Tag Archives: Toronto Outdoor Art Fair

TORONTO ARTIST LORI MIRABELLI CREATES SUPERB ONLINE GALLERY DURING COVID-19 GALLERY CLOSURES

FLY has been a long-time fan of abstract artist Lori Mirabelli, admiring her colourful & energetic work at the various outdoor art fests, gallery showings, etc.  across southern Ontario.  So many artists have suffered during the Covid-19 lock-down of galleries, cancellations of all the popular art expos and festivals, but Lori has kept her head down creating more paintings and posting them on her website “gallery” for potential buyers & collectors.FLY had the opportunity to chat recently with Lori via email & social media, asking her about her work, her inspirations and how she’s handling the lack of personal contact with art lovers and gallery owners….and this is what she shared:

When did you first realize that painting could be a career choice?
I realized I could be a professional artist back in 2008; I had just finished my University degree with a major in Psychology.  The Fine Arts program allowed me to take a few classes even though was not majoring or minoring in the arts program. The two courses Painting 1, 2 and colour theory changed everything for me.  It was also the first time I had ever tried acrylic paints. I fell in love immediately. Our focus in the Painting 2 course was Grisaille Renaissance technique. I don’t know what it was about acrylics except that there was an instant connection, I felt as if I had been doing it my whole life. The professor who taught the course took a keen interest in me and made me promise him that once I graduated from University, I would continue to pursue a career in the arts. I kept that promise and continue to explore the acrylic medium.
Immediately upon graduation, I began painting abstract art.  I felt it was important to continue painting to improve my process and develop a style unique to me, but what I realized was art supplies are quite expensive. To solve that problem, I tried to find a place where I could list some of my paintings for sale with a modest price. My only objective at this time was to be able to sell a few paintings so I could purchase more art supplies and keep painting. Through my research I found a website called etsy.com, which I’m sure most of you know by now, but back in 2008 Etsy was just in its infancy and the market wasn’t yet saturated.  I remember the day I made the decision to list my first painting for sale online; I felt so exposed and that the world was going judge me harshly. It was a challenging process to press the button on my mouse to list that piece for sale.  To my surprise, 2 weeks later that painting sold to someone in Western Canada and it was at that moment when I thought OK this could be possible; a career in art was within my reach.  From that day on, I focused on how to continue moving forward and pursuing a career in art.  I’m so very grateful for that painting course, my Professor and the woman who purchased my first painting on Etsy; they gave me confidence and the push I needed to believe a career as a painter was a possibility for me.What prompted the change from realism to abstract painting?
All my life I had been a sketcher; my favourite was drawing trees and faces.  I was quite good at ink and pencil drawings.  When I enrolled into the painting course in University, we had an opportunity to explore the 3 main mediums, water, acrylic and oil paints.  I fell in love with Acrylics.  The versatility of this medium has kept my focus; I felt like the possibilities were endless.  Painting Grisaille style in the second half this course showed me the layering process. I think because I was already a sketcher this came easily to me and I wasn’t feeling challenged enough.  Abstract art, I quickly discovered was a whole other ball game.  It feels like a never-ending puzzle that I’m always trying to solve. I was an instant fit.

Who are your own favourite abstract artists and why?
There are so many artists that I admire. Some of them would be Rothko, Motherwell, Clifford Still, C Y Twombly and Mark Bradford.
Rothko for his use of colour, size, and his void of influencing the viewer on his work.
CY Twombly for his use of size and mark making techniques. I could get lost in his scribble technique.
Robert Motherwell for his dedication to the series Elegies to the Spanish Republic which was initially inspired by the Spanish Civil War (1936–39). The size, scale, and his need to capture it exactly as his intended.
Clifford Still for laying the groundwork for the Abstract Expressionist movement, and he is also made a shift from representational to abstract painting.
Mark Bradford for his complete down to earth style and telling it like it is.  I loved that he paints on paper that he acquires from old billboard signs in his home neighbour and, of course, his large-scale grid-like abstract paintings.Earlier this year, you were involved in a very unique theatrical event, Sunday in the Park with George produced by Evan Tsitsias, Artistic Director of Toronto’s Eclipse Theatre Company. Please tell us briefly about this ground-breaking collaboration.
It certainly was a ground-breaking collaboration for me, and I was so nervous.  I met Evan at Riverdale Artwalk in 2019, I was there exhibiting my paintings. He explained that he was doing a re-staging of the play “Sunday in the Park with George”. Instead of having the character (based on the artist Georges Seurat) actually paint, Tsitsias, wanted to incorporate a live painter. He wanted abstract art to capture Seurat’s emotions, and told me he knew I was perfect for the part when he saw my paintings, especially the one titled Oh Those Baby Blues, a 40-inch by 68-inch acrylic painting on canvas. Music is very important to me when I create my work and he was able to recognize that there was a musical quality to my work.
I created a whole body of work for this theatrical endeavour. I wanted to be able to merge Seurat’s style with my own geometrical style and create something that would be uniquely pleasing to the eye. I practiced this style over and over while listening to the soundtrack of Sunday in the Park with George; it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience and I loved listening to all the actors sing. They were an incredibly talented group of actors and I was so honored to be a part of the whole experience including rehearsals.

