of the creative process. Yes, I’m excited, too, to see Ozzie’s work in a gallery and see/hear how people relate and react to each piece. I myself was particularly drawn to this caged heart (below) …a perfect metaphor for my Valentine’s this year…LOL!!You can find more photos of Ozzie’s work and learn about his artistic approach to each subject at: www.artbyozz.com and keep the month of October free to visit his solo show at Urban Gallery, 400 Queen St East, Toronto.
WALK THE AISLES, MEET THE ARTISTS AT THIS YEAR’S ARTIST PROJECT, TORONTO
It was another successful Artist Project here in Toronto for several of my artist friends who sold numerous works to enthusiastic collectors this past weekend. Hosted in the Better Living Centre at Exhibition Place, I walked the aisles set up in the cavernous hall, meeting new artists as well as dropping in on old friends and colleagues. Join me for this virtual visit:
Let’s start off with this exuberant and talented artist, David Shepherd, whose incredible cloud studies and hyper-realism still life paintings blew me away. www.davidshepherdart.com
Then I discovered Lana Filippone, whose work mixes Edwardian-style parlour shadow frames with contemporary ceramic art. Loved it!! www.lanafilippone.com
Catherine McMillan welcomed me to her colourful booth where her stencil art was well-displayed, representing streetscapes (like Kensington Market, below) and various “smalls” with humourous subjects… I loved her psychedelic bunnies! www.catherinemcmillan.ca Quebec artist François René shared his thoughts on participating in this year’s show with his unique art, full of colour and lights. www.francoisrene.com
Then on to Richard Sturgeon‘s double booth showcasing Richard’s spectacular metal sculptures. Sadly, no active website for Richard.Joanna Bell whose photographic art was both intriguing and calming. www.joannabell.com Time to sit-down and rest my “barking dogs” – I tell you, the show promoters really should install carpeting over the hard concrete floor to ease visitor fatigue as it’s a big show! Saw this great portrait of a goat (below) while I took a little rest…isn’t it great?Back to work…now here’s Chris Harms, a self-taught artist who sculpts using vibrant plexiglass. www.chris-harms.co Round the corner, more fun and colourful paintings…. Then look who I found…my dear friend Nancy Bennett who proudly showed off her painting (aptly titled “Paradise”) inspired by my sister Jennifer’s photograph of a Western Australian sunset. Can’t tell you how proud I am for both sister and friend!! Check out more of Nancy’s work at www.nancybennett.ca And now here’s Kirk Sutherland one of the popular artists who frequently exhibits at Urban Gallery. I love his colour bars…so yummy you can almost eat ’em! www.kirksutherland.com What a delightful booth (below) – I loved Amey Lai‘s sparkly paintings…see more here: www.ameylai.com Here’s Liz Rae Dalton from Howe Island, Ontario. Many of her encaustic sculptures are created from found materials washed up on the lakeshore. Awesome! www.lizraedalton.com Now meet “the marble dude”! Bryan Wilcox shows off the beauty contained within these tiny everyday glass orbs with his close-up photographs, perfectly framed and presented…loved ’em! www.wilcoxcameraart.com Speaking of “art dudes”, two of my favourites, Mark Gleberzon and Morgan Sheardown were side-by-side. Here’s Morgan’s signature “Raining Cows” display (below) … www.morgansheardown.com …and here’s Mark’s fun fab art (he’s working on a special wee painting for me with lots of sparkly blue – can’t wait!) www.facebook.com/MJG-Gallery-by-Mark-Jeremy-Gleberzon Always love running into Kari Serrao – her work makes me smile! www.kariserrao.com/encausticgallery Spent some time chatting with the delightful Lori Ryerson (www.focalocity.ca) below, who told me about her recent works.Delighted to meet Gene K. Tempelmeyer (pictured below with his lovely wife/booth babe!) who won 2nd Place prize for his urban streetscape, “Life’s Short, Call Now”. Congrats, Gene, I really like your work, in fact, there’s one painting I may have to secure for myself (Lady in Red) …LOL www.GKTart.com Joel Sullivan is Canada’s very own “iron man”. Just look at these awesome metal sculptures. I loved the little robot men lamps….the science nerd in me really came out in Joel’s booth! www.joel-sullivan.com Nice to see Mark Berens (below) – I saw his work at a big group show in The Distillery District last year. See more of his paintings at www.markberensart.com (he’s in the Untamed Things en plein air group show at Blue Mt. Village in April)So I eventually caved in and purchased a small painting from Mirek Bialy (www.mirekbialy.com) pictured below. I fell in love with his bold paintings that incorporated strands of copper. Yes, that’s it now hanging on my wall underneath Colin Nun’s “Coop” graphic painting. So there you have it…another Artist Project done and dusted! Thank you to all the talented creative folks who welcomed me to their booths, and big thanks to Ozzie and France for taking me again on Sunday – it was cool to view the art thru your eyes, Ozzie. Mark your calendars for next year’s event at the end of February here in Toronto. Visit their website for details and dates: www.theartistproject.com
SEE YOU NEXT MONTH!