Meandering and Mingling at Art Off The Lot
Brightening what was once a Chrysler dealership at 1030 King Street West, the 75 all-Canadian artist show was a "pay what you can" event with a recommended donation of five dollars. Happy to pay the fiver, I took full opportunity to admire the paintings, sculpture, photographs, and chat up the artists.
Ranging from more established local artists like David Brown and Eric Cator to emerging talent from Sheridan College, there was a excellent mix of work on display. And the atmosphere at the show was warm and friendly. From the time I walked in, I was continually greeted with a smile. Hors d'oeuvres and refreshments were served in a bright environment, but unlike some events, Art Off the Lot was not the type of affair that felt as though you had walked in on something private and pretentious.
At first, I gave the space a quick walkthrough. But that walkthrough turned into a repeated circling of booths filled with things to hear, see, and touch. To be honest, I couldn't help myself. Liking most of what I saw, I stuffed loads of artist business cards into my coat pocket and took note to keep my eye on them in the future.
Artists among the hoard of cards in my coat pocket included the following: the AWOL collective (featured above), Janice Stouffer, Lisa Herrera, Jenny Ya-Chieh Hsieh, Francisco Gomez, Daniel Bombardier (lead photo), Peter Chung and Eric Cator (photo below). Most artwork at the show was exceptional, but the artists that made it to my coat pocket collection were my personal favourites.
One of the best features of fairs like this (TOAE, Queen West Art Crawl) is the accessibility of the artists. I was thus delighted to have a chance to chat with one of my coat pocket collection artists, Eric Cator. Admiring his painting Crossing Guard Convention, I asked about the motivation behind it.
"I liked the idea that all these crossing guards would get together, discussing secret techniques," explained the Toronto artist.
He also told me that on the street where he worked there was a crossing guard whom he photographed. Liking the result, he decided to do a whole series of photos of crossing guards. Photography then became painting, resulting in the final depiction of the guards in cahoots with one another.
For those looking for the no-fuss attitude of a get-together, paired with the culture that comes from a gallery - a visit to The Cryptic Canvas Event Gallery's next event is highly recommended. Craft Off the Lot, a sister show to Art Off the Lot, begins this weekend and runs from November 12th to 15th.
Writing by guest contributor Tricia Strachan.
Photographs by Derek Flack and Eric Cator.
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