Nadia Gurkova

NadiaGurkovaThe deep connection to the world around is integral to the work of an artist.

What and who has inspired your art work?

Painting “Manitoba prairies” belongs to my latest Landscape series “My peace” and was inspired by a childhood memories of a friend: “My place of peace is the prairie landscape. I spent many happy hours as a child wandering in the fields with my dogs. The solitude and spaciousness are, for me, a reprieve from city living”.

Landscape series “My peace”
Within each of us I believe there is a special place of peace and happiness. What would happen if we shared these places with each other? Could they fashion a shield to protect us from invasive stresses of today’s life?
“My Peace” invites you to explore paintings of these special places and share your own, so that I may expand this landscape series in hopes of inspiring others to find peace and happiness within themselves.

What’s integral to the work of an artist?

The deep connection to the world around is integral to the work of an artist. Society, individuals, cities and neighborhoods, landscapes etc. have to touch our hearts to then be expressed through art and resonate with that world.


What role does the artist have in society?

To reflect and inspire. The latter is probably more important in my current work. To inspire living a better life, to be that person you always wanted to be, but never got to it because of a zillion things that happened in your life. Then you read a book, hear a song, see a painting that touches your heart so deeply, brings all those dreams back and alive and you decide “That’s it. I can’t postpone it anymore. I have to do it”. I think art should inspire us.

What art do you most identify with?

Impressionism, its colours and lights make my heart sing. Expressionism, Romanticism, Canadian Group of Seven.

10479421_1600586110200509_7784978860211445884_nWhy art?

Because NOTHING gets me out of bed in the morning like art does. I understood words “to be passionate about something” only after I painted my first painting and I cannot stop since, like literally.

Nadia is a Toronto based artist with a variety of interests such as landscape painting, animal and flower painting. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and also check out her M14 booth at Trinity Bellwoods Park, September 12-13.

Kat Shura – Curious Oddities


I am just a romantic storyteller at heart and art is my way of sharing those stories with others.

What and who has inspired your art work?

The world we live in is so rich with inspiration, I feel that I draw from all parts of it. Urban decay, industrial elements and architectural details cross with cherry blossoms, the cool blue harbour and empty lots bursting with wildflowers: these inspire unusual combinations of colour, texture and design. Tales of early explorers, of pirates, and of worlds that never were stir my imagination. Pouring over books of historical costume and volumes of antique jewelry collections excites my creativity and introduces me to unexplored techniques and styles.

What’s integral to the work of an artist?

One of the biggest challenges for me as a professional artist is to find an equal balance of inspiration & dreaming time, designing & creative time, and production time. They are all vitally essential in order to remain engaged, creative and productive both personally and as a business. Throw in all of the other necessary elements of a successful business and a personal life and you’ve got a rather exciting juggling act.


What role does the artist have in society?

Those who devote their lives to art, design and craft help us as a society to stay connected with our stories, our imagination and our history. Artwork and handcraft can trigger nostalgia, bring comfort, excite and generally stir emotion and ideas. We connect with it in a unique way and it can affect us deeply- it is something we can keep for ourselves or share with others.

What art do you most identify with?

It is my hope that the mood and feel of the Pre-Raphaelites echo through my designs, my photography and through my words. I love to incorporate the lush femininity and rich colours of the Art Nouveau era and Arts & Crafts movement as well as the asymmetry and drama of Art Deco. For display in my home though, I am hopelessly drawn to etchings, hand-pulled prints & pressings and photography.

shura-kat-7804Why art?

As a child I was surrounded by artists and craftspeople in different disciplines. My father, who was a scrimshaw artist at the time, gave me free creative range in his studio to try anything and learn anything that my heart desired. My life has always been one of creative pursuits; my occupations have all, in essence, been apprenticeships in different artistic media. Perhaps I am just a romantic storyteller at heart and art is my way of sharing those stories with others.

With her vivid imagination, Kat sees a story in everything and seeks to unveil the magic in all she touches. Check her out at booth J24 at Trinity Bellwoods Park, September 12-13 as part of the Queen West Art Crawl. You can also follow Curious Oddities on Instagram and Twitter.

