tinku is a new contemporary art gallery on Roncesvalles Avenue and something of a happy accident for gallery owner Amrita Chandra. Amrita found the gallery space when she was looking for a house in the area and decided "very quickly that I could wait to buy a house but I really couldn't wait to purchase the gallery space." The street level location in the new High Park Lofts building just north of Howard Park is a much needed addition to the area. Art is an integral part of Roncesvalles and High Park, but there are a surprisingly lack of galleries in the area, with a few exceptions on Morrow Avenue and down the road in the Junciton.
I had a conversation with Amrita about her new gallery, this is what she had to say:
Tell me about the gallery, how long you have been open, where you are located?
tinku gallery opened at the beginning of May. We are at 437 Roncesvalles Avenue which is the street level of the new High Park Lofts building just north of Howard Park Avenue.
Why Roncesvalles/High Park for a gallery?
Choosing the location was a bit of a happy accident. I live in the neighbourhood and was house-hunting, when I saw that this space was up for sale. I decided very quickly that I could wait to buy a house but I really couldn't wait to purchase the gallery space. I liked the location because it is close to all the great galleries on Morrow Avenue , and is in a neighbourhood that has a village-like feel.
What kind of work will you be showcasing?
I am showing contemporary art from Canadian and American visual artists, with a concentration on painting and photography.
Tell me a little about your background with art?
I have not had any formal training in visual art or arts management - my degrees are in Economics and Business actually - but I have been collecting art for many years and have been told I have a good eye so the gallery is a nice way for me to merge my love for art with my experience as an entrepreneur.
How do you choose artists for your gallery?
All the artists I represent right now I have found through word of mouth, either through other artists or collectors. I choose to work with someone first and foremost because I love their work. But I also have to consider whether I think their work will sell, because we are a commercial gallery. There are many artists whose work I love but I know my gallery is not the best suited to represent them. I do also take into consideration how their work fits with the other artists I represent, so I don't have two people with very similar styles. Finally, I only work with people I like, which is completely subjective of course, but given that you are spending a lot of time developing a relationship that will hopefully last for years, it's a very important criteria for me.
If you could fast forward five years, what would you most like people to say about your gallery? In other words, what do you want people to most associate with your gallery?
I hope that in 5 years time tinku gallery is thriving, which is no small feat given how tough the gallery business can be. I would want people to think of the gallery as a place where they feel comfortable regardless of their background, and have it be a place that they trust to have a well edited selection of contemporary art. I hope that artists who work with me feel I have helped their careers and that I have treated them fairly and respectfully.
What's something else you would like to say about your gallery or yourself?
I am a Toronto transplant like many others here and spent many years in Newfoundland, Bulgaria, and India, which have influenced me personally and professionally. One way this shows is in how I take the time to get to know whoever comes into my space and find what is right for them, so they feel like they have their own personal art consultant regardless of their budget. I disagree with the school of thought that being a successful person or business means people and products should be treated like disposable commodities, so in my own small way I'd like to counter that by the approach I take to running my gallery.
As of June 14th, tinku gallery will be open on:
Mon-Wed By appointment
Thursday 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Friday, Sat, Sun 12:00 pm - 6:00 pm