It's that time again—the Toronto Outdoor Art Fair (TOAF)! Just picture it... It's a hot, sunny day. There's a slight breeze in the air. You're walking around Nathan Phillips Square, there are 400+ booths set up with artwork ranging from bright and colourful abstract paintings to delicate Japanese porcelain reminiscent of Murano glass, to photography of cute animals that asks deeper questions about our relationship with the environment, to some of the most creative jewellery in Toronto. There's live music nearby, discussions of art, and technique. It's simply the best way to spend a summer day! This is my favourite art event of the year, and I'm really excited to be participating for the second year in a row.
This is TOAF's 60th anniversary, and so they have extra special programming scheduled. There is already a great online exhibition featuring 60 artists over the age of 60. Plus you can visit a limited, rotating roster of artists at Stackt (in covid-friendly fashion) this year!
This year I chose to continue my exploration of forming and shaping rigid metal to create fluid and graceful shapes and forms, with some gorgeous results. This body of work is my Ribbon Collection (previously called Whirl). It excites me to play with the juxtaposition between what the material is—sharp, flat, and rigid—and the forms it can take on—soft, voluminous, and graceful. If you'd like to see more, please visit my TOAF profile or my Ribbon Collection in my shop.
Since my favourite part of the fair is viewing the art and visiting my friends, I'll take you on a tour around around the fair to meet my friends and favourite artists.
First up is my jewellery pal Micheline Roi. Her jewellery is inspired by artistic movements and is a fun explosion of bold colours and shapes! Head over to her TOAF profile to learn more about her work and inspiration.
Stroll down this way, and we can see Heather Rathbun and Sarah Dobranowski's booths. I worked with Heather and Sarah at the Harbourfront Centre while we were all artists in residence. Their jewellery is completely opposite—Heather makes minimalistic, geometric jewellery, while Sarah makes silver jewellery made of delicate lace—but equally beautiful.
And over here we can see Jade Usackas with her gorgeous colourful, dripping glass. Her new body of work, Colour Worship, makes historical and religious references to contrast the legacy of the material with our contemporary experience. You can visit Jade at Stackt on July 10 & 11 to see her amazing work up close.
Next up we have local painter, Nadia Lassman. Her Impressionist-style paintings have soft, peaceful colours, and her water lilies remind me of Monet (whose water lily paintings happen to be some of my all time favourites).
There is so much more work that I look out for each year that I could write a novel, but to save some time and space, I'll list a few more artists that I think are worth checking out.
Artists you need to see:
Shay Salehi - Incredible glass vessels that look like fragile egg shells made of sand
Adam Colangelo - Beautiful patina-ed copper mosaic-type wall art
Pasha Moezzi - Bold jewellery inspired by industrial shapes and architectural forms
Jan Phelan - Gorgeous ceramic vases with Art Nouveau floral motifs
Michelle Cieloszczyk - Thought provoking 3D work about police culture, prompted by the continual injustices of marginalized communities and militarization of police forces.
You can also see a few incredible Black TOAF artists in my last post commemorating Juneteenth.
Thanks for joining me on this short tour of the fair. There are over 400 artists to see, so head over to the Toronto Outdoor Art Fair, grab a coffee or glass of wine and enjoy!