TORONTO – A chilly weekend did not deter art enthusiasts from attending FANIQUE’s first event of 2015, which was produced in collaboration with CATCH Education. Taking place between January 9 and 11, ArtCalorie – a multimedia charity art exhibition and mixer – was held at Inclusive Design Institute at downtown Toronto, and featured 22 Toronto-based artists. The three-day event supported Toronto Arts Foundation, a charitable organization that encourages artistic excellence and increases access to the arts across the city.
The subject matter and sources of influence varied greatly from one artist to the next, each painting, drawing, video, installation and other art mediums reflecting the cultural diversity we see across the city of Toronto.
Before she obtained her degree in graphic design, Wenzi Li – a traditional Chinese artist – began learning her craft from her father who was a calligrapher. Li’s work aims to incorporate both old and new perspectives. She proposes that ‘modern’ and ‘traditional’ are not rivals, but that they are related, with modern concepts growing out of tradition – something she portrayed in her work on display at ArtCalorie.
Across the event space, Sylvia Zheng’s jewelry designs also touched on time-honoured practices. The ancient roots of Taoist theology heavily influence her work. Handmade from hundreds of layers of paper, the finished product feels and looks like wood – an interesting musing since paper comes from trees. Zheng explains that Taoistphilosophy proposes we follow nature, something she extends to the essence of the human frame, with her pieces mimicking the shape of the body.
The theme of the juxtaposition between traditional and modern worlds took the form of political commentary in ZarishAsif’s comic book creations, which challenge conventional and controversial issues in Pakistani society.Asif’s work aims to bring to the forefront some of the challenges faced by her home nation regarding the right to free speech. She highlights taboo subjects that remain outside the realm of acceptable public dialogue.
Works like those by Andre Kan offered a fitting counterbalance to the more historic pieces. Kancreates paintings from an abstract standpoint. He highlights his fascination with the intersection of architecture and memory and investigates the way in which physical space plays into human interaction through his artwork.
During the exhibit’s opening night, four interactive workshops were offered, showcasing the diversity of talent among Toronto’s emerging artists. While Zimmo Lu, spent the evening recreating an intricate image in the form of a body painting on a guest’s forearm, Melissa Espina introduced visitors to the process of encaustic – or hot wax – painting. Both Sarah Jane Deas and Sylvia Zheng highlighted the universality of wood in artistic creation. Deas creates wood paintings whereas Zheng practices the painstaking process of paper-wood jewelry making.
The “ArtCalorie” event also touched on the performing arts industry by hostinglive music and dance performances throughout the evening.Local bands Travel By Storm and Play Society entertained a large crowd with Indie Rock songs. Dancers Spirit Synott and Nicole Meehan debuted their choreography, which was deemed ‘an exploration’ of movement. Synott and Meehan explained that the piece developed organically as they got to know each other and discovered how they could work together. For this reason, the duo focused first on choreographic decisions instead of music selection.
The “ArtCalorie” Multimedia Charity Show & Mixer’s intent to support Toronto’s local art environment in conjunction with Toronto Arts Foundation was successful in offering emerging artists the opportunity to showcase their artworks and connect with a diverse set of fellows in arts.
Andre is an emerging Toronto-based abstract artist. His work suggests urban and suburban, interior, and exterior spaces that question the imaginative, allowing the viewer to reevaluate their perception of space and the structural possibilities therein.
Daniel Anaka is a Toronto-based artist with over twelve years of experience. He is part of a vibrant, close-knit artistic community, and has curated a number of well respected exhibits that challenge deeply entrenched cultural modes of perception. His artwork is narrative and character based.
Henry Hengyan Chen is a Toronto based visual artist who works in photography, video, drawing, sculpture and mixed media.
James E Russell
James E Russell works toward a thesis that explores “The Third Space”. His theory around the examination of this space is called Digital Cubism.
