The buildings of Canada’s largest city have become huge canvases for the artists who call the city home. Highly complicated, evolved, and recognizable works can be found throughout the city, adding both character and beauty to the streets.

Piece by Anser on St. Clair West. Photo by Chris Jackson.

Some Toronto street artists have become recognizable by placing the same scene or characters throughout the city. One such artist goes by the alias Anser. His drawing of a woman’s face can be found in different renditions throughout Toronto. The piece has become well known and admired, and often dubbed ‘the painted lady.’ 

At Yonge and Bloor. Photo by Metrix_X.

"I’ve been doing traditional graffiti for a really long time. Then I had a fall out where I wasn’t into it. I wasn’t really appreciating it as much—I still liked it, but it just wasn’t me. And I had a bit of an epiphany after a while: I realized graffiti itself is very elitist…it’s only meant for people within the graffiti culture to really participate. And after a while I just felt like, it’s in the public realm, why not involve the rest of the public?"explains Anser.

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Ichwan Noor gained world recognition for his art when he revealed a spherical sculpture made out of a Volkswagen Beetle. The VW ball was part of series done by Noor. “The idea came from a personal perception of the objects of cultural products. I saw some objects as having a spiritual gesture, as having a magical identity,” explains Noor. “I am a man looking at things with an animistic attitude, and I’m trying to develop a concept of ‘totem’ today.”

Beetle Sphere, made from a 1953 VW Beetle

Noor hails from Indonesia, where he studied sculpture at the Art Institute of Indonesia. Art has always been a part of his life, and he has been drawing and developing new skills and ideas since childhood. “Art became a part of my life very early on. Growing up, I had a lot of potential, faith, and vision, and that’s why despite it being very difficult at times, I have found a lot of happiness in the world of art.”

In addition to happiness, Noor has found tremendous success within the international art community. His work has been on display in exhibitions around the glove since 1985, and he’s received a number of awards and honours for his work.

 

Aluminum Wheel Barrow Face 

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Dale Chihuly is a glass artist whose works have extended the medium beyond imagination. His sculptures have become bigger and his various artworks more complex, despite the difficulty of working with glass. His work can be seen in galleries and installations around the globe.

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Shots from a permanent Chihuly installation in the Denver Botanical Gardens.

Dale was first immersed into glasswork while studying in college. He started working with and blowing glass in a glass factory in Venice. Since then he’s started the Pilchuck Glass School in Washington State, and led the movement of glass in fine art.

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Charles F. Huot is an up and coming producer and songwriter living in Montreal.

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Hout is making waves with his sythpop music under his stage name Dear Frederic.  He’s at work writing songs profusely and evolving with each tune.

Huot got into music early and instantly knew it was the life path he’d go down. “I was obsessed with Dave Grohl’s drum parts on the album 'Nevermind so after a summer of delivering newspaper, I bought a drum set and started playing music with friends. It has never been a leisure for me though, I always felt it was my job in a good way,” says Huot.

Huot officially started his career in 2008 with an indie rock band called Winter Gloves. After releasing 4 albums and working musically with popular shows like Degrassi and So You Think You Can Dance, Huot started his solo career in April 2014.

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The Beaches are an all girl indie rock band that are shaking things up in the Canadian music scene.

The group is named after the Toronto Beaches and made up of four girls whose coming of age has been reflected in their music since they first started playing together in grade nine.

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From left: Eliza Enman-McDaniel, Leandra Earl (keys), Kylie Miller (guitar), and Jordan Miller (vocals and bass.)

Formed originally as a teen pop-rock band called Done With Dolls, the girls found their success on stations like The Family Channel. “As we matured, we decided to change our band name and style to be more age appropriate,” explains Kylie. “Most musicians will find that their music will evolve and grow as they do. And we feel that way too. Otherwise you’ll just be writing about the same things forever, and your art will become boring,” adds Jordan.

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by Rina Nakazawa

Dorota Buczel, founder and director of Alchemy Center Makeup Art Studio and Boutique, is a professional body painter and visual artist. zeeBigBang spoke with her about her creative body painting projects.