During the Covid-19 isolation, how have you changed or adapted your daily creative process?
I thankfully haven’t really had to adjust much. As an artist, I tend to be a homebody and somewhat of an introvert so staying home and being creative is pretty much how I lived my life pre-Covid-19.  About the only change I’ve made is adjusting my routine to ensure that I’m incorporating more online marketing as all this year’s summer shows have been cancelled. I want to ensure that my work is still being seen, so I am focusing more on my website, social media platforms and exploring other marketing opportunities.  I thankfully don’t have trouble creating pieces of work when times get stressful; I find it just enhances my ability to create.  Making art is my safe zone, my protection – a place where I can go that’s safe from everything and just let myself be in the moment. I’m thankful that I have that ability, I know other artists are struggling to compartmentalize what’s happening and how to move forward in a time of a pandemic. I focus on the future, I still have plans, set goals, it’s how I keep my sanity. With so many annual art shows being cancelled and galleries closing until further notice, the public has no access to a personal experience with your work – how does this impact your art sales and/or commissions?
I think it’s hard to comment right now how it’s going to impact sales and commissions.  So far, the online sales have been good, and I’ve been able to land 2 commissions. Whether that will continue or not, I don’t know that, we’re going to have to just see how this plays out and in the interim, I’ll keep focusing on online marketing. I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to pull through and do OK this year.

Any advice to other artists about being productive and keeping a positive, mindful attitude?
My advice would be just keep trying to create, eventually muscle memory will take over and you’ll be able to make some beautiful artwork. I think it’s important to continue to set goals for yourself, have things that you want to strive for. Remember to put one foot in front by taking the steps to attain the goals you set for yourself. Not only will you feel productive, but you will be taking charge and control of your situation.
Important to note that with so many people being out of work right now and socially isolating they have turned to social media.  A lot more eyes are seeing Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest posts, so make sure that you’re working your social media apps everyday. You may not get the sales now, but the more eyes on your work, the more sales down the road. I also love the phrase; this too shall pass.I have lots of ways of how you can follow my news and my work.  You can subscribe on my website www.lorimirabelli.com where you can see my current art for sale, upcoming shows, as well as, I am working on a blog where I share how to further your art career and other things of interest. You can also follow my work on social media:
Http://www.instagram.com/lorimirabelli
Http://www.twitter.com/lorimirabelli
Http://www.facebook.com/lorimirabelliart
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and candor with FLY’s readers, Lori. Readers are encouraged to visit Lori’s website and browse her online gallery of works currently available for sale. As soon as life gets back to normal (?) Lori will invite art lovers to her studio in downtown Toronto, and watch her social media for news about future live shows where her work will be featured.

Thank you for supporting Canadian artists! 

A QUICK FLY-BY OF THIS YEAR’S TORONTO OUTDOOR ART FAIR

What started off as a rather overcast morning turned into a hot and humid exercise in aisle surfing at this year’s Toronto Outdoor Art Fair in downtown Toronto. FLY managed to make it through most of the exhibits, stopping in to say hi to old friends and discovering exciting new artist. FLY also found a few exquisite & affordable “smalls” to decorate what little wall space there is left in her apartment!  So join FLY now for a quick visit to meet the artists and check out their art……

First stop, Nancy Bennett who was there bright and early for set up today.. Nancy was busy showcasing her work when FLY dropped in..good luck with sales this weekend, Nancy.  www.nancybennett.ca

Next, handsome and talented Ian Busher welcomed FLY to his booth. Loving the new style he has been exploring – FLY is a proud owner of one of Ian’s early wildlife artworks.  http://www.studiobusher.comThen further along the aisles, FLY found fab photographic artist Lori Ryerson who was keeping cool in the shade, surrounded by soothing blues…. http://www.focalocity.ca

