Artist Project Toronto 2014

5 things to expect at the 2014 Toronto Artist Project

The Artist Project kicked off in Toronto last night at the Better Living Centre. Instead of a typical gallery curated art fair, here you'll find the artists themselves working their own booths. The show is a good excuse to stretch your legs indoors (slush free) as you browse the works of over 250 artists showing everything from tiny, dainty toy animals perched on bullet shells (Jesse Bromm) to artists who manage to employ both Comic Sans and Curlz onto self-printed price tags (not naming names).

Here's what to expect at this year's Artist Project.

Artist Project 2014

Affordable art
While the art fair crowd generally includes hoity toity types who'd rather talk about their summer home purchases than affordable housing for artists and there are tons of price tags in the four digit range in this year's show, work at the Artist Project can also easily be found for under $500 or even under $200. Not only do you get to chat up a hard working artist as you buy directly from him or her, it doesn't have to break the bank.

Artist Project 2014

People who dress like they're going to an art event
The people-watching at art fairs is always divine. It's all going down, from immaculately coiffed West Queen West must-seriously-get-their-hair-done-twice-per-week-how-is-that-possible chic to the classic frumpy "don't give a fuck" / "comfortable" / "slept in a motel last night" tourist look. Quirky accessories abound, naturally, as do quirky pant-tucking strategies. Take a free walking tour or a $25 wine and cheese tour to ogle the crowds (and art) in a pack.

Artist Project 2014

A pleasant surprise - sparkles abounded at the opening last night, and not just on the party-goers. From bejeweled and glitter coated flowers and Tim Hortons themed art (because... the owner of Tim Hortons might show up? Actually both saddened and intrigued by this) to Noelle Hamlyn's massive loom installation that spins glittery white tears (Rob Ford style tears), your sparkle quota will be filled. I also spotted at least two pieces of bacon themed art, in case that's your thing.

Artist Project 2014

More Toronto themed art than you'd find almost anywhere else
We're not just talking postcard-y stuff either (though you'll find plenty of that). No matter how you like your Toronto (sleek and majestic, hi-res sexy, gritty and raw, painted all lop-sidey), you're bound to find a photo or artwork that pleases you. Spot works by Brian Harvey, Catherine Jeffrey, Dieter Hessel, Harry Enchin, Peter Lewis, and Paul Elia, to name a few. Among the international artists you'll also find tons of artists from Toronto and the surrounding area, plus from towns all around Ontario.

Artist Project 2014

Hi-def stall after hi-def stall
Whether we're talking bold, swirly abstracts (can you just call yourself an abstract expressionist and get away with it? Answer: kind of), perfectly matted nudes (wouldn't be a fair without some naked chicks) or way-saturated sunflowers (ditto), there isn't much here for fans of lo-fi aesthetics or even illustration. Unlike Art Toronto, there's no Marcel Dzama, Le Gallery artists or zine culture vibes. Nothing gets weird, either, though I'm sure some will disagree. It makes sense - while quadruple digit stall rental fees cut out underground artists, established ones stick to the traditional fairs. Still, one can dream.

The Artist Project is at the Better Living Centre (Exhibition Place) until Sunday, February 23rd: Friday: 12PM - 8PM, Saturday: 11AM - 8PM, and Sunday: 11AM - 6PM.

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