QUEEN WEST ART CRAWL (QWAC)
September, 23-24, 2017 / 11 am – 6 pm
Trinity Bellwoods Park
This years QWAC was blessed with good weather, perhaps too good, where in other years it was cursed with rain, as artist photographer, Lorie Slater remised. The crowds were out in full force in the morning and as the heat increased they thinned out at least, as I was told on my visit on Sunday afternoon. The Park was full of people stretched out under a tree or in the sun enjoying the day. I found a dozen or so artist booths deserted, as artists took a break from the sun.
After 15 years the QWAC has remained a constant on Queen West. About 200 artists were set up in the park with a wide range of works including painting, photography, printmaking, jewelry and much more. There was also a Kid Zone set up. This year the QWAC celebrated diversity with an event called Art Around the World. Live music helped make the QWAC seem like a rock festival and the beer tent sponsored by SteamWhistle Brewery was a draw. One of the new sponsors TD had a visible presence. Each year the QWAC attracts about 60,000 people.
As I entered the QWAC I talked to artist Grace Kim who studied in New Hampsire, USA where she did her Masters. She had sold three works on Saturday and one at that time Sunday. She enjoyed having some engaging conversations with visitors interested in her work. Next I talked with Cindy Esteves who was participating in the QWAC for the first time. She was braving the heat. I liked her nature studies.
Montreal print maker, Todd Stewart had some great works of urban settings. It was his first time at the QWAC and he had sales and was pleased. Artist Bill Philipovich had been in the QWAC back in 2010 & 2011 and, although he hadn’t sold anything yet, he thought he had some interest in future sales. Photographer, Dean Bradley was a QWAC veteran, having participated for four years, and he was satisfied with his sales and interest in his work.
Photographer, Elizabeth Stanton told me about a project she was working on: exploring the relationship between former industrial cities of Liverpool and Hamilton, and how they are experiencing regeneration after decline. I had noticed her photograph of the Hamilton Skyway Bridge. Realist painter, Mary Ann Slater was enjoying her second year at the QWAC and said sales were good.
Painter, Ally Rom Colthoff had studied at NSCAD in Halifax and then gone to Sheridan where she studied animation. Her paintings were set in the Karawathas and she created great landscapes of that area. Two artists who formed a collective called PH1 had a process of making encaustic works with photo transfers. Their subject matter was iconic Toronto buildings and deserted urban sites. Their work was appealing and getting interest from visitors. Artist, Shannon Dickie had some large works where she tried to capture moments of lighting and the feeling of blur. This was her 5th or 6th time in the QWAC.
Artist, Mikael Sandblom was coping well with the heat when not explaining the technique behind his works which used photography and painting on metal. Painter, Beverly Rosenberg had participated in the QWAC for the first time and was excited. Her paintings were created from captured moments of energy.
Artist, Ramona Nordal used imagery to create futuristic art works. Abstract painter, Rachel Albano explained her technique to me in her artistic process. Her layering and use of texture are used to express emotions in her works.
I had managed to talk to many artists in a short period and see how important the Queen West Art Crawl was to them. It wasn’t always about sales, but it seemed more about the process of sharing their work with an interested public, that was to be even more important.
Text and photo: Phil Anderson