Toronto based Elly Smallwood is a contemporary artist who focuses on expressive portraits. In her portraits, Smallwood explores the distortion of the face through movement and expression by abstracting the form through messy brush strokes and sometimes even layering multiple images/sketches over the top.
Francis Pienaar is a visual artist based in Toronto. And that broad description is as specific as it will get. His illustration work is among the best we’ve seen in a while. But the photography and 3D work is worth mentioning too. Take a look at a selection of his illustrations here. The subtle use of lines and hard colors will surely claim your attention.
Toronto-based artist David Irvine has always had a fondness for old prints found at thrift shops. He used buy them to paint over and reuse as blank canvases, then one day started painting on the pictures themselves. Seven years on, he has upcycled hundreds of paintings, adding incongruous pop culture figures such as Darth Vader and Pac-Man to conventional scenes.
Irvine has been refining and pushing the boundaries of “redirected” art with a unique and original spin almost as long as his good friend, Marcel Duchamp. David’s quirky and very popular style is created by repurposing unwanted prints or original art from thrift stores or found at yard sales and painted upon using his own style of creativity. Seemingly random subject matter including pop cultural references, political comment, the camp and the absurd, often combining all these elements to create truly original art pieces.
Gosia is a professional sculptor living and working in Toronto. Born in Poland in 1982, she moved to Canada in 1994. With a background in Illustration from Sheridan College, Gosia has been a professional artist for six years. Her career of creating and selling artwork through galleries and contemporary art fairs has led her to her passion for sculpting.
Toronto based Jen Mann is a talented artist who creates eyecatching and fabulously colored portraits of both men and women. Her photorealistic paintings are often paired with surrealistic aspects and explore subjects such as perceived beauty, identity and freedom.
Mann’s colorful portraiture speaks without words and encompasses a full range of human relationships, narratives, and emotions. They’ve silently spoken about topics ranging from social conceptions to self-reflection.
Toronto-based illustrator Brandon Celi’s subjects are as varied as his work is brilliant. He works in paint to bring to life hilarious scenarios including a reimagining of the Wizard of Oz scene where the wicked witch is crushed by a house, but this time targeting surely the most evil of all footwear: Crocs.
Whatever the medium, these themes are identifiable on first glance of Brandon’s work, whether it be a card machine being held by the hand of god, or miscellaneous toothpaste. Each of these works question how we react to these consumable goods but are also easily recognizable, visually digestible pieces of fine art.
Toronto-based artist Yang Cao paints faceless figures to portray a spectrum of emotions and sensations. A graduate in fine art from the Ontario College of Art and Design, Cao typically creates fantastical paintings of nude bodies with cloud-like heads in dull colors.
Yang commenced his artistic education in fine art, oils, acrylic and sketching. From the beginning of his creative career, Yang has expressed an intense and insightful fascination with the expansive array of human emotions and sensations, which he perceives as connecting all persons notwithstanding their differences. The artistic exploration of these residues of emotion permit Yang to draw his audience into his creative expression.
Team Macho is a collaborative illustration and fine art effort composed of Lauchie Reid, Chris Buchan, Nicholas Aoki, and Stephen Appleby-Barr. They create wildly playful and humorously crude works that range from rough illustration to polished paintings. They currently occupy a large studio in Toronto, Canada where their joint efforts are divided equally between illustrating for very fine clients and preparing gross quantities of highly imaginative artwork for galleries in Canada and abroad.
Designed to subvert any sense of singular authorship, their production is a collaborative form of process art by which an individual paints a portrait or scene informed by elements from his compatriots’ portfolios. The result is an endless reinterpretation of each other’s point of view. The visual components of each work, however thematic or peripheral, become a pleasant surprise to both viewer and creator. The unspoken element that is conversely integral to Team Macho’s process is their piecemeal approach to collaboration; every member has contributed to each work even if someone’s hand never touches the actual work.
Toronto-based Troy Brooks is a contemporary surrealist painter. His work presents an elaborate pageantry of female characters observed in allegorical settings. These women play out intimate scenes, usually caught in moments where something transformative has or is about to happen. The ‘women of Troy’ have become distinctive images on the contemporary pop surrealism scene.
“I paint women because, for me, they are ultimately the most visually lyrical subject and to be honest I relate to women much more than I do men. Always have. When I was a teenager I used to spend all day in the town library pouring over books about silent movie actresses. I loved the prostitutes in Van Dongen and Otto Dix paintings. I was obsessed with the 1930’s drunken Parisian lesbians in Brassaï photographs and the “bitch goddesses” from 40’s film noir etc. I amassed quite an extensive collection of old photographs. I made endless drawings of these women. One thing that used to drive me crazy was that I always made the faces too long. It was something I used to have to go back and fix in my drawings. When I began creating my own characters I decided to just accentuate it.” – Troy Brooks