The Art Perspective blog is a collection of thoughts, musings, and reflections on art, artists, and current happenings in the art world. 

Top 25 Canadian Artists to Watch in 2017

2016 was quite a year for many of these emerging Canadian artists. For some, it was simply solidifying their pedigree with shows in new markets, increased sales, and renewed interest. For others like Ally McIntyre it meant sold out shows in the UK, thanks to her international pursuits. Vancouver artist Johnny Taylor returned to Canada from Tokyo with a debut show in Edmonton called Tokyo Lights, and photographer Allan Bailey snagged nearly every top photography award in the country, while putting his energy and focus into his daughter's battle with cancer. Here are the top 25 Canadian artists you should be watching and collecting this year:

25) Brian Kokoska (Vancouver, BC) - last years ranking: -
24) Chris Millar (Calgary, AB) - last years ranking: -
23) Brian Jungen (Vancouver, BC) last years ranking: -
22) Casey McGlynn (Toronto, ON) last years ranking: 16
21) Michael Abraham (Vancouver, BC) last years ranking: 8
20) Brian Hunter (Winnipeg, MB) last years ranking: -
19) Scott Plear (Vancouver, BC) last years ranking: 7
18) Rad Hourani (Montreal, QC) last years ranking: 6
17) Bradley Harms (Calgary, AB) last years ranking: -
16) Andrew Maize (Lunenburg, NS) last years ranking: -
15) Curtis 'Talwst' Santiago (Sherwood Park, AB) last years ranking: -
14) Angela Teng (Victoria, BC) last years ranking: -
13) Karen Yurkovich (Vancouver, BC) last years ranking: -
12) Jamie Evrard (Vancouver, BC) last years ranking: -
11) Caroline Mousseau (Vancouver, BC) last years ranking: -
10) Ryan Quast (Vancouver, BC) last years ranking: -
9) Jeff Depner (Vancouver, BC) last years ranking: -
8) Alex Peck-Whyte (Vancouver, BC) last years ranking: -
7) Fiona Ackerman (Montreal, QC) last years ranking: -
6) Daniel Toumine (Edmonton, AB) last years ranking: 10
5) James Verbicky (Edmonton, AB) last years ranking: -
4) Zachari Logan (Saskatoon, SK) last years ranking: -
3) Allan Bailey (St. Albert, AB) last years ranking: 3
2) Johnny Taylor (Vancouver, BC) last years ranking: 1
1) Ally McIntyre (Edmonton, AB) last years ranking: 5

Lots of new names on this years list, including many from the national RBC painting competition, as well as artists who have had extensive relationships with institutions like James Verbicky in Southern Calfiornia, or Curtis Santiago with the AGO in Toronto. For more information on these artists or to find out who represents their work in Canada, please contact us.

Is there someone that you think we missed? Make sure to share your thoughts in the comments below!

ART. political. rebellious. necessary.

Art and politics have always had a strong relationship. Art reflects back to the electorate their choice in leader, or rebels against authoritarian or corrupt regimes. Art has always been an effective tool for social change, and as we begin 2017, now 7 days away from inauguration day in the United States, it seems that art is needed now, perhaps more than ever before in our recent history.

Art can be a powerful tool in ones freedom of expression, it can open dialogues and discussions about what is happening in the world around us, and art also serves to document and record cultural shifts and attitudes of the time. It is through those various lenses that we as consumers of art, collectors of art and patrons of art must emphatically continue to support it's creation.

After spending a year as a partner in a local gallery, it was clear the need for people to want to view art, to be exposed to various types of art and artists, but the decision to actually support art, by making a purchase often escaped people. I would hear comments like "just looking", or "we are looking for something to match our new living room, or go above our couch". Those words almost certainly resulted in my palm smacking my forehead. You don't need art that matches your furniture, that isn't art, that is decor. Some mass produced image on a canvas from IKEA or Bed Bath & Beyond. That isn't art. And the purpose of art isn't to decorate. It is to challenge you. To make you think. To make you feel. To engage you, to draw you in. Art is something to be experienced and to enrich your life and challenge how you view the world, not something that coordinates with your sofa!

Despite art being the most consistent, return on investment, year after year, averaging approximately 10.9% in returns, it still seems to be a challenge for people. Well for 2017, this is our challenge to you. Go out and buy REAL art. If you don't know where to start, contact us. If you think you can't afford it, contact us. Just make a commitment to buy something REAL. From an actual artist, whose life, and whose story you can be a part of. 

Be a rebel. Buy art.

Why Canada Needs A Second Major Art Fair

Map of Canada, with Provinces and Capital Cities

Over the last several months promoting ARTperspective 2017 we have been asked the same series of questions over and over again, first, "Why Edmonton?" and secondly "Why Edmonton?". You may think that the answer to the first question would sufficiently answer the second, but that is seemingly not the case.

