Case Goods Warehouse Has Hidden Treasures
I had always known that the Distillery District had some affordable artist studios provided by Artscape. So I decided to wander around the Distillery District area and explore the nooks and crannies. Then I came across the Case Goods Warehouse. However, I was disappointed that all the studio galleries were closed. I forgot it was Monday and it was a day of rest for the small business owners. Artists need rest too. I wandered the halls inside the building and found one dedicated artist, Tanya Kirouac, taking advantage of the quiet time in her cozy shared studio space. She kindly opened her doors even though she was obviously not open. Fortunately for me she was preparing some of her artwork for shipment. She exhibits in a number of galleries across Canada, U.S. and Switzerland.
I was captivated by Tanya’s art work on paper. I immediately asked her if they were prints and was pleasantly surprised to find out they were encaustic on paper and not prints at all. Encaustic is a ancient wax painting technique that is making a comeback among contemporary artists. However this painting technique on paper, is unique. I had to look closer and was amazed by the texture and the luminous quality to them.
Artscape is a multi-tenant space development for the arts and culture sector, Artscape has transformed a portfolio of underutilized buildings across Toronto into dynamic community assets. The Distillery District was one of the first projects. Artist, Tanya Kirouac mentioned that she was attracted to Artscape’s beautiful historical buildings in the Distillery District and it’s reasonable rent for artists. She has been working full time as an artist in the Case Goods Warehouse for approximately 2 and half years. Previously, this dedicated small business woman was a Graphic Designer and Teacher at Seneca College. Tanya confessed that she has an edge on some of the other struggling artists because she has the skills and experience to make her own print and web material for her advertising. Marketing tools are essential for artists to survive and make a living from their art.
The Artscape gallery studios in the Case Goods Warehouse has gradually began to see more visitors said Tanya Kirouac. It has been a bit of a challenge to spread the word. Tanya goes to few local outdoor art shows, such as the One of a Kind art show and sale, and promotes the studio gallery as well. I had to admit as an artist I had heard of this space, and had been to the Distillery District several times, but did not know where exactly the Artscape space was located. I will definitely be back one day when all of the galleries have their doors open. Apparently, the interesting and dynamic energy flows through the studio galleries on working days, just not so much on Monday or Tuesday. I am excited to come back and explore the other treasures that are among the historic Distillery District in Toronto. Having an art history degree I always admire the historical integrity of buildings and their ability to adapt to the present in such a graceful manner.
As I walked away promising another return someday when the whole place was open I thanked Tanya Kirouac for opening her closed doors to talk to me. I realized she had a lot of work. She went back to shipping her paintings out, and trying to keep her well-organized shared studio gallery in order. I felt an overwhelming amount of respect for the risk taking full time artists in Toronto take part in. I am impressed with their amount of dedication and self determination to leave their legacy behind and share their visions. I encourage you all to take some of your valuable time to breathe, look, feel and be moved by the art in the community. Thank You Toronto Artists!!