Toronto Adventure.

There are adventures to be had, all over the world. Why not one in Toronto?

Long time ago, in March 2011,  Patrick Jenkins suggested to Toronto Animated Image Society (TAIS)  to invite me to present my work. Everybody was excited but it took a while to figure out the logistics, to apply and receive the necessary funding for this event. In April 2012 TAIS bought me a Westjet ticket and on Friday, October 19th I boarded the airplane bound to Toronto.

Although I have been to Toronto before (lived on Isabella street from November 1993 to January 1994) it was so long ago that everything seemed new and fresh. Toronto reminded me vaguely of Berlin – in that arts and artists are claiming the public space.

Lets start with the hotel where I checked in on a sunny afternoon – Gladstone Hotel. Each room is designed by a Toronto artist, each room is an artwork. I had to sign a contract at the check-in that I won’t piss on, scratch and otherwise ruin the art.

My room #304 looked like a small cave with a large carpet attached to one wall. While falling asleep, waking up, checking my emails the carpet was waving it’s artsy arms at me. I am not a big fan of art, although I have strong opinions about it. But this carpet confounded me.

About 17 small naked women are supervised by a Big Bad Devil woman sitting on a cliff.

I took a closer look:


One more look:


How not to be puzzled by the hairy fairies?

On the way to check out 2 night later I saw the book where the art-room #304 was explained.  It was hard to memorize what it said so I took a picture of it:


Now I really loved the hairy pussy carpet!

The hotel had more art, dozens of paintings on each floor, but the one that intrigued me the most was a luggage bag with tiny holes and a lightbulb in it:


It may not look much in this picture but I thought I could incorporate this idea in some of my stop motion work – the little lights are poking through 3 dimensionally. Would make a great stop motion pan.

Once I moved outside the hotel I noticed many strange buildings in Toronto that extended the artsy experience of the hotel:


The most startling/amazing thing in Toronto was their Canadian lawns. In front of expensive, fully occupied houses there was a wildlife hard to find in front of fancy houses in United States:


Dry burdock actually can be quite decorative and it’s seeds feed the birds in the long cold winters of Canada.

Talking about the Toronto wildlife – it is mostly birds (who apparently survive on burdock seeds) and they crave love, although they also shit on it:


Sometimes Toronto birds get more ambitious and try to incorporate themselves into artwork:


The seagull had strategically positioned itself to make the sculpture complete. Take the seagull off the man’s head and it is not the same.

Sometimes the birds infiltrate artwork so well that they become one:


This last truly amazing sculpture was by Zhang Huan, a famous Chinese artist.

Besides wildlife there is plenty of romantic alleyways in Toronto, secret passages where people can dispose of their waste, steal a kiss or have sex:


Or have an animated film show.

Hiding in one of those alleyways is Cinecycle , a screening room/bar/bike repair shop/film print library where after full day of repairing bikes screenings take place:


One of the screenings at Cinecycle was my show.

I could tell you about the show but I have no idea how it went – was too busy talking and showing. You can check out Patrick’s version of that night’s events here.

After intense 2 days I was returned safely to New York by Westjet.

Now I can’t wait to go back to Toronto, to it’s strange art, wild lawns, out-of-mainstream movie spaces and perceptive, enthusiastic audiences.

About rocksinmypocketsthemovie

I was born in Latvia, educated in Moscow, live in New York. I have made about 14 animated shorts so far.
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5 Responses to Toronto Adventure.

  1. Cecile Somers says:

    Great report! Now I can’t wait to go to Toronto. Pussy Riot on the Carpet! Thank you for sharing this.

  2. cherriecow says:

    thanks for sharing . I ve always wanted to visit Toronto, never thought it would be that “arty” lol. Hope your show went just as well.Ill ck out Patrick

  3. Esn says:

    Speaking of wildlife, Toