Tag Archives: Toronto artists



On Saturday Dec. 6th,  Toronto artist ERIK CHONG launches his one-man show, SHIFTING BORDERS: SEEN AND UNSEEN, at URBAN GALLERY (400 Queen St East) with a special reception, greeting friends, family, art fans and local art media. His abstract paintings have hidden images, somewhat resembling architectural blueprints which experiment with geometric and chromatic patterns. The artist’s intention is to force the viewer to question perspective as well as the creative process itself.

20141206_150037(0)The ancient practice of Chinese calligraphy continues to inspire me to push the boundaries into new forms. I use a repetitive brushstroke technique that sometimes carries my paintings to the verge of abstraction. Unlike many of my contemporaries, my appropriation of calligraphy does not simply romanticize the past – rather my creative process explores past, present and future by addressing subject matter both old and new. The purpose of my work is to offer a unique take on the evolution of cultural histories, narratives and identities -and to question these ideas both in a private, personal way and on a public scale.     -Erik Chong, November 2014

20141206_141636 20141206_142225 20141206_142312 20141206_142334 20141206_142352Artist and poet, Brenda Clews, dropped in to wish Erik well (pictured below)

20141206_142250Gallery curator Allen Shugar and gallery coordinator Kaspara Albertsen worked hard on presenting Erik’s work and were very happy with the spectacular results (below)

20141206_142453Gallery manager Calvin Hambrook (below left) readies the camera for taking pics of Erik and his special guests

20141206_142538…and here are Erik’s family and close friends who were first thru the door to celebrate his show.



20141206_142514 20141206_14235220141206_142324If you would like to enjoy Erik’s work in person, please drop by the gallery (http://www.urbangallery.ca) or view his work on his own website http://www.erikchongfineart.com.  The show runs thru January 10th, 2015.

Gallery hours:
Monday-Saturday 11 AM to 5 PM
Thursdays 11 AM to 8 PM
Closed Sundays & Holidays
Viewings outside gallery hours by appointment
*For Private Receptions & Venue Inquiries please call 647.460-1278*



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The snow fell gently down on Toronto last Wednesday, carpeting the streets with a soft fluffy coating. Of course, NIK BEAT, the late humble, modest artist, musician, poet and media personality for whom we were all gathering would have thought it funny that the first major snowstorm of the year happened on the one night we all needed to travel to The Supermarket club in Kensington Mkt with musical equipment and instruments to pay tribute to him!!!

20141119_183320Although we got off to a late start – some artists and friends travelled great distances thru the storm to participate – the memorial concert AND THE BEAT GOES ON…. started off with an almost full house of friends, fellow artists, family and a very special opening guest – piper Rory Sinclair (below) who played a haunting lament for our fallen brother.

20141119_201905Rory was one of the last guests on Nik’s radio show, “Howl!” (CIUT-FM) in early September to promote the Beach Celtic Festival. Rory was followed by readings from Valentino Assenza and Tom Fischer (below)

20141119_202510 20141119_203115then poet/musician Michael Oesch, who was joined by his wife Saskia ….

20141119_203920…and musician Michael Marian and Valentino, as Michael O played his “Theramini” – Nik would have loved the weird spacey sound

20141119_205102and Pat Kelly (the hardest working man in Toronto showbiz, as you will soon see) played drums for the trio up front!

20141119_205115Performing some of Nik’s original poetry and songs, Michael Marian then took over front man duties and was joined by Michael Heyoka Ratt on bass and…Pat Kelly, again on drums


20141119_210243Jennifer Hosein read a couple of very emotional and evocative poems for Nik and left few dry eyes in the audience as we went to intermission.

20141119_210408Joani Paige traveled in all the way from London, ON, during the storm and we all cheered when she finally walked in the room. Here she is singing one of Nik’s favourite songs….bravo, Joani!

20141119_212602Then Pat Kelly returned to the stage for a rousing and inspiring set of Nik’s original tunes (with a little help from Michael HR and Michael O) that had the audience cheering, clapping and singing along

20141119_213652 20141119_213705 20141119_214629Pat even convinced Michael Marian and Laura Rock to join him for his final song (below)

20141119_220644Brenda Clews, artist, poet and performance artist, then took the audience on an emotional ride through several poems that offered insights into the poetic soul of Nik Beat

20141119_221532And to close the night out, Nik’s friend and musical colleague, Laura L. Rock…or as Nik used to call her Laura L’Rock … took the stage and with the help of guitarist friend Richard and Pat on drums backing her, Laura bared her heart and soul with two perfectly chosen songs.

