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Imagery speaks to culture and resilience, the art of Jay Soule – Anishinabek News



Toronto-based artist Jay Soule, recently opened a new location as a gallery, studio and tattoo parlour. – Photo courtesy of Jay Soule

By Brian Wright-McLeod

TORONTO— The Idle No More movement was a high-water mark for contemporary Indigenous activism across Canada. It was also the catalyst for grassroots entrepreneur Jay Soule who was inspired to act in a creative way.

“When Idle No More kicked off, I felt I needed a change from what I was doing,” he said. “I did some research and watched what was going on.”

Simple and direct, his imagery resonates with many consumers of his t-shirts and paintings. But it was a long road to arrive at his current status as a sole proprietor of business and a creator of unique designs.

Originally from the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation, he was adopted and raised in a non-Indigenous family that he left at the age of 16. Admittedly, it was not an ideal situation and it led to a rugged life on the streets that fostered a level of awareness that unwittingly set a path to entrepreneurial opportunities.

“I learned tattooing in Florida and then in England in 2001,” he said. “I had some friends there, so I went to hang out with them.”

His struggles growing up existed outside of the Indigenous community.

Soule recently opened a retail store front, studio and tattoo parlour called Chippewar Nation on Toronto’s famed Queen Street West, an area renowned for its alternative arts and music scene. Prior to occupying his current location, Soule operated a store further up the street at Queen and Bathurst for 14 years.

“I got business development loans through my reserve and support from backers who believed in what I was doing,” he explained.

His experience in silk screening was derived from his experience in the tattoo industry.

“I ran a silk screening business for a long time, so I’ve been at this a while, learning the ropes of running a business and dealing with all the aspects that it involves,” he said.

The walls of Soule’s shop showcase paintings and silk-screened apparel adorned with his original designs.

There has to be a diverse effort to bring everything together far beyond a brick-and-mortar location.

“It’s the pow wow trail, online presence, travelling to art shows,” he said. “You have to be out there engaging the public. It’s not one thing. It has to be a push engaging all of them to be successful.”

Soule’s images have appeared in catalogues and exhibits for Toronto’s all Indigenous imagiNative film festival.

“I showed paintings with them for three years including the Movie Monster series, the Cult Classic series and the Tool Kit for Revolution,” he said.

Though his Indigenous imagery might be perceived as activist based, Soule’s perspective is not as obvious.

“I wouldn’t say that my work is political. I’m just stating the obvious,” he said. “I’m reacting to what I see around me and I’m learning about what’s going on in the community – things that need a spotlight and I’m simply contributing to that effort.”

His next steps involve filmmaking and larger pieces in murals. But his determination is unbowed, and serves as an example for upcoming entrepreneurs.

“My success has come from more than 15 years in the industry,” he said. “If someone wants to do this, it’s all about hard work being original in order to achieve your goals.”

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Artch: From abstract to accessible contemporary art | Fringe Arts – The Link



Multimedia exhibition welcomes emerging artists in Montreal

One out of three artists does not live off their art after graduating due to a lack of resources for art professionalization, according to Artch’s director Sarah Kitzy Gineau-Delyon.

Every year, Artch holds an outdoor contemporary art exhibition in Dorchester Square made for young emerging artists.

The core purpose of this organization is to support new creators with an entrepreneurship training and a platform to showcase their work. Artch’s mission is also to popularize this art form with free exhibits and cultural mediators to bridge contemporary art, which can be abstract, to the population as well as enhancing the local art market by raising awareness on its relevance.

This initiative emerged in 2018 between Art Souterrain, the Carrefour jeunesse-emploi Montréal Centre-Ville, and Jack Marketing. This inclusive project is developed in collaboration with Concordia, UQÀM, the RCAAQ and the RAAV.

“Each organization brings their own set of skills so if we support young artists, promote the art market to new investors and democratize contemporary art, we will make the Montreal artistic ecosystem durable,” said Gineau-Delyon.

Resources for emerging artists
For the third edition of Artch this fall, 19 selected creators received 50 hours of artistic entrepreneurship training. This helped them understand business models according to their careers goals, how to manage an exhibit, demystify the dynamics of the art markets, learn self-promotion, build a network, and so on.

“Being an artist is like being an entrepreneur. […] There is no defined path to live the art life but a thousand ways to be an artist,” said Gineau-Delyon. Art schools promote a conceptual approach, she explained, but there is a lack of education concerning art industries. Artch’s training guides emerging artists in understanding the direction in which they wish to pursue their career.