Andrea Seibt


“The beauty of marine life has always captured me, scientifically and as an artist.”

What and who has inspired your art work?

The beauty of marine life has always captured me, scientifically and as an artist. I became marine biologist, scuba diving instructor and painter. To capture the beautiful effects of the Big Blue, the facets of light and its reflection under water and painting the variety of marine life has become my passion. The results are vibrant ocean views, schools of fish in all shapes and sizes, portraits of sea creatures and whimsical imaginary worlds.

What’s integral to the work of an artist?

To be true and honest to your passion and believes. Not to let people educate you on what art has to be or not, but still to stay open minded and in a constructive dialog. Personally, I need to go scuba diving once in a while (or at least snorkeling), that can be in a lake or ocean. I emerge refreshed and inspired for new works. Of huge importance to me is to keep on experimenting, take risks, play with different techniques and mediums and to have FUN with it!

Andrea Fischschwarm 2 Dahab +crop

What role does the artist have in society?

Art tells stories, creates emotions and feelings, sparks imagination, starts conversations, sends messages, educates, creates friendships and reminds one of special moments in their lives…In my opinion those are all integral roles in our society.

What art do you most identify with?

The ones that make me stop and think. I don’t identify with a certain style, it depends on my mood and I get inspired by old masters as well as urban modern art, as long as it makes me imagine….!

andreaseibt1Why art?

My work is a very personal expression of my passion for the marine environment. The conservation of our threatened oceans and reaching awareness is my driving force and is reflected in my work.

Andrea Seibt aspires to raise awareness for the conservation and protection of the marine environment. These efforts are her driving force and are reflected in her work. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter, and visit her at booth D10 at Trinity Bellwoods Park, September 12-13, as part of the Queen West Art Crawl. 

David Thomas Tomlin

DavidTomlin“The visceral experience of creating art renews my spirit and I seek to convey that renewal and joy to others.”

What and who has inspired your artwork?

The beauty of nature with its interplay of colours, light, shapes and textures, has always been a source of inspiration for me as a painter. To capture something of this mystery in a painting and through this medium, to be able to express my own gratitude and appreciation for what I have experienced, has provided me with moments of great joy. When others view my work and communicate their experience of this encounter with me, I am gratified and affirmed as an artist, that another has appreciated what I have expressed. I was first inspired by the work of the Impressionists in their use of colours and exploration of the effects of light, which created almost dreamlike interpretations of reality moderated by human experience. Monet’s great water lily paintings are representative of this style, which became studies of water and how it reflects light and the world above it. I encountered the paintings of our own ‘Group of Seven’ and particularly admire the work of Lawren Harris, with his abstracted landscapes, infused with a spiritual dimension. ‘North Shore, Lake Superior’ comes to mind as a painting that represents the stark reality of a Canadian landscape bathed in an ethereal light. Most recently, I have discovered the work of our First Nations artists, particularly Norval Morrisseau, in his use of colour, line and shape to communicate the sacredness of nature. As I came to realize my interest in Canadian landscape painting, I now feel most influenced by these latter Canadian painters, as I develop my own artistic voice.


What’s integral to the work of an artist?

All artists’ work begins, I believe, with acknowledging and respecting the internal voice that urges him/her to create, after an experience of living that has engaged the artist’s heart and mind. Thus everyone is potentially an artist if we listen to and observe our experience of this encounter in order to express something of its truth, as the artist understands it.  By using the tools and media that an artist favours, he/she creates what is beautiful or disturbing in order to communicate this to others. This personal exploration of one’s creative inclinations combined with a growing knowledge and skill with the artistic medium, become intertwined with the personality of the artist, resulting in the creation of an artistic voice. My inspiration to create comes from a myriad of sources, mainly through travel, observing nature and people, and my own spiritual life. I have discovered that my artistic journey is about honouring these inspirations, listening to my own inner voice and allowing them to compel me to capture on canvas something of their meaning for me.


What role does the artist have in society?

