Taking a risk to play in the “big leagues” at one of Canada’s largest art fairs
Montreal QC, January 20th, 2016. Denise Buisman-Pilger, Jono Doiron and Louis-Bernard St-Jean – three young Montreal artists are taking a big leap of faith in hopes of taking the Toronto art market by storm. They are hedging their bets and pooling resources to take part in the prestigious 9th edition of the Artist Project, one of Canada's largest curated contemporary art fairs – featuring 250 top established and emerging artists looking to garner attention from high-end buyers, collectors and galleries. The ambitious trio first met in January 2014 at Creative Connections, a professional networking event for artists and business people, organized by YES Montréal (Youth Employment Services), a non-profit organization serving entrepreneurs, artists and job-seekers.
“In today’s competitive and challenging art market, it is necessary for artists to apply an entrepreneurial approach to establish and grow their practice. A great way to do this is to pool resources, expertise, and labor – and therefore be able to achieve more with less,” says Monika Majewski, their artists’ coach at YES. “Participating in a high-caliber event like the Artist Project is cost-prohibitive for most young artists, and yet has incredible potential to boost an artist’s career by exposing them to curators, gallerists, collectors and corporate stakeholders - the very people who shape and influence the art market at large. So joining forces to offset the high costs and to share promotional efforts is both strategic and forward-thinking”.
In the months leading up to the show, the trio is excitedly working on preparations, making use of each other’s skills and talents. “The amount of work and preparation required is tremendous, so is the emotional and financial pressure. It’s like joining the big leagues: now it’s up to us to deliver and demonstrate that we possess the vision, talent and skills required to make it and thrive in the art world,” says Louis-Bernard as he, along with Jono and Denise, prepares to face the challenge head-on.
The trio credit YES with helping them negotiate the early stages of their respective careers, guiding them through the first steps towards becoming legitimate professional artists. “Without YES we would not be where we are right now. YES has helped us navigate the more abstract, business side of being an artist. They filled the void of business principals and network building, the things that tend to be less intuitive to artists – the things we didn’t learn in art school," says Denise, as the trio embark on this exciting professional journey.
Although the three artists work in distinctly different styles and techniques, their work belongs in the realm of contemporary art. Each artist will showcase their latest works at their respective booths where they hope to wow the Toronto audiences with their audacious styles. Louis-Bernard St-Jean (Booth #132) uses a unique sculptural technique to create highly textured linear-based abstract oil paintings inspired by the splendors of nature and architecture. Jono Doiron (Booth #922) revisits childhood influences of cartoons, comics and animation, revealing truth into jokes and bridging elements of the mundane into fantasy. Denise Buisman Pilger (Booth #222) works with photo-based mixed media techniques, creating sprawling cityscapes and highlighting forgotten and ignored urban elements.
Welcoming more than 15,000 visitors annually, the Artist Project is the largest Canadian contemporary art fair of its kind and has become a staple of Toronto’s vibrant art scene. The 4-day event boasts over 250 exhibiting visual artists of all media (painting, photography, sculpture, installation, video and art performances), along with a flurry of other special events and show highlights including an Early Access Preview & VIP Opening Night Party, VIP Art Patrons program, the UNTAPPED Emerging Artists Competition, Art Walks, Art Chats Seminar Series and many others. For more information, visit www.theartistproject.com; for more information about YES Montreal, visit: yesmontreal.ca.
The Artist Project, Better Living Centre, Exhibition Place, Toronto, ON
February 18 to 21, 2016
Thursday, Feb. 18: 5–10pm (Early Access Preview & VIP Opening Night Party, 19+ event)
Friday, Feb. 19: 11am–8pm | Saturday, Feb. 20: 11am–8pm | Sunday, Feb. 21: 11am–6pm
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