Jon Todd Trophy Exhibit @ SMASH Toronto
Sitting at home, catching up on rest that always seems necessary after being moved out of my natural habitat consistently for too long. It will be nice to sit tight and push my nose into a bit more of a routine for the next little while. I have this poisonous feeling festering at the bottom of my gut that needs to be resolved (even though I’m really not sure what it is). It’s a sinking feeling. A huge paperweight. I’ve gotten good at ignoring it for a long time, but as days and hours progress it just seems to be getting heavier and seeping through into everything I do. Time to do some detective work and slaughter a few of my inner demons.
Toronto was a blast – got to meet some tres cool peeps and reunite with awesome friends made last time I was in town. The Jon Todd exhibit was beautifully put together (and equally intriguing to finally see the finished body of work I had heard so much about during the length of it’s creation). Fans and fellow artists of Jon’s flocked to the show to soak in his newest array of intricately expressive work (inspired by the iconic wrestlers he so idolizes). With the theme of looking back at the life of a famed fighter, Todd delivered portraits to mimic old school photographs typically seen in museums paying homage to a celebrated character. As always, each piece hides the stories of both his personal life as well as his imaginative upbringing. I loved it.
Hand screen-printed wood cutouts were amongst the memorabilia you could take home with you for a mere $20 (to which I bought three in every colour to add to the Dias De Los Muertos shrine I have accumulating on the mantle), which were also included in the exhibit’s collaboration collage. The amount of hard work (not to mention upfront time and money) that goes into an exhibit such as this is truly mind bending. I wholeheartedly applaud everyone involved!
Montreal’s own Jean “Turf One” Labourdette was in attendance and also collaborated on one of the larger murals in the back of the gallery (see the man with the moustache below). I didn’t have the pleasure of meeting him this time round, but hopefully sometime in the near future I will have the opportunity of picking his inspired (and equally meticulous) brain.
Lucky, lucky us got a sneak peek at Jon’s Jake The Snake portrait that wasn’t quite completed enough to make the cut into the show. I don’t know much about the man himself, but from what Todd filled us in on, his story has resulted to an every day nightmarish tragedy. It’s crazy how some people’s lives can have such 180 turns for the worst when they were once on top of the world. I guess being the best (and famed for it), can be an excruciatingly slippery slope that few ever master gripping. Thank you Jon for taking this out for us and lending us some VIP access ;).
An incredible artist I did have the honour of meeting was New York based Martin Wittfooth. A master of seemingly classic portraits (animals and nature being his main subjects), laced with a stroke of horror and oddity. His work is beautifully haunting and will no doubt catch you off guard with the serenity you can’t help but experience regardless. You can catch one of his latest creations gracing the cover of Hi-Fructose magazine at the moment (to which I’m sure there is an informative article paired inside to go with). The coolest thing about meeting incredible talents wherever I go, is that the ones that are the most successful are the ones that are genuinely modest and hardworking. I love that. The one thing I truly cannot stand about the fashion industry is all the “somebodies” that seem to have to make everyone in their vicinity aware of exactly who they are and what they’ve done. Hey, I’m all for self promotion, but quite honestly if you have to tell someone who you are, then really you still have a lot of work to do.
The incredible Serge Kerbel was my date for the night – fashion, beauty and art director extraordinaire (take a look at his portfolio – you may just see a few of your favourite spreads created by yours truly), we experienced fish magic together at the Indian restaurant down the street and lived to tell about it!
Always an incredible host to my visits in Toronto (and an absolute gentleman), Serge is highly addictive and just one of those people that gravitationally pull you towards them. So very fabulous.
The Garden Spirit was a painting I almost bought from Jon! It was a tossup when I had to choose between this piece and The Snake Pit. I ended up going with the one that originally made me fall in love with Todd’s work (The Snake Pit prevailing – now a reminder that goddesses actually exist in my living room), and regret absolutely nothing (although I do foresee many more art original purchases in the future – buying art is as addictive as getting piercings and tattoos – and as valuable as real estate from what I keep getting told). I may not have a strong eye for worthwhile properties, but my art instincts I can assure you will be profitable for generations of my family to come.
The vibe at SMASH was perfectly suiting to the show, and the B&B where we stayed just up the street proved to be equally charming. A last minute well-recieved booking got us a room in a divided victorian mansion. It was beautiful, quaint, intimately luxurious, and very welcoming. The perfectly manicured garden in front was a sight for sore travelling eyes, and the backyard patio was a beautiful touch (too bad we didn’t really get to enjoy it for any given length of time, being the city explorateurs we just so happen to be)…
More on Liberty village coming up in my next post… I fell in love with the area and want a residence there!
This was my favourite piece of the night. Too bad it was already snapped up by the time I got there. I’m not sure what I like best about it – the three mouths filled with an impressive amount of teeth, the hovering crown or the rose neck tattoo (a very sexy man place for a tattoo). In any case, I’ve got the hots for this wrestler.
This life-sized wrestling ring was the centrepiece of the entire exhibit (smack dab in the middle of it all). Screen printed with Mexican wrestling masks and a large Calavera candy skull in the centre (alongside some well-placed imitation blood stains – here’s hoping), guests were invited to get into it (literally) and add to the many layers and textures of the installations canvas.
My little contribution to the show? Providing the rope for the wrestling ring! My dad’s shop is full of industrial fabrics and cordage, so his supply of rope made the cut when it came to Jon’s construction of the ring.
Tres cool. Check out the behind the scenes look into how it was all put together.
Wuddup handlebar moustache?!?
Now this kid prodigy (left in the red), Theo Gallaro, I recognized instantly from one of the vids Jon posted on his blog. Only twelve years old and opening his first exhibit during Halloween of this year (titled 500 Tricks) at the Sleeping Giant Gallery in Toronto, I must admit was one of the few people that actually succeeded at intimidating me. I was speechless at his composure and self assurance at such a young age (not to mention familiarity and chill outlook considering the pro’s he has come to surround himself with). I love his darkly humorous characters and can’t think of a better event to attend on Halloween. Honestly. If I can be there, I will (in full costume of course).
Check it out for yourself – impossible to be disappointed.
Running May 27 – June 5th 2011
2880 Dundas West, Toronto, ON Canada
Posted under artwork, inspiration, Magazine, travel, Uncategorized by Robyn