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Body painting by Dorota Buczel

Buczel gets inspiration from everywhere including places, people, music, art and her surroundings. She explores her artistry, connection with the living canvas which is the model and leaving room for surprise. She uses a wide variety of motifs including animals, fallen leaves, butterflies, skeletons, ethnic styles and so on. Her creative process is “a client usually presents me with a concept and based on that I come up with the best idea to represent and promote them. I come up with whatever is needed to embellish the artwork to make a better statement.”   

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Body painting by Dorota Buczel

Buczel chooses her models based on the body painting that she wants them to represent. “I like to work with models who are patient and appreciate art. I rarely use fashion models. I prefer to use dancers, life drawing models or real people who have a passion and appreciation for art.”

She gives the models instructions how to prepare their skin for painting and how to best remove the body painting afterwards. Buczel tries to connect with the models as much as possible. What she pays attention to is “making them feel special and comfortable; giving them breaks as needed and reinforcing their performance.”

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Body painting by Dorota Buczel

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There is a district in Beijing seldom visited by tourists called the Shijingshan District. Within it hides a gem of international art called the Beijing International Sculpture Park. It is a multifunctional location that brings people from around the world to enjoy scenery that lends itself as the perfect stage for over 200 sculptures from over 40 countries. 

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Construction of the park began in 2002, and the 162 acres of park were open to the public by the end of 2003. The park has an east and west side. The east is full of humanistic style sculptures, while the West has a pastoral or abstract flavour.

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The combination of the natural landscape and manmade sculptures permeates the design of the park. “As you enter from the North gate there is a symmetry, and the sculptures follow a theme that help accent the natural elements in the park,” explains Aiguo Yofu, an art correspondent of ChinaDaily, and an avid fan of the park.

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by Rina Nakazawa

The Toronto Fringe Festival, part of the “Fringe movement” – a worldwide network of indie theatre festivals where anyone can put on any shows, will take place in Toronto from July 2 to 13.This year’s festival features 148 shows in 35 venues.

A cry for help from Dreams of Summer’s End and The Dying Picture Productions

zeeBigBang spoke with Tristan Rivé who is a director of the theatre company, The Dying Picture and an actor about his up-coming piece, Dreams of Summer’s End.

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Nisheeth Proshanti (left) Tristan Rivé (center) Karina Lynn (right)

Rivé said the play is inspired by Chris Brown’s admission of losing his virginity at the age of 8 to a 16 year old girl. What was fascinating about this was “that there were a lot of articles coming out particularly in feminist websites about how there are culturally raped boys that we are forgetting about. Statistics show that boys who are raped, or girls who are raped, at a younger age become much more violent and much more like those who raped them. We expanded on the idea of our relationships with our sexuality and how those relationships affect our lives and the people around us,” Rivé explained. 

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The Art Nouveau poster by Keegan Thomas Youngfor 

This piece deals with four people in two groups and the struggles with their sexuality. From family, to marriage, to children; sexuality is the force that dictates how they live their lives. One group of characters examines sexuality in sexual relationships that society deems “abnormal”. It explores how a boy’s experience of being raped drives him to rape a girl and explores their struggles. A second group of characters examines how sexuality in sexual relationships that society deems “normal” leads to the loss of the personal identity and purpose in life. Rivé based the name of the play on Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night’s Dream drawing from its sense of fate and turmoil. 

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Daniel Cristofori (left) Karina Lynn (right)

Rivé has been working on bring this piece to life on the stage since last August. All shows at the Fringe are chosen at random by lottery and he won Toronto and Hamilton Fringe. “That is exciting because Toronto is the hardest and the best one to get into,” he said.

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by Peggy Geddes

The orchestra of The National Arts Centre (NAC) in Ottawa, Canada is conducted by Pinchas Zukerman, considered one of the finest violinists in the world.

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Conductor Pinchas Zukerman is one of the finest violinists in the world, photo Kenn Taylor

“The orchestra is very active heading their concert series and performing whenever the NAC hosts Broadway musicals or visiting dance companies,” said Rosemary Thompson, of NAC Public Affairs. “The music department also operates an elite education academy open each summer to 100 selected young musicians from around the world and mentored by the NAC musicians. We spot great talent and invite them to the summer boot camp. We’ve become a hub for young musicians.”