The artist’s role is to convey the truth of the human condition as he/she sees it using the artistic medium with which he/she is most comfortable.   This ‘truth’ may be a profound expression of beauty, of sadness, of joy, of anger or some other emotion, which resonates with our human experience. For the artist, it is important to communicate this vision with others; for the viewer, the work of an artist often soothes, comforts, celebrates and/or challenges his/her views of the world, him/herself and others. The communication between the artist and the viewer, through the content of the artistic medium, can be a very effective means to develop and advance the human conversation about how we experience our lives. As an example, Picasso’s ‘Guernica’ comes to mind as a disturbing condemnation of human savagery. As a good friend of mine reminded me, ‘conversation’ is not simply the exchange of statements but often includes questions, unresolved issues, disagreements and incomplete thoughts that can produce some contradictory, confusing and challenging portrayals by an artist. The artist’s role, then, becomes prophetic when he/she is able to reach the hearts and minds of people and compel them to rethink the spiritual and moral boundaries of their life experience.

What art do you most identify with?

I mainly identify with paintings of landscapes and of portraits, old and new. Both painting styles challenge my perceptions of the world and people, the relationship between them, and the contributions each makes to better understanding the nature of the human experience.  My landscape paintings, both abstracted and realistic, become a conversation between myself and the creator of the scene I am observing. Portraits convey the subject’s mood and capture something of the beauty of what it means to be human. Van Gogh’s self-portraits with their expressive use of colour and brush strokes challenge the viewer to look into the mind of a genius. The interplay of light and dark in a portrait fascinates me as a metaphor for the dynamic of good and evil in human experience. Rembrandt’s portraits are particularly appealing to me in his use of this artistic style.


Why art?

From my earliest childhood, I have always found painting to be gratifying and the sensory experience of creating art compelling. The variety of colours, the texture and thickness of paint, and the interplay of colour, shape and form were the vocabulary of another language of expression I found intriguing. I did not understand then that my paintings were my attempt at communicating something of myself to the world, not bound by language barriers. I simply enjoyed the experience as I do today. However, as I began to study painting, I came to realize that visual art is indeed another language of communication; another means to share in something of the mystery of the human condition, our appreciation of life and our role in creation. I decided that I wanted to know more about this language of colour, shape, texture, and form that comes together in an interplay of light and shadow on a canvas. The visceral experience of creating art renews my spirit and I seek to convey that renewal and joy to others.

Through his paintings, David conveys his love of the world’s natural beauty while expressing his belief in the innate spirituality of creation. Follow him on Facebook and Instagram, and also check him out at booth D01 at Trinity Bellwoods Park, as part of the Queen West Art Crawl on September 12-13.

Alexander Barattin Illustration

AlexanderBarratinWhy art? Because it’s impossible not to!

What and who has inspired your art work?

Everything! I’m pretty versatile in terms of style and I like trying new things, so my list of inspirations is long and meander-y. I think that getting inspired is something like detective work, you’ve got to see where the leads take you. Right now I’m really interested in 60s children’s illustration and folk carving.


What’s integral to the work of an artist?

A sense of curiosity, a willingness to try and the ability to hold down a boring day job.

Joking aside, I think I make my best work when I’m feeling the most at ease with myself and trying to cultivate that sense of gentle inquisitiveness is integral to any kind of making I do.

What role does the artist have in society?

I think there are many different and equally important roles that artists play in society. Mostly I just want to make my little part of the world a bit more pretty and playful; I want to make people smile or, in the case of my fine(r) art, say “hey, that really speaks to me”.

bird stationary

What art do you most identify with?

I tend to favour art that looks spontaneous and expressive, plain ol’ drawing is what resonates with me the most, regardless of the medium or style.

Why art?

Because it’s impossible not to! I’m always looking for that “zone” in creating where time is very still and everything is immediate.

Alexander Barattin Illustration can be found at booth C4 on September 12-13 at Trinity Bellwoods Park, as part of the Queen West Art Crawl. Make sure to check out his website and follow him on Twitter. 

Jordan Dunlop

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“I find my greatest artworks are the pieces where an accident occurred, shifting perspectives to a whole new approach to work from.”

