In my past life, art was a prominent part of it. While it may feel as if ages have gone by, it was only in 2011 that I stepped my foot into a dream opportunity — Sotheby’s. As I walked into their Toronto office, the five years that I spent at University of Toronto specializing in Art History and Architecture seemed worth it. For a while it was. In fact so much that before ever getting there I was planning on going to Sotheby’s Institute of Art to complete a Masters Degree in Art Business. Little did I know that by the end of that year, my career would have very little to do with art.
While I rarely discuss that side of my life, art never stopped being a part of it. It simply became a part of my personal life, where it was no longer an ambition but simply a joy. Having this platform gives me an opportunity to share views on what matters in my life. Although auction days are behind me, celebrating the brilliant nature of entrepreneurial artists is not. I believe that art is the truest expression of our times. With that, I was incredibly excited when this opportunity presented itself, as I not only got to experience my past, but also intertwine it with my present.
Prior to the highly anticipated opening of LOT42 on October 21st, I had a first look at the global entertainment campus and the new art piece by an incredibly talented muralist, BirdO. Or as I come to know him, Jerry (Rugg).
Walking through the industrial spaces and toward the mural is a sensory experience, as the full magnitude and size of it unfolds before the eyes. With bold colours, industrial texture and peculiar elements such as an oculus for an eye, the cardinal bird dominates the space.
Working with the theme of technology for the first time it was important for Jerry to have it “ingrained within art history. With art you want to be a futurist, maybe embracing technology but technology is not usually a subject matter.” From a square in the right corner representing thinking outside the box to technological oculus, it is the power of colour that dictates the choices in subject matter. “Cardinal is one you see in nature here. I try to be region. I am also very conscious of my colour schemes and from that, decide which is a dominant colour and based on it pick a creature. If you take my specific art practice, I paint with aerosol spray paint. A medium and a material that is only 40 – 50 years old …we embrace technology but for me it was never before a focal point in my subject matter.”
First of its kind, the space is dedicated for the use of arts, technology, manufacturing, music, festival athletics and community events. With more than 150,000 square feet of event space, LOT42 is creating new types of meeting spaces and expanding what is possible regionally and globally. Big was not just size of the venue but of the piece itself. Given the scale of the space, it is no surprise that the focal piece is on grande and took 5 days to compete with 12 to 14 hour work days.
As Jerry said,“Sometimes I scratch my head and go wow how did I get to paint something like this. This is amazing. It’s been a goal of time to continue to grow. To be honest, I’m a competitive person. I played sports my entire life. So I will keep going until I can’t go any bigger or larger. But I believe that it’s a natural progression where I painted small hundreds. Then painted medium hundreds of times. Like I want to paint on the moon so that it can be seen from Earth.”
Perhaps the sky is too small of a limit and moon is a better representative. Both the venue and BirdO are set to celebrate their opening this Saturday, October 21st and if I learned anything from that day it is that it will be a celebration to trump any other! As it’s go big or go home here at LOT42.
Images by Wes Taylor