Canada is nearly 10 million square kilometres in size, it is one of the largest countries in the world based on geography alone. In fact the other countries that are similar in size have nearly ten times the increased population density of Canada, countries like Russia, China and the United States. So the one thing we have going for us in Canada is space, we have lots of it. Which then begs the question in a country as large as Canada, how do we support art and artists? Visual art has a long rich history in many of the other countries we have mentioned, and it does in Canada as well, except that our history is not nearly as long, in fact 2017 we will be celebrating only our 150th anniversary as a nation. 

Art is one of those rare pieces of culture that is increasingly appreciated over time, and adds value to the country and culture in immeasurable ways. Internationally art is viewed as an industry, as an asset class. When you work in the art world internationally it is a distinguished role in an industry that generates billions towards the global economy. The United States alone, averages approximately $650 million a year, while China is estimated to contribute $560 million annually and Europe is estimated at another $625 million per year.

In Canada we continue to view art as philanthropy. A charitable, if not noble cause, worthy of supporting, but not yet established enough to stand firm as an industry on it's own. The answer is to make art matter. To make it a priority and to attract collectors, dealers, and artists to Canada to view it as a viable and largely untapped market for emerging talent. Increasingly galleries and dealers from other countries are looking at Canadian artists and are representing their work. It is now incumbent upon us to build our art market and give collectors and dealers more reasons to look at Canadian art. 

Having just spent 3 days at Art Toronto, we can tell you it was an exceptional experience. A fantastic event that does much to raise the profile of art in this country. But Toronto cannot shoulder this entire responsibility on their own. Nearly 3000 kms away the art landscape looks very different. From Vancouver, to the prairies, we need a forum for those artists and those stories to be told as well. So when we are asked - "Why Edmonton?" it is a simple answer. Edmonton is in the centre of western Canada. It is easily accessible whether you live in Vancouver or Regina or anywhere in the north, mid or west coast United States. Edmonton also is known for being an entrepreneurial city, a city that embraces change, a city that sees an opportunity to make something or support something and rallies behind to make it a reality. Why Edmonton? Because when we asked the city, economic development, arts councils and tourism all said yes to supporting a major art fair. And finally why Edmonton? We have incredible people here in the west, people who are art collectors, and are quiet with their money and their collections but believe in supporting the arts.

New York City has 38 art fairs in any given year. 38. In Canada, we think we can support 2.

Art fairs bring together artists, dealers, collectors, and patrons from all over to share exciting new works, to have an open dialogue about art, and to share ideas and thoughts, and oh yeah, and to buy art!!

We couldn't be more excited about the partners, and programming concepts and the editorial works and all of the incredible ideas that are going to make ARTperspective 2017 such a unique event. So for those galleries who have already applied, thank you for your confidence, thank you for being brave and thank you for being first, we know it isn't always easy, and we won't forget your early support! And for those of you out there who haven't applied yet, or who are waiting until closer to the deadline, please don't hesitate to reach out to us. We are customizing ways to make the fair work for everyone and we welcome your thoughts and ideas!

Thank you for supporting visual art, not just in Canada, but in the world.

Top 5 Most Anticipated Shows for Fall/Winter 2016

As we look ahead to the fall/winter show season, there are a few shows that are attracting attention, but all for very different reasons. From the Winnipeg Art Gallery's indigenous artist exploration of skiing, skateboarding and surfing to John 'CRASH' Matos new show at the Joanne Artman Gallery in New York, all of our most anticipated shows this fall feature highly collectable artists and create interesting dialogues worth experiencing.

1) 'Breaking Ground: Redefining the Urban Experience' by John 'CRASH' Matos
(Opening September 8th, until October 31st at the Joanne Artman Gallery - 511A, West 22nd Street New York City) 

John 'CRASH' Matos is easily regarded as one of the early pioneers of graffiti art. Influenced by the pop-art movement, his murals and works would combine elements of traditional fine art with underground urban-art creating a commentary about the very nature of art itself. Having worked alongside legends like Keith Haring, Matos more than holds his own and has continued to push graffiti art and urban art to the forefront. His current body of work 'Breaking Ground: Redefining the Urban Experience' strives to again do just that, by inviting the viewer to shift their view and see things from the perspective of the artist.

2) 'Picasso-Giacometti' at the Musee Picasso, Paris
(Opening October 4th, until February 5th, 2017)

It is hard not to be excited when you have a show that features the interaction, and iconographic relationship between two of the 20th centuries powerhouse artists, Pablo Picasso and Alberto Giacometti. This exhibition presented in the new Giacometti space within the museum will focus on the multidisciplinary works of both artists including their paintings, sculpture and graphic art. 

3) 'Boarder X' featuring works by Jordan Bennett, Steven Davies, Mark Igloliorte, Meghann O'Brien, and Les Ramsay
(Opening November 19th, until April 23rd, 2017 at the Winnipeg Art Gallery)

Boarder X features Indigenous artists that use snowboarding, skateboarding, and surfing to demonstrate knowledge, and relationships to the land. The artwork reflects cultural, political, environmental, and social perspectives related to the landscapes and territories we occupy. These boarding lifestyles share synergies with Indigeneity, connected by an appreciation for the land and water. The exhibit reveals how culture, art, and board intersect. In this context, board culture works to examine contested spaces, political boarders, hybrid identities, and traditional territories. (WAG) We don't have much more to add to the adept show description provided by the Winnipeg Art Gallery, than to say this type of show is important as it brings forward an important conversation while using accessible tools to engage the viewer.