What and who has inspired your art work?
In order for me to fully invest in my art practice I need to escape the studio and travel, walk or simply use movement to process creative thoughts. “Never trust an Idea you had while sitting down”.  I think my method to arrive at my artwork also comes from my unique learning style, spiritually and philosophy of living simply and in the moment.

jd1What’s integral to the work of an artist?
What I find integral to the work of an artist is perseverance, patients and using failure as a source to learn from.  I find my greatest artworks are the pieces where an accident occurred, shifting perspectives to a whole new approach to work from.

What role does the artist have in society?
Artists are agitators, for some reason or another they have developed a way of working that is their own discipline independent of any other hierarchal structure governing them.  Simply artists create something new to learn from that represents a personal view of where we all fit into or do not.


What art do you most identify with?
This might be a difficult question for me to answer; Expressive/abstract art has been a recent source to explore simply because I come from a very traditional, formal arts training.  By breaking the image of representational imagery, it has truthfully connected me to my medium, painting and drawing.

Why art?
I have never fit into any formal education and art has provided freedom to explore my own learning style where I make the rules!  I keep coming back to art as a creative learning medium because how art can represent a 3-d dimensional way of learning with many different sides of meaning.

Jordan’s art practice is focused by observation and being physically engaged with urban environments. Follow his work on Facebook, and visit him on September 12-13, booth I07 at Trinity Bellwoods Park as part of the Queen West Art Crawl.

BlackIris Design

leather_statement_necklace“A world without art would be lifeless and boring.”

What and who has inspired your art work?

My work is inspired by many things and people, from my surroundings, my love for world culture, sub-culture, sci-fi movies, fairy tales, design, architecture and more. It is a tapestry of an array of visual influences. A theme in my work I continue to explore is the juxtaposition of natural element vs man-made materials.

What’s integral to the work of an artist?
To keep an opening mind, experiment and keep creating. Sometimes you need to try a different approach or technique to get the desired result, other times these experiments take you to places beyond your imagination.
What role does the artist have in society?
To spark conversations, evoke emotions and to inspire.

What art do you most identify with?
I am particularly drawn to sculptural art, ceramics and mixed media work. Anything with texture, interesting form or pieces that bear the imprint of the artist’s touch. Crafting jewellery is like creating mini sculptures to be worn on ones body. Some of my jewellery are one of a kind miniature models made first from wax then cast in sterling silver or brass. They are made to be admired as mini sculptures.

BlackIris Design features Unique creations by Iris Lee. These goodies are designed and handmade with LOVE by Iris in her studio in Toronto. Nothing is mass produced, each item is one of a kind or produced in limited quantity. Visit her J11 booth on September 12-13, at Trinity Bellwoods Park, and follow her Facebook and Twitter.

Lorne Wisebrod


“If you allow yourself to be receptive, art has the ability to influence your emotions positively, negatively or leave you feeling indifferent, but can leave an indelible impression on your mind.”

The urban landscape and its energized state, the sense of order and chaos simultaneously present. I find this endlessly fascinating to paint and decipher.
It’s important to be receptive to new ideas both as a artist and as a person. You can keep what seems useful and discard or set aside some things for future reference, but there are always things to learn.

The Artist role is in the creating of things, whether there’s any relevance is not for the artist to decide that’s decided with the passage of time. It’s interesting to look at the art that was being created at certain periods in history or under certain conditions. Art definitely can change the way we look at the world and ourselves, and influence both.
The art I most identify with says something about the world we live in. Visually expressive color wise, compositionally, there may be some social or political commentary or not, it retains some mystery and doesn’t reveal itself all at once.

Art is for me a way recording things that are important, and make permanent what can be rather fleeting and impermanent.
If you allow yourself to be receptive, art has the ability to influence your emotions positively, negatively or leave you feeling indifferent, but can leave an indelible impression on your mind.

Follow Lorne Wisebrod’s latest urban landscape, mixed media paintings on his website, and make sure to visit him at the Queen West Art Crawl, September 12-13. He will be at booth M45 at Trinity Bellwoods Park.

Alecia Korkowski

AleciaKorkowskiI have experienced so much beauty that I must try to, or rather, I am compelled to give some back to the world.

What and who has inspired your art work?