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Summer Music Institute participants in performance

More recently the NAC has sent its orchestra abroad to China and next year it will go to the United Kingdom. Thompson said, “When we go we don’t just play Beethoven. We play John Estacio, Malcolm Forsyth, Alexina Louie - all Canadian so International audiences are hearing really great Canadian music. When we go we don’t just perform - we teach - all through the music schools and conservatories and universities.”

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Pinchas Zukerman conducting the National Arts Centre Orchestra, photo  Dwayne Brown

Every year The National Arts Centre hosts 1,200 shows with 60 musicians and a budget of $70 million. It is the largest Performing Arts Centre and Education Institute in Canada. zeebigbang  interviewed Thompson, to learn more about this vibrant Canadian treasure.

The NAC has dedicated funds to invest in artistic creation across Canada and is open to partner with artists. Here’s how it works according to Thompson. “For instance a small theatre company may have an idea for a new play or even a play that has started that has had some success. NAC might invest in that play so that it has a longer life. Using another example she explained, “If you are a composer you might be selected as one of the NAC commissioned composers. Right now we have three of them. They are writing music not just for our orchestra but what gets written gets shared with everybody [orchestra]. We do the same thing in theatre - both English and French theatre - and the same thing in dance for say a choreographer to set up on tour at the Toronto Harbourfront Centre, or Montreal or whatever you are working on. We are seen as kind of a catalyst to help propel Canadian artists. “

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Scene from “Les Justes,” presented by NAC French Theatre, photo by Brigitte Enguérand

Every two years NAC shines a spotlight on artists across the country through Scene Festivals. A different region is selected each time. “The last one was the North and we had in excess of 300 artists that came from the three territories.” Thompson explains that the festivals embrace all art forms and emerging and established artists.   

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Aboriginal singer-songwriter and Northern Scene performer Leela Gilday

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by Rina Nakazawa

Argentine Boys for Sale is a 500 page graphic account of the lives of five young men by Nigel Nolan, a Canadian and Buenos Aires based artist. The digital compilation of  photographs and oil, watercolour and acrylic paintings is set to a stirring 20-minute soundtrack by Xiu Xiu, a Los Angeles based band. 

Argentine Boys for Saleは、カナダ出身でブエノスアイレスを拠点に活動しているアーティスト、ナイジェル・ノーラン氏による5人の青年の生活記録をまとめた500ページに及ぶグラフィックアカウントである。写真と油、水彩、アクリル絵具によって描かれた絵たちは、ロサンゼルスを拠点に活動しているバンド、Xiu Xiuによって手がけられた不安を呼び起こすような20分間のサウンドトラックと共にデジタル編集されている。

Argentine Boys for Sale: a Nigel Nolan project with music by Xiu Xiu

Through text, music, photography and painting, the digital book offers intimate portraits of five young men, DANIEL, FeD, JOEL, OMAR and SEB. An exhibition of some parts of the book, including photographs and some wall-size and framed paintings, is being held at Nuit Rose in Toronto on June 21.

文章、音楽、写真、絵画を通して、そのデジタルブックは5人の青年、ダニエル、フェッド、ジョエル、オマー、セブのプライベートな人物像を伝えている。また、デジタルブックから抜粋された数枚の写真、壁画、絵画などが6月21日にトロントで開催される現代アートイベント、Nuit Roseで展示される予定である。

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“SEB spent the night,” private residence, Buenos Aires, 2010

zeeBigBang spoke with Nolan about his inspiration for the project. “The inspiration is DANIEL, FeD, JOEL, OMAR and SEB. Their lives and humanizing their images - making you think about the lives they live, not just looking at their images,” Nolan said. “There are a lot of emotional challenges in this project - like knowing their [boys] personal tragedies. But the biggest challenge is crossing borders.”

zeeBigBangはこのプロジェクトに対するインスピレーションについてノーラン氏にお話しを伺った。「インスピレーションはダニエル、フェッド、ジョエル、オマー、そしてセブです。彼らの生活であり、そして彼らのイメージを人間化すること―ただ彼らのイメージに目を向けるのではなく、あなたに彼らが日々送っている生活について考えさせることです。」とノーラン氏は語った。「このプロジェクトには、彼らに(青年たち)訪れる個人的な悲劇を共有することのように、数多くの感情的な困難がありました。ですが、一番の困難は国境を超えることです。」

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"Amuse-Bouche", LE Gallery, Toronto, 2009

This project started as Nolan’s personal blog while living in Buenos Aires, Argentina with DANIEL, FeD, JOEL, OMAR and SEB. He shared his home with the five men and posted articles with intimate images, paintings and photographs of the men and their lives on his blog for almost three years. Parts of the blog are included in the digital book available worldwide for people to purchase and download. Nolan gave Xiu Xiu creative freedom with the soundtrack.

