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Toronto Art Expo Plays It Safe

I should have brought my mom to the Toronto Art Expo. She's always telling me "Todd, why don't you try making art someone actually wants to buy?". I've thought about exhibiting my art at the Toronto Art Expo in years past. The high entrance fee always stopped me ($1665 at least). Apparently, it stopped just about everyone else, who isn't in the business of making wall art for middle class baby boomers.

I hate to be so negative but I'd be remiss if I didn't warn others like me to save their money and head to Queen West instead. Don't get me wrong, the art expo has its audience. A friend who came to see the show with me on friday, commented that his company, Brushstrokes, goes every year. Brushstrokes buys the rights to paintings and then sells reproductions of them by the thousands in places like Ikea. Walking up and down the isles, I see a lot of traditional landscape paintings, a lot of flowers and the mandatory female nudes with their backs to the viewer. The artists who paint these likely do well. My suspicion is that most of them will sell a few decent sized works for a few thousand bucks each. Some will even get lucky enough to sell the right of reproduction to a company like Brushstrokes.

There were a few artists I did like. One did a naively painted montage of stills from Mel Gibson's 'The Passion'... awesome. The token guy doing Tool CD style art was there - taking one for the team. Wire mesh artist Pei Lin Chen, is actually pretty wicked and probably sells well too. Chen makes relief works with wire mesh like the kind you find in doors. The work looks a lot like those pin board things you press against your face, capturing the image in the pins.

The Toronto Art Expo isn't really bad per se, its just not for me. The overpriced drinks and inoffensive fiddle music made that perfectly clear. If you're married with kids and looking for something to put on your wall, this event might be for you. There are lots of well-painted pieces that would look great above your mantle or chesterfield. You'll be supporting a living, practicing painter and that shows class. It's a lot cooler than buying expensive reproductions of old masterworks. The expo runs through Sunday night. I'll be busy stretching my own skin onto canvas and painting pictures of Santa Claus on it in the nude. You can't handle it? Go to the Toronto Art Expo.

*photo by Redroom Studios on Flikr


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