Music inspires my work. Music stirs emotions in the depths of my being that, when released feel like pure freedom. Music, without any specific mention of genre, instrumentation, lyric or tempo, can make you feel joy, sorrow, confusion, strangeness, sometimes all within one song. Other mediums can undoubtedly provoke the same reaction in others but for me, it is music that can so easily reach my core and fuels my desire to create.

What’s integral to the work of an artist?

The ability to feel and a desire to create. What you are communicating will follow from those two things and may not even be fully realized by the artist until after the fact.

What role does the artist have in society?

I believe the artist has only to create what they are passionate about (whether it’s pure expression, fantasy, social commentary or to challenge people) and share it with others. Since art is as much about the artist as the viewer, there is no specific job of the artist because one cannot control how their work is perceived or felt. They can only strive to create something genuine.


What art do you most identify with?

I find great complexity and diversity within humans, myself included. So I can relate to so many forms of art. Visually I like things that show movement and colour, abstract usually. Ali Kursun comes to mind. I also enjoy work that displays emotion, documentary photography for example. Musically, I enjoy most genres including experimental, indie rock, down-tempo, hip hop, funk, soul, jazz and pop. Kimbra is a standout. Whatever I feel speaks to my mood. And of course there are many other forms of art which could be discussed at length: film, literature, dance, poetry are only a few.

Why art?

There was a spiritual teacher known as Osho who said, “To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty…” I have experienced so much beauty that I must try to, or rather, I am compelled to give some back to the world.

Alecia Korkowski is an emerging artist in her first year at the Queen West Art Crawl. You can follow her on Instagram, and also visit her at booth L19, right in the heart of Trinity Bellwoods Park on September 12-13.

Denise Buisman Pilger


“The role of the artist in society is always changing and evolving.”

What and who has inspired your art work?

My art work is inspired by my frequent travels, living abroad drastically changes your view on the world. When you move to another country you take away everything that is familiar and little everyday details that are different really jump out at you. I’ve now been away from my home country long enough that I’m almost able to experience it in that way as well, which is going to make for an interesting project in the future.

I’m particularly interested in the urban landscape, my art is a way to explore and make sense of my environment. I’m a horrible person to travel with, because I’m always lagging behind taking pictures of seemingly everyday items. I love little urban icons like fire hydrants, I mean, have you ever really looked at them? They come in such a wide variety of shapes and colors, there must be somebody out there who designs these things and makes them look cool, I don’t know who it is but he’s my hero!

What’s integral to the work of an artist?

Integrity, perseverance, a little bit of business sense and a thick skin. The first one is obvious, your work should come from you, it should be honest and from the heart otherwise what’s the point? As an artist you have the freedom to do anything which makes integrity all the more important. Perseverance is essential not only in the creative process where you might have to push through the occasional artist block, but also because as an artist you are the only one who can keep you going. Being an artist is not just about making the work, you’re also running a business and that comes with all kinds of tasks that are less then fun. The art world is one of the most competitive environments out there and without integrity, perseverance, a little bit of business sense and a thick skin it is almost impossible to navigate.

1176257_586556364723736_1832202996_nWhat role does the artist have in society?

I think the artist has many different roles, our society is becoming more and more visual so the role of the artist is becoming bigger and more diverse. In our current society there much more space for art on different levels, it is not just in museums and galleries, with the internet art can literally be enjoyed everywhere. This means that many more people come into contact with it and they come up with new ways to integrate art into their lives. In general I think artists make the world richer and have the ability to make people look at their environment differently, but it can also entertain, educate, question, comment, I could go on.


What art do you most identify with?

I identify most with contemporary art, I mostly gravitate towards work with strong contrast, bold colors and heavy textures. I adore the work of Toronto artist Amy Shackleton and Montreal artist Bev Wight.

Why art?

I’ve always felt the urge to create stuff, as a child I was always drawing, or painting, or making something with my hands, so I think it was inevitable.

Currently based in Montréal, visual artist Denise Buisman Pilger is a frequent globetrotter, taking each relocation as an opportunity to explore the world, gathering inspiration for her urban mixed media paintings along the way. She will be at booth F12 on September 12-13 at Trinity Bellwoods Park, as part of the Queen West Art Crawl. You can follow her urban mixed media art on Facebook and Twitter.