Pursuing a creative career path is never easy.
While many of the city’s artists struggle to pay their rent (despite their level of talent), there are a handful of young Canadian artists who have managed to make a name and a lucrative career for themselves – both within Toronto and across the country.
Some of these fine artists took part in this year’s 10th anniversary of The Artist Project, a contemporary art fair that features the shoppable artwork from over 250 contemporary Canadian and international artists.
This included the fair’s 20 “Untapped Emerging Artists,” a selection of 20 notable emerging artists that you should be paying attention to right now. Here are just eight of them:
Inspired by nature, self-taught artist Heather Cook often creates whimsical-style animals with oils and acrylic, with many of her pieces finished with a resin topcoat. Cook first studied as a florist (a day job she still maintains) and has illustrated two children’s books.
Rob Raeside has worked with glass since 2008 and says his work is driven by inherent complexities of what appears to be simple, and the constant desire to refine his technique. He has received the Silent Night award from Sheridan College and worked for respected Canadian glass artists like Andy Juntz, Paula Vendermey and Sally McCubbin.
Quebec City’s Anne-Marie Groulx’s work in textile features simple and classic cuts combined with colors and exploded patterns. She uses playful, humourous weavings throughout her work as a way to document and archive elements from current pop culture. This theme carries over to her small business, Le Serpentin, which offers playful decorative items and fashion accessories.
Olga Klosowski specializes in drawing and printmaking and has recently started exploring sculpture. A focus throughout her work has been on objects and places if abandonment, as she searches for new ways to commemorate history and alter conventional ways of recording the past. Klosowski studied Art and Art History at U of T Mississauga, has received 4 awards/grants and is currently a resident artist at Centre  Print Studio in Hamilton.
OCAD grad Keight MacLean’s work with oils and acrylic combines elements of Baroque and Renaissance painting with modern techniques and themes. Her thought-provoking work addressed issues of societal beauty ideals, substance abuse and sexuality, using the images of the past as a point of comparison and questioning how far we’ve progressed in the past century.
OCAD grad Sam Pedicelli works in a variety of craft-based media, including work with soft sculpture and beadwork textiles. Her art employs the aesthetic of the diorama through small-scale installation, with figures that re-imagine the daily monotonous grind of life in metropolitan city as bizarre creatures, illustrating familiar scenes that view contemporary culture through comical lens. Pedicelli has been an Artist-in-Residence at Harbourfront Centre since 2015.
Montreal-based artist Sabina Rak’s work in digital print and drawing is inspired by the science of nature: physics and chemistry, the biology of natural systems and the systems of human creation such as computer science. She applies the scientific approach of reason, proof and constant questioning to her work because they want to mimic in art what they believe is the system through which they exist.
Photographer Anna Snyder is a York University and OCAD grad that studied at York University and OCAD. Her feminist-based art practice explores narratives that focus on notation of representation in relation to sexuality, gender, and the environment. Snyder was selected as one of Canada’s winners for Flash Forward 2016.
Check out all the Untapped Artists here.
For more about the annual The Artist Project, visit www.theartistproject.com
Photo courtesy of The Artist Project.