As an emerging artist, Jane won an award at a group show titled ‘OCAD KASA EXPO’ in 2013. Hur and her fellows have created an artist group named, ‘& a.m.’ that actively paint murals on business buildings by request.
Jin ke Wang
Wang is an emerging young artist who is currently pursing a BFA degree in OCAD.
Krista Arnold was born and raised in Aurora, Ontario. Krista’s body of work reflects on the idea of what it means when a person has “left” yet their physical body remains.
Maria has been captivated by nature’s inherent beauty and became intent on conveying it through her painting.
Megan Katz is a passionate young Toronto-based visual artist and also a student whose passion is drawing and painting. She works mostly with ink and acrylic on canvas, focusing on lines and contrasting colours.
Exploring the themes of nostalgia and memory, Espina creates complex bodies of work only to dismantle and reassemble them. Espina connects and reconnects with her work by embracing the sculptural elements of her medium, the removal and reapplication of paint, large gestures and bold colour.
England UK born, Toronto based new media artist Naomi Dodds’ work explores cinematic language through the material and the immaterial by questioning the roles of the machine and the image.
Ramona Nordal’sambitious use of colour and style of acrylic painting create an overwhelming energy in her work. Becoming well known for her colour choices she uses the intensity of these vibrant mixtures to give life to her subjects.
Samantha Robbie Higgins is a continuing studies student who uses colour and found objects to illustrate messages that reference personal memories and popular culture.
Sara Mozafari’s art works are her response to Iranian cultural and political issues and living in her new home, Canada. Persian poetry and literature also have significant roles in her art pieces.
Sarah Jane Deas
Sarah Deas is an illustrator, born and raised in Toronto, Canada. Her enthusiasm for illustration developed in her childhood and has progressed to cover both her leisure activities and her academic accomplishments.
Sylvia Zhang is a jeweler and designer who enjoys the open attitude to different material, ranging from precious metal to non-precious material, and this revolution leads to more possibilities and freedom regarding to design.
Voitek Pendrak is a self taught artist working in Toronto, Ontario. His subjects are predominantly women, finding the perfect line linking geometry and sensuality.
Wenzi’s artworks have been displayed in various exhibitions in Beijing and Toronto. Her art and design works have won many awards including the Golden Prize and Best Promotion Prize in the third session of the Energy-Saving Emission Reduction Poster Design Competition.
Winnie Wu is a Chinese-born, Toronto-based artist. Wu’s work is concerned with personal history, identity and nationality.
Zarish is an undergraduate student at the University of Toronto, double majoring in Studio Art and City Studies. From holography to comic book creation her art aims to merge diverse cultural art traditions with the fantastical.
Zimmo Lu is currently a first year graduate student and also a junior tattoo artist.
Travel By Storm – Beautiful exploits from the grooving styles of Travel by Storm; Elegance and romance through stylistic flourishes of simplicity.Jon Rizz is an analog enthusiast and a lifetime musician. Immersed in record production as a career, he creates what his mind sees and hears as music.Will Charbonneau is a singer-songwriter who alternates between acoustic guitar and electric bass. Some of his projects include Moshpit Orchestra and Red Slam Collective.
Play Society - An experimental collective of local musicians, drawn together by friendship and a desire for sonic exploration.Joey Zhang is a passionate drummer with a rich palate of musical experience to draw from. Will Charbonneau is a singer-songwriter who alternates between acoustic guitar and electric bass. Alexandra Nabokov as a poet said, “Music is a power that comes from eternity… sometimes people get to play it… and if they don’t get in the way too much, the music gets through.” Gun Y Li plays keyboard, and is a former member of the band named Children’s Hospital. Jacob Zhao is a new media artist fusing photography, sound landscaping, music remixing and videography, and also a digital person in an analog world.
Spirit Synott- is an Artist, Activist, Actor and Dancer. Her choices in artistic expression have been influenced by studies in fine art, experimental art, martial arts, music, fashion, acting, digital story telling, dance and a huge desire for social change.
Editor: Meaghan Elizabeth