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“Being an artist is like being an entrepreneur. […] There is no defined path to live the art life but a thousand ways to be an artist.”

In addition to this training, creators receive a $1,000 grant and the opportunity to interact with other creators which may lead to collaborations and constructive feedback since they are physically present to see the installations.

The artists were selling their work through the events and during the festival. Their pieces are available for sale on the Artch’s website.

Unlike most art galleries, Artch does not take any commission when artists are selling an art piece to encourage emerging artists to stand on their own two feet. The call for artists for next year is launched and artistic criteria are originality, innovation, risk-taking, accessibility and coherence, explained Gineau-Delyon.

Photographer Isabelle Parson, featured in the festival, is interested in the materiality of things from a poetic, scientific and philosophical perspective. Parson enjoyed interacting with the public to get feedback and exchange on attendees’ interpretations of her work. She wonders what alternative views we can find out of everyday objects.

For instance, in January she collected microbes from a tablet to cultivate them on a thin plastic layer that she replaced on the device two weeks later with a massive amount of germs. “The matter resonates,” she said. “I am sensitive to what it can evoke.”

From a post-COVID view, it is fascinating to realize how one’s interpretation of this artwork can be shaped by the pandemic context. Before, contamination was out of sight, but over time our perception of everyday objects radically changed and therefore influenced the meaning of the photo.

Democratizing elitist art
A sizeable part of the population is unfamiliar with this conceptual medium. There is a struggle of education and accessibility to interact with this type of art, acknowledged the Artch’s director. She indicated that contemporary art can be seen as elitist so one of their goals is to democratize it. Indeed, not everyone can afford entrance to museums and galleries, and fewer have the time to intellectualize an abstract piece of art.

Raising awareness on art is relevant to connect it with the street, explained Sarah-Kitzy Gineau-Delyon. This initiative has agency to promote equity.

The cultural mediators are there to help attendees connect with contemporary art through free guided tours. Their role is not to teach a subjective interpretation as well as giving a background on the artworks as traditional art guides. They make it accessible by promoting the audience’s reflections. They suggest questions such as: “How do you feel? What is that piece evoking for you?”

Dorchester Square is a free open space therefore contemporary art suddenly becomes accessible and the park’s tumult becomes a feature of this happening. There are also workshops, held online this year, to make the population mindful of this misunderstood art form which is more emotional than intellectual in the end.

Flourishing local art
Raising awareness is also meaningful to acknowledge the importance of art in the community. Dorchester Square is a strategic location for Artch because the park is grounded in the everyday life of many skyscrapers’ workers who can afford art. Raising awareness about the art market is important to motivate potential clients to invest in local creativity instead of Ikea items for instance, explained Gineau-Delyon. In order to do so, Artch held online workshops about buying artworks and introducing contemporary art.

With all those means of reinforcing Montreal-based contemporary art, they witness the impact on artists’ careers who were promoted by the organization whether they are exposed in galleries, launching solo exhibitions, or selling pieces in prestigious collections. Artch is a springboard for emerging creators.

To illustrate that, Myriam Simard Parent is a sculpture artist who was selected last year by Artch and has made a living off her art and also started a MFA in sculpture at Concordia. She is selling her work on her Instagram account which seems to be a great platform for entrepreneurship.

Every year, Artch creates opportunities for new artists to dive right into Montreal’s art scene.

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West End Art Project adds colourful pieces to Windsor's west side – Windsor Star



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A skateboard sign post and reimagined picnic tables are some of the new functional public art pieces that have recently been added to Windsor’s west side.

The West End Art Project unveiled four locally-made pieces on Friday — three at the Queen’s Dock at the foot of Mill Street, and one more at the historic Dominion House (3140 Sandwich St.).

The Queen’s Dock property belongs to the Port Authority of Windsor.

New colourful signs designed by the Vanguard Youth Arts Collective have been posted to celebrate the area, with the names of picturesque west-end neighbourhoods painted upon skateboards.

Nearby, Jessica Cook’s work All My Relations features multiple picnic tables merged into one giant, interconnected table that Queen’s Dock visitors are welcome to sit upon.

Meanwhile, Kristina Bradt’s piece Home Away From Home — a specially-painted picnic table — has been placed outside the Dominion House.

The West End Art Project is an initiative by the organization Life After Fifty, funded by the Gordie Howe International Bridge community benefits plan.

