July 6 – 8, 2018
Nathan Phillips Square
Change is usually good and a change in the weather was certainly welcomed by the artists at the newly branded Toronto Outdoor Art Fair. Artists were happy the humidity was gone, and last night’s rain had cooled off things. Executive & Creative Director Anahita Azrahimi talked at length about the new changes and partnerships with galleries and organizations, the new programming designed to attract and engage visitors and of course the new branding, a new look for an event with a long history.
Executive & Creative Director Anahita Azrahimi
The artists I talked to seemed pleased with the changes and additions. Dan Driscoll, a wood carver, was having a lot of attention and sales with his carved realistic jackets. Artists with different or unique works seemed to get more attention. James Kennedy, with his metal series of bridges made of using acids and occasionally laser cuts, was spending time explaining his technique to visitors. Glass maker Claire Anderson, from Niagara, was trying the fair for the first time. Some of artists are veterans, having done the fair for ten or twenty years.
Montreal artists were telling me of the heat they endured last week. Chason Yeboah, creator of Knot Naked, was sharing her textile works with visitors. East end artists such as Joanna Strong and Rob Croxford were encouraged by the crowds and Strong had just sold a painting. In fact, there were plenty of sales going on so occasionally I missed talking to an artist who was engaged in a sale.
Shay Salehi had ceramic works and was happy with the new set up at the fair. Artist Emanuel Pavao was branching out from his tape creations that looked like paintings. He is now painting on router cut birch plywood with urban scenes and my favourite is a can of Labatts 50; a homage to his father.
It might be hard to put a new spin on something that has been around for 57 years, but organizers have done a good job of making some new changes but keeping what works going. From my short visit I would say the artists are happy too and so are those shopping for some new art.
Text and photo: Phil Anderson
*Exhibition information: July 6 – 8, 2018, Nathan Phillips Square, Fri & Sat: 10 am – 7 pm, Sun 10 am – 5 pm. Free admission