FLY was happy to see Lori Klassen’s happy smiling face beaming out from among all those bold beautiful florals. http://www.loriklassen.com   

One of FLY’s longtime faves is Stewart Jones (pictured below) who made the move to Pr. Edward Country several years ago. Stewart’s urban landscapes were exciting and edgy but now he’s developing even more beautiful studies from the countryside surrounding his new digs out in Wellington.  http://www.stewartjones.ca

Next up, FLY would like to introduce you to Sara Purves (below) whose colourful graphic artwork not only brightened up the gloomy morning, but a number of her smaller pieces came home with FLY!  http://www.sarapurves.com    Grace Dam, who has exhibited at Toronto’s Urban Gallery, was also there with her large format portraits. Her big bold paintings intrigue and engage the viewer.  http://www.gracedam.com    And here’s cutie-patootie Zoey Zoric who makes visitors so welcome in her booth.  Zoey’s work has multiple layers of interpretation and she enjoys hearing viewers’ comments on the meanings of each image. http://www.zzfineart.com    Mixed media artist Linda DeLuca (below) is surrounded by her colourful joy-filled work and, like FLY, she’s big on cowboys! Check out more of Linda’s work at http://www.lindadeluca77.com       Mary Derrick was pleased to share her super cool seascapes and FLY was particularly attracted to that powerful B&W cloudscape (centre, lower pic). http://www.maryderrickart.com      Here’s Brian Harvey, another of FLY’s fave artists whose downtown Toronto streetscapes are immediately recognizable. You gotta check out his booth or visit his website for more views: http://www.brianharvey.ca  Another exciting new discovery was Anu Kalra whose paintings are inspired by her Indian heritage and the centuries old Mogul, Rajput and Madhubani Deccan styles. The tiny 4″x4″ painting of a reluctant shy bride (bottom pic) was a “must have” and she now resides on a bedroom wall in FLY’s home! http://kalra.wix.com/anu-kalra      So there you go…it was so hot and sticky, poor FLY had to flee after this. There are many more booths to visit so spend a few hours this weekend down at Nathan Phillips Sq, supporting Canadian artists……and it’s all FREE!
More details at: www.torontooutdoor.art

JULY events – EXTRA! EXTRA! A FLYING VISIT TO THE TORONTO OUTDOOR ART FAIR…and more Toronto art news

EXTRA EDITION featuring Toronto Outdoor Art Fair ’18 – runs all weekend so be sure to drop in and say hello to these and all the other 350+ artists at Nathan Phillips Sq. in downtown Toronto.FLY undertook a “flying visit” to this year’s Toronto Outdoor Art Fair and found some exciting new artists as well as saying hi to old friends. come walk the aisle with me. First off, FLY caught Rob Croxford mid-sale! Here he is wrapping up a painting…  https://www.robcroxford.com/   Judy Sherman‘s booth (below) was quite the revelation…all those wee beasties staring at me, knives and forks at the ready. Not sure if I’ll be able to eat turkey or beef again…LOL.  http://shermanj.com/    Tobias Moriarty is an exciting young glassmaker with a gorgeous colour palette. Hope to see more of his work in the future.  https://www.facebook.com/tobiasmoriartyglassart/ Next we found Eric Rosser whose vintage autos (below) created quite the buzz with the Friday crowds. Check out Eric’s portfolio here:  www.EricRosser.com  No art fair is complete without Nancy Bennett. Here she is (below) proudly displaying her latest series of moon and sun imagery. Nancy is beaming almost as brightly as her sun!!  http://www.nancybennett.ca/Lori Slater was enjoying all the hub-bub of the fair (below) as she posed in front of her King St cityscape (below) http://lorislater.com/Here’s Ian Stewart and his lovely wife, Sheila (below) – Ian is a wood turner extraordinaire! Each piece is created from sustainable timber, some accessorized with turned metals (copper, silver, aluminum). FLY will be featuring Ian’s work in an upcoming issue.  https://ianstewart.design/index.htmlAnother fave of the FLY is Stewart Jones (below) whose studio is located in Wellington, Pr. Edward County, an area that is “buzzing” these days. Stewart is also involved in a local micro-brewery there so FLY hopes to score a private VIP tasting soon. www.stewartjones.ca
FLY was thrilled to meet a fellow Aussie from her home town of Perth at the art fair… meet Narelle Gibbs whose beautiful, calm seascapes were so welcoming. We’ll see more of Narelle’s work in a later edition. http://narellegibbs.com/
Mark Gleberzon‘s work always makes FLY smile with his colourful artworks and customized small furniture pieces. Below, Mark showcases his new/old images – ideas he’s had for a number of years that he finally actualized for this show. Groovy!  https://www.facebook.com/mark.gleberzonHad a lovely chat with Montreal-based Marianne Chenard who brought her delicate ceramic art to Toronto this year. https://mariannechenard.com/#  Another new artist to FLY was Andrew Stelmack, whose bold colourful canvases stopped many visitors in their tracks. http://astelmack.com/    FLY discovered the exciting Cuban-born artist, Diana Rosa (below) just before heading home. Her whimsical portraits are a delight and the stories behind each will give you a chuckle. See more of her work here: http://dianaartist.ca/wp/?page_id=3984
And FLY could not leave without dropping in to say hello to Michael Toole (below) who was pleased as punch to have a lovely cool breeze coming thru his tent on such a hot afternoon. www.michaeltooleart.com    Lots of talented artists are on hand this weekend, so many booths to visit but do wear comfortable shoes & drink lots of water…man it was hot out there on the cement!  Check times & site map here: https://torontooutdoor.art/

