Jeremy Shantz’s studio is like the Frankenstein of all studios. Everything is built from scratch, from the desk to the mismatched coffee table that used to be a fan belt cage and the shelves housing a taxidermy alligator head and a dismembered yet perfectly manicured mannequin hand. Any other person would have neatly sat down and started the interview but I, however…in all of my clumsy glory, settled for not sitting still and kicking a full-to-the-brim ashtray off the table and all over the couch and floor. An apology, two beers and a good three minutes of ash-sweeping later, the conversation began.
ONCE upon a time, I rang this artist’s doorbell for an interview, only to be greeted with the standard double kiss and a very modest: “I haven’t really timed my day well and we need to go pick up my laundry”. So off we went, lugging back a rucksack big enough to fit a child in and a plastic bag with drenched clothes, result of the typical broken drying machine. Daily chores completed, I was ushered through his living space/studio apartment as we made our way to the building’s series of outdoor balconies and fire escapes that merged into a 3-storey central courtyard. This infrastructure, neglected by most Montreal landlords, had been entirely invaded by artists. Tags, throw-ups, murals, dingy couches and sealed-off doors covered every inch of available surface.
Spring is in the air, students are out of classrooms and all of Canada is creeping out of hibernation. Having succesfully finished my first official year at OCAD University, I packed a suitcase and drove to Montréal with my dad. One foot in the city and I’m in my natural habitat.
From Paris to New York to Toronto, Virgil Baruchel has been surrounded by art since he can remember. Dabbling in as many creative techniques as you can name, the multimedia artist believes in letting his work speak for itself and pushes his imagination and that of his audience as far as it can go. Inspired by game-changing artists and motivated by challenge, Virgil’s colourful creations are an instinctive fusion of process and form and never what they seem. I payed him a studio visit and we had a stirring conversation about his work, inspiration and the power of instinct and looking at things twice.
Check out our full interview for Toronto the Brave on the Hermann & Audrey website here
I visited the MOCCA yesterday to see the latest exhibition organized by CONTACT Photography Festival. Expertly curated by David Liss and Bonnie Rubenstein, “Material Self: Performing the Other Within” brings together works by eight artists from around the globe and touches on matters of identity, sense of self and shifting images transformed by evolving cultures, traditions and costumes. I was pleasantly surprised to see the new mural in the museum courtyard, pictured above and featuring a photograph by Jim Naughten, “Hereros”.
Last night I stopped by Brockton Collective Inc for the opening reception of Jimmy Chiale‘s solo show. Born in Paris, the artist moved to Toronto a couple of years ago and the exhibition displayed works from his first days in the city until now. Visitors were hit with blasts of colours as they mingled from canvas to canvas, his signature abstract paintings covering the white-washed walls from floor to ceiling. A fantastic inauguration filled with good vibes and good music. You can check out more photos of the event below.
Not long ago, I had the pleasure of meeting up with artist Jimmy Chiale for a conversation over cappuccinos and whiskey at Tequila Bookworm. Known for his distinctive, abstract style and vibrant bursts of color, Chiale is nothing less than passionate about his art, inspired by everything and looking to inspire in return. Originally from France, he has collaborated with countless artists and musicians in Toronto, painting every day to leave his imprint in time.
You can check out the full interview on the Hermann & Audrey website here