このプロジェクトは、ノーラン氏がアルゼンチンのブエノスアイレスでダニエル、フェッド、ジョエル、オマー、セブと一緒に生活しながら綴っていた個人的なブログが始まりだった。ノーラン氏はこの5人の青年と自宅で共同生活をし、彼らと彼らの生活を捉えたプライベートな写真や肖像画と共に約3年間ブログに記事を投稿していた。そのブログの一部がデジタルブックに収録されており、世界中で人々が購入しダウンロードすることが可能である。ノーラン氏はサウンドトラックに関してはXiu Xiuに自由に制作を任せた。

Nolan’s works blur the boundaries between reality and art. He has held solo exhibitions for Argentine Boys for Sale in Buenos Aires, New York and Toronto. Of his work he says, “The frame isolates the paintings. The paintings on the walls were in my home in Buenos Aires. We lived in those rooms so it became an interaction with our daily lives. In the exhibitions, the framed works are either portraits or photographs and they give reality and history to the wall paintings. It was a lot of documenting their lives and taking that documentation and being inspired to paint other things. But it was all coming through our experience together,” Nolan said.

ノーラン氏の作品は現実とアートの間の境目が曖昧である。彼はこれまでにブエノスアイレス、ニューヨーク、そしてトロントでArgentine Boys for Saleの個展を開いている。「額縁は絵を分離します。壁に描かれた絵たちはブエノスアイレスにある僕の家にあります。僕たちはそれらの部屋で暮らしているので、それらの壁画は僕たちの日常生活と影響し合っています。展示会では、額縁に入れられた作品たちは肖像画かあるいは写真で、それらは壁画に現実性と歴史を与える役割を果たしています。それらは彼らの生活の数多くを記録しており、またその他のものを描くためのインスピレーションになります。しかしそれらは全て僕たちの経験を通して一緒にやってきます。」とノーラン氏は語った。

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“A pew for OMAR,” La Mama Galleria, New York City, 2012

When clients purchase the paintings, photographs or the digital book of the boys, 10 to 50 percent of the profit is shared between the boys. The buyers are also told how they spent the customers’ money in their personal lives. Nolan also shared client e-mails as part of the project. Nolan’s vision was “to break the fourth wall to allow the audience to enter and become part of the project. That was my objective.”

顧客が青年たちの絵画や写真、デジタルブックを購入すると、その利益の内の10から50パーセントが彼らの分け前となる。購入者には彼らがどのようにそのお金をプライベートな生活の中で使ったか伝えられる。ノーラン氏はまた、顧客とのE-メールのやり取りをプロジェクトの一部として公開した。ノーラン氏のビジョンは、「観衆が入って来てこのプロジェクトの一部になることを可能にするため第4の壁を壊すこと。それが僕の目的です。」

Nolan explained, “When the audience would buy something, they became participants in the project. The list of what they [the boys] bought was sent to the buyers and that changed the way they [buyers] would see their paintings. They would think, ‘Oh with this painting JOEL bought food and paid his rent.’ So it became more of a history of the subject, not just a painting.” In this way, Nolan said, “it was kind of like they were for sale.”

ノーラン氏は、「観衆が何かを購入するとき、彼らはこのプロジェクトの参加者となります。青年たちが買ったもののリストは購入者に送られ、それが購入者が彼らの絵画を見る上での見方を変えます。彼らはおそらく『おお!この絵画(から得た利益)でジョエルは食べ物を買って家賃を払ったのか。』と思うでしょう。なので、その絵画はただの絵画ではなく、むしろそのモデルの歴史の1つになるのです。」と説明した。こうした点で、「それは彼ら自身がある種の売り物であるということを意味しています。」とノーラン氏は語った。

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"JOEL: tux"

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