Below is the JULY ISSUE published July 3rd.

July brings super hot weather and lots of great gallery openings and, of course, the annual extravaganza in Nathan Phillips Square, the TORONTO OUTDOOR ART FAIR, showcasing artists from around the corner and across the country for 57 years and going strong. This year, they host  360 contemporary visual artists and welcome some 100,000+ art lovers on July 6 – 8. Rain or shine!

Friday July 6  10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Saturday July 7 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Sunday July 8  10:00 AM – 5:00 PMDetails: www.torontooutdoor.art

FLY’s friends at URBAN GALLERY, 400 Queen St East, launch their July group show, Wild in the City with a VIP reception this Saturday July 7 (2-5pm). Showcasing the works of four local artists, this looks to be a very popular event so FLY recommends you RSVP to attend the reception as soon as possible E: urbangalleryart1@gmail.com  Show runs until July 28th. Artists featured are: Lindsey MacKay, Erik Chong, Osvaldo Napoli and Libby Sims – MacKay’s and Sims’ works are below just to peak your interest!  Details: www.urbangallery.caFLY had fun visiting artist friends at the recent Rosedale Art Fair last month. Here’s a “virtual walk-thu” of the tents and a few of the talented artists….

Mark J. Gleberzon

Linda DeLuca

Jibola Fagbamiye

Stephanie Fehrenbach

Laura Dick

This past month, an unauthorized exhibition of the celebrated UK street artist Banksy‘s works were held in Toronto by his former manager. Having read the background of the artist’s philosophy and artistic mandate not to charge the public for viewing his work, FLY chose to sit out this one. Thanks for the invitation but FLY wanted to support the artist’s wishes & integrity. To FLY’s surprise, a new soon-to-open gallery in Yorkville sponsored a show of 2 brilliant Banksy works (see below) for FREE! Part of their introduction to the Toronto arts scene, Taglialatella Galleries sponsored several other artists in this pop-up location at the entrance of Yorkville Village (formerly Hazelton Lanes).

…other artists were well represented, too. When I left this show, I wandered around the corner to Avenue Rd and discovered this relatively new gallery – Galerie de Bellefeuille. Check out these glittering mosaic (and edgy) Buddhas by Metis Atash sitting proudly in the windows. Definitely worth another visit….http://debellefeuille.com/toronto-artists/

Earlier in June, Urban Gallery launched their annual PRIDE month group show, titled Proud Art, and the gallery was packed for the VIP opening reception. Featured artists included Hank Blondeau, Jean Fode, Jeffrey Mason and Vanessa Storoniak. Here are a few snaps taken of the gallery and artists.

Jean Fode

Hank Blondeau

Jeffrey Mason

Vanessa Storoniak

Jean Fode

Urban Gallery is a non-commission art venue that presents shows each month, allowing artists 4-weeks hanging time to meet with prospective buyers and collectors onsite, and each show is launched with a VIP reception and media support. If you’re interested in learning more about this great space, reach out to Gallery Director, Calvin Hambrook at www.urbangallery.ca

FLY looks forward to meeting up with all the artists and fellow art lovers at the Toronto Outdoor Art Fair and all the other exciting gallery openings throughout the month of July. Be sure to follow us on Fcbk, Twtr & Instagram for this month’s current events.