More On This Topic

Skateboards painted by the Vanguard Youth Arts Collective, located at the Queen’s Dock as part of the West End Art Project. Photo by West End Art Project /Windsor Star
Jessica Cook’s public art piece All My Relations – part of the West End Art Project, located at the Queen’s Dock. Photo by West End Art Project /Windsor Star
Members of the Vanguard Youth Arts Collective with a sign they created for the Queen’s Dock park as part of the West End Art Project. Photo by West End Art Project /Windsor Star

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The Art of Skincare with La Prairie – Vanity Fair



La Prairie has always been a skincare brand that has art at its core, but a new partnership with Fondation Beyeler strengthens this keen cultural connection.

Think high-performance luxury skincare and immediately La Prairie, the revered Swiss brand, comes to mind. The two are synonymous. Delve a little deeper under the skin of the lauded house, however, and you uncover something its loyal following has always known—the world of contemporary art courses through La Prairie’s veins.

The unconvinced need only take one look at the evidence. The brand’s founder, Dr. Paul Niehans, took inspiration from Bauhaus, the art movement steeped in an “art in everything” ethos, hence this sensibility is clear in everything La Prairie does. The unmistakable rich cobalt blue glass skincare jars and bottles designed by French-American sculptor Niki de Saint Phalle; the collaborations with world-class art fairs such as Art Basel in Basel, Hong Kong and Miami, where the brand supports and commissions up-and-coming as well as established artists, raising their profile on a global scale while also previewing their latest exquisite technologically driven skincare.

This time, however, its latest launch is not a bottle of serum targeting fine lines or a depuffing eye cream. In fact, there are no products to speak of. Rather, La Prairie has joined forces with Fondation Beyeler, one of the most prestigious art institutions in Switzerland, on a two-year partnership to support the Piet Mondrian Conservation Project. This collaboration, explains Greg Prodromides, La Prairie’s Chief Marketing Officer, not only highlights the importance of conserving art for posterity, “it takes our cultural engagement to another level”.

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Three-fold thinking behind the collaboration, says Prodromides, made this union a no-brainer. “Fondation Beyeler is another Swiss House like us that shares the same values of perfection and the quest for very high quality. It is also in line with the vision that we have: to build luxury with a higher meaning. Also, it is Piet Mondrian, an artist who has deeply influenced the expression of the house of La Prairie.” Mondrian, famed for his abstract geometric paintings, is widely considered one of the greatest artists of the 20th Century; when you consider his influence across the world of design, culture and fashion, it’s an accolade that cannot be argued with. Fondation Beyeler, the museum founded by Ernst Beyeler—the art collector and dealer behind Art Basel—holds one of the most prestigious collections of Mondrians in Switzerland.

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Fondation Beyeler


A paean to modern and contemporary art, it carries more than 400 Post-Impressionist, classical modern and contemporary works. This is why the temporary exhibitions, held three to four times a year—think pioneering artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Henri Matisse, Jeff Koons, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Pablo Picasso—see art lovers flock in from far and wide.

In 2022, the highly anticipated subject of choice will be Mondrian, and the institution is tasked with conserving four of his minimalist artworks—Tableau No 1; Composition with Yellow and Blue; Composition with Double Line and Blue; and Lozenge Composition with Eight Lines and Red. It is a task Marcus Gross, the Head of Conservation at Fondation Beyeler, sees not simply as a vocation, but as a calling and responsibility. “Our mission is the long-term preservation of art, hence we do very deep research on the technique and materials used by the artist and the condition of the artwork.”

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Piet Mondrian, Composition with Yellow and Blue, 1932. Fondation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel.

Robert Bayer

A remarkable commitment to conserving inimitable artworks is something the conservators at Fondation Beyeler are famed for. It is an intensive, holistic approach, which involves studying, documenting, analysing and, essentially, going beyond the perfunctory in order to display the original intention of the artist. Just like the technologically advanced, groundbreaking skincare formulas that La Prairie has built its reputation on, science, explains Gross, “plays a very important role. By using various scientific techniques and equipment, we are able to decide exactly how to preserve artworks in the future”.

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It is impossible to detach the role of conservation from the future of art, hence, explains Ulrike Erbsloh, Managing Director at Foundation Beyeler, the significance of La Prairie’s patronage. “Through this partnership,” he says, “we are able to communicate to the wider public that art conservation is absolutely crucial to artworks being preserved for future generations.”

Prodromides echoes Erbsloh’s sentiments adding, “Art is part of who we are. Our attitude, our DNA, a prism through which we look at the world. So this project is our way of contributing back to our communities and doing our part to make the world a little more beautiful, not just for today but also for the generations to come.”

Discover more at La Prairie.

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