4) 'Vancouver Special: Ambivalent Pleasures' curated by Daina Augaitis and Jesse McKee
(Opening December 3rd, until April 17th, 2017 at the Vancouver Art Gallery)

This triennial exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery seeks to explore contemporary art within the Vancouver art scene. With works from over 40 artists, this show explores the discourse and arts activity within Vancouver over the last 5 years. Viewers will be exposed to various mediums, techniques and methodologies all of which have been carefully selected by Augaitis and McKee to provide a glimpse into contemporary art in Vancouver.

5) 'As We Wander We Are Closer' by Ian Kimmerly
(Opening December 8th, until January 28th, 2017 at the Dolby Chadwick Gallery, Suite 205, 210 Post Street, San Francisco, CA)

It isn't often that you find an Economics degree on the CV of an artist. More rare still, when that economics degree is from the London School of Economics in London, England. Combine that with his degrees in fine arts, including an MFA and you have an artist who already has a unique perspective on things. Kimmerly lives and works in San Francisco, but has shown New York to Arizona and from Mexico to Slovakia. His new collection of work 'As We Wander We Are Closer' continues his use of colour and texture that give his works depth and dimension. He is an artist whose name you will want to remember.

Top 10 Tips for Attending Your First Art Fair

Yume Lion , 2009 by Takashi Murakami courtesy of Gagosian Gallery, NYC

Yume Lion, 2009 by Takashi Murakami courtesy of Gagosian Gallery, NYC

As we head into the last part of the year, there are still several major fairs including the already in-progress Seattle Art Fair, in September we have ABC Art Berlin Contemporary, in October we have Frieze, November brings the Paris Photo show, and of course December brings the best party of the year with Art Basel Miami Beach and the assorted fairs and events that coincide with that show.

If you have never attended a show before, it is understandable how you might find the idea a bit daunting at first, from not understanding much about art, to not knowing what to wear, or what to do. So we put together our top ten tips for attending your first art fair.

1) Dress for the Event - you are going to be looking at nice artwork, so you want to dress appropriately. That doesn't necessarily mean a suit, but you should consider pulling yourself together, chinos, a button-up collared shirt, a blazer, or cardigan, dress shoes. For ladies a simple dress always works, or a great pair of cigarette pants with a blazer. Heels may be an ambitious choice given the amount of walking you are going to do, so instead plan to finish your outfit with a great pair of flats. 

2) Do Your Homework - every fair has plenty of details about the unique galleries, offerings and types of programming that will be at their event. Have a look at the speaker series or the participating gallery list in advance, have a look at the type of artists they represent. If you are serious about potentially acquiring a piece, doing your homework in advance can save you both time and money. Galleries who are attending are there to sell, so chances are if you know what you're looking for, you may be able to get a good deal.

3) Be Respectful - we get know not everyone is going to have time to do their homework or be well versed in the current trends in the art world, but just because you don't understand them, does not mean you should mock them. Making rude or inappropriate comments about the artwork is frowned upon. Not only is it disrespectful to the artist, but it is unfair. You are entitled to your opinions, just keep them to yourself unless asked.

4) Look, but do NOT Touch - art is meant to be looked at, not fondled. Do not touch the artwork. Period.

5) Be Prepared to Walk - art fairs tend to cover a lot of space, and have various sections for certain types of work, installations or speaker series, etc. Be sure you are ready to walk. 

6) Booth Space - entering a booth is like entering a gallery. Expect the dealer or gallery representative to greet you and engage with you. Remember they are there to sell art, so it is okay to look, but don't linger and waste their time if you are there to just explore. This is particularly important because booth space is at a premium, so if you are in the space, you are essentially saying to the dealer that you are serious or potentially serious about buying.

7) The Dealer is NOT the Artist - there will undoubtedly be some artists present at the fair, but the majority of people you interact with at the Booths will be dealers representing the artists work from various galleries. No they are not the artist, don't ask them if they are the artist, but DO ask them about the artists they are representing. 

8) Be Prepared to Buy - art fairs occur over a short span of time, and for many is an opportunity to see and purchase works of art that they might not have otherwise had access to. For this reason you need to prepared to buy something when you see it and you like it. If you decide to wait, there is a good chance it won't be there by the time you come back.

9) Make the Most of the Experience - for most host cities the fair is a major event, which means there is usually a lot happening in the city in relation to the fair. Do your homework on what else is going on in the city, or what other auxiliary events are supporting the fair. Often restaurants or bars may have specials or events, hotel venues may have installation works or there may be additional programming as part of the fair, like various speaker series or workshops that you may want to take part in. 

10) Have fun - ultimately an art fair is a fun experience and it should be the goal of all attendees to enjoy themselves. You do not have to be the most knowledgable person about art, or pretend to know more than you do, just be honest and open to learning. A fair can be a great place to learn a lot about different artists, styles and works, so if you come prepared to learn and have fun, chances are you will!