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….and the crowd went wild!

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It’s hard to say goodbye to those who have done so much for us, and Nik supported Toronto’s indie music, poetry and arts scene for many years, offering radio interviews and promotions on his show when no other media would give the time to this city’s emerging or indie artists. Tonight we celebrated Nik Beat’s life and work in our own words and music, and as the host of the show, I would like to thank all those who schlepped thru the snow to perform on stage, sit in the audience or help me (thank you, Tom F. for working the door for me). The $5 cover was donated to Penelope Smith who adopted Nik’s beloved cat Hank (below) who was left behind when Nik passed suddenly 2 months ago. Cat food donations were also accepted so now dear old Hank can eat his way thru the winter, thanks to everyone’s generosity.

IphoneCDrelease 061First arrivals were performers Michael & Saskia Oesch (below)

20141119_183135..followed by Michael Heyoka Ratt  (below) who looked like Dr. Zhivago as he came thru the door, covered in snow!

20141119_183159And here’s Jennifer Hosein warming up with poet friend

20141119_193424And Tom Fischer enjoys a glass of wine with poetry fan Dwight


Big thank-you, too, to our venue The Supermarket (and sound guy, Al) as well as CIUT-FM for all the promos

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There’s a posthumous Nik Beat CD release party (Famous For Falling) happening Dec. 6th at the Amsterdam Bicycle Club.

Details on Facebook events page: http://on.fb.me/1F9sFEA

God speed, my dear friend. I’ll see you soon.


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20141002_182655This past Thursday evening, Canadian artist J. DAVID MURPHY (above) unveiled his latest paintings in his “Rainbow Country” exhibition running throughout the month of October at URBAN GALLERY, 400 Queen St. East, Toronto.  His stunning oil on canvas paintings evoke the vast expanses of Ontario’s north country, featuring many rock faces, rivers and forest scenes.

20141002_180953 20141002_181030 20141002_182408David Murphy was born in Barrie and after graduating high school, he studied law at the University of Toronto, and got his Masters Degree at the prestigious London School of Economics. He was Law Clerk to the Chief Justice of Ontario, an associate and partner in a leading international law firm in Toronto, a law professor in Hong Kong, and a high court judge in the Cayman Islands. He retired in 2000 and returned to Canada after 13 years based on the Maltese island of Gozo.  He started experimenting with oil painting while a law student, inspired by Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven. As a lawyer practising commercial litigation in Toronto, he led a “secret life” taking art classes, and showing his work in juried collective exhibitions. While a law professor in Hong Kong, he experimented with watercolour and Chinese brush painting. He also developed a research specialty in art law, and authored a book on the legal aspects of the trade in Chinese art, published by Oxford University Press.

20141002_182711(0) 20141002_182730 20141002_182418Since retiring, Murphy has exhibited his paintings regularly at the prestigious LaCloche Art Show, Tom Thomson Days Juried Exhibition, and the Northern Ontario Art Association Exhibition. In Malta his work has appeared in the Arts Club Exhibition, the Collective Gozitan Art Exhibition (under the auspices of the European Parliament), the Collective Exhibition of Gozitan and Foreign Artists, the Eden Foundation Collective Art Exhibition, and “Lejlet Lapsi – Notte Gozitana” Art Exhibition.  He has had two prior solo exhibitions in Canada – in northern Ontario (2005) and Muskoka (2007); and two in Malta – in Victoria (2004) for the Government of Malta, and in Vittoriosa (2009) for the municipal government. He will present solo exhibitions at Beaux-Arts Brampton and at Urban Gallery in Toronto in 2014. Most recently he was Guest Artist at Peter Street Fine Arts Gallery in Orillia in 2013.

20141002_183356We were thrilled when one of the works (above) sold within an hour of the opening…congrats, David, and I hear two more may also be sold!

For more info on David’s paintings & gallery hours visit:  www.urbangallery.ca


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MCCORMACK Pomegranates IIILast Thursday evening, URBAN GALLERY (http://www.urbangallery.ca) hosted a delicious sampling of local artisinal foods & beverages under the stunning art works that are this month’s special exhibition, The Art of Food.  Special guest was DAN GORDON of WHISKY & SPICE, the locally made mustards infused with beer, whisky and wine  (www.whiskyandspice.ca)

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ArtofFood55Reps from Black Creek Brewery, brewers of the Porter beer Dan uses were on hand to serve as well as share the bounty (below)….

20140918_172831 ArtofFood17…and his wine partner, Pelee Island Winery, supplied bottles of the Lighthouse Riesling used in the Riesling & Apple mustard and their Monarch red for the occasion, too.

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KROUPKO CherriesThe paintings of fruit, vegetables and other edibles made a spectacular backdrop for the foodies who also included the fabulous local chocolatier STELLA ZHAMKOCHIAN from CHOCOLACHOCOLA (www.chocolachocola.com)  who introduced a brand new line of chocolate “pearls” that included chocolate coated spicy almonds, Macha Green Tea dusted chocolate coated almonds, triple chocolate cupcake pearls and milk chocolate Bing cherries. So yummy and so beautiful to look at….

ArtofFood28 ArtofFood35 ArtofFood29UrbanSource Catering‘s own CHEF LYNDON (below) outdid himself with an extraordinary table of charcouterie, hors d’oeuvres and pates made specially for the occasion. This man is a food STAR!


ArtofFood02 ArtofFood05 ArtofFood08 ArtofFood38The evening was attended by several well-known food bloggers as well as the artists whose paintings hung above the food. http://wherejessate.com/  http://itsmusicfashionlife.com/

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Big thank you to everyone at Urban Gallery and Urban Source Catering – Calvin, Wayne, Allen, Jean-Marc and the fabulous Kaspara  (below) who took many of the (nicer) photos here….

20140918_192213…as well as Dan, Stella and all the guests who spent a fun 90 minutes noshing on some of the city’s most delicious treats. As the clean up commenced, we shared a nip of Bowmore Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky, the all important ingredient in Dan’s Whisky Honey Mustard!



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I had the pleasure of meeting young Toronto-based artist LORETTE C. LUZAJIC at this summer’s Toronto Outdoor Art Show and she so impressed me with her energy and bubbly, welcoming personality.  Lorette is no stereotypical angst-ridden artist who needs pain to create…this girl is FUN!  When she told me about her innovative (and super cool) workshops, I knew I had to share the news with you and encourage any Toronto art lovers to join in.  So here’s the scoop…..


Have you  always wanted to get your hands dirty in an artist’s studio but didn’t know where to begin?  Or maybe you love art and want to get more from galleries and openings? Perhaps you’d like to know more and develop confidence to talk about art with others – to ask questions and respond to artwork?  Well, here’s the perfect opportunity to develop your own artistic skills:  join artist LORETTE C. LUZAJIC in her workshop and discover the benefits of participation and creativity. Lorette has two fun workshops in September: Wine and Art and Art for People Who Can’t Draw.

DSC02209 Lorette at work OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith her Idea Factory series, you will engage your creative side in comfortable, informal and intimate group workshops. The special two-tiered class model is uniquely designed to remove pressures and expenses of longer-term course commitments, while providing more benefit than traditional workshops through the chance to review, reflect and return. Participants gather to learn and play, then reconvene a week later. Each workshop consists of two x three hour “play dates” one week apart.
studio with wine If you want to develop your creative side and learn more about art, you’ll be empowered to dive in, explore, experiment and expand. You will leave your inhibitions, limitations and intimidations at home and participate for the sheer joy of creativity.

Visit http://www.ideafountain.ca/workshops.html for more information.


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I was recently introduced to the wonderful folks at Urban Source Catering and their adjoining Urban Gallery, the awesome event space and art gallery located at 400 Queen St East in downtown Toronto. I’ve had the pleasure of attending a number of artist receptions and salons at Urban Gallery over the past couple of months and wanted to share their story and promote their business to my readers.  I asked Gallery Manager Calvin Hambrook and Event Coordinator Kaspara Albertsen to share the story of Urban Gallery and how artists can participate with shows and exhibitions.

20140403_184402What inspired the Urban  Source Catering team to expand into an event space/gallery?  We had always planned on having an event space and Calvin wanted an art gallery, too, so when the space at 400 Queen Street East became available, we jumped at the chance to have both combined in one…and right next door, too!

Do you have any specific criteria for artists considering a show at Urban Gallery?  We’re a new gallery so we are open to artists in various media, working in a wide variety of subjects.


Allen Shugar is your curator – how did Allen join the team and what is his function as far as choosing artists/curating the pieces that are hung in Urban Gallery?  Allen is Calvin’s life partner and a talented artist. He studied design at the Bauhaus School in Chicago and has a broad knowledge of the arts and art history. He also has a keen eye for the specialized task of curating art, group shows being more difficult and time-consuming than most but Allen always pleases the artists and the public with his curating. [Pictured below:Calvin (left) and Allen (right) flank recent exhibiting artist,  Shannon Moyer-Szemenyei ]


How do you help promote each show for the artists?  We advertise in Slate Art Guide (their magazine & online version) and on  www.torontoart.com plus we have our own website & social media. Since opening in November of 2012, Urban Gallery has built a contact list of over 1,200 visitors & art aficionados so each exhibition benefits from a promotional e-mail campaign.

Do you have any relationships with arts associations, groups, etc.?  We are currently part of the 2014 Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival and World Pride Toronto 2014, and we are considering participating with other arts groups and associations in the future as we grow our reputation as a gallery.

How has the opening of the gallery impacted the neighbourhood? Have you noticed it attracts new visitors to the Queen East historic district?  We have noticed an increased foot traffic since we opened, and we know that many of our visitors are pleasantly surprised by the vivacity and safety of the neighbourhood, and the many new businesses and shops opening along the historic Queen Street East strip.

Do you have plans to hold special catered events in the space?  Yes, we will be hosting events during our Group Show Pride of Place in June 2014, as well as various events during Pride and World Pride. We’re also working on our 2nd Group Show in September, the visually delicious “Art of Food” when we will be featuring tasty selections from our catering menu during the Show’s run.


Urban Source Catering celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2015 – any special celebrations planned in the gallery space?  Yes, we will ‘kick off’ the 30th Anniversary Celebrations with the aforementioned Group Show “Art of Food”, and will also host events each month leading up to the 30th Anniversary on March 8, 2015.

Who/how can artists contact you for possible exhibitions?  Calvin is the Gallery Manager and is the main contact for booking exhibitions, but they can also speak with Kaspara Albertsen to make their initial inquiry. Artists can contact us via email at urbangalleryart1@gmail.com or call 647-460-1278.

Any special shows coming up this year? Upcoming Exhibitions: July: artist Alex Taves • August: artist Linda Langerak • October: artist J. David Murphy • November: photographer Karen Silver • December: artist Erik Chong

  •  I SEE is a photography exhibit in May 2014 for Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival
  • Pride of Place is our gallery group show for PRIDE and WORLD PRIDE in June 2014
  • Art of Food is our second group show in 2014, featuring food-themed art and our Chef Lyndon Wiebe’s food artistry

We have a number of “Art Salons” (pictured below) planned and also have several exhibitions already scheduled for 2015, and are receiving inquiries daily for exhibition opportunities!

Nik Beat salon

And a final message from Gallery Manager, Calvin Hambrook:

I’ve been very happy with the interest and enthusiasm from the artists and gallery visitors, not only for the ‘No Commission’ concept, but also for the beauty of the space – its elegance and simplicity. I’m delighted by Kaspara’s pleasant and efficient handling of inquiries and events and, of course, Allen’s excellent curating talent. We are all very proud of Urban Gallery’s contribution to the local community’s well-being as well as the general Toronto arts community!

Calvin, Kaspara & Allen(L to R) Calvin, Kaspara & Allen – the heart, soul and artistic driving forces behind URBAN GALLERY







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Had a great time this evening visiting with gallery owner & artist MARK GLEBERZON (pictured) 20130919_192411who has just relocated his original Cabbagetown gallery to a cool new space at 1028 Queen St East in Riverdale.

img164 img165Mark’s gallery is chock-a-block full of interesting multi-media pieces by many of Toronto’s coolest, cutting-edge artists. Many of their works are now on my Christmas list (I’m hoping Santa has developed his artistic tastes and knows what will look good on my walls!)

Ran into several friends there and my artist client, Carolyn Megill and her husband, Rick, also joined me in congratulating Mark on his new venture. Below are some shots of the reception – sorry, I was not able to get all the artists names so if you see something you like, I suggest you go visit Mark in person. Linda DeLuca’s awesome version of the “Marlborough Man” is featured as are some of Mark’s own work – check out his cool Chrysler Building as well as his wonderfully weird “Kookaburra in a Shadow Box”. Apparently he also has a platypus so all you Aussie art fans…go check ’em out! He also has a strange 2-headed calf taxidermy holding court in the centre of the gallery – hello, Ripley’s!!

No website as yet but you can follow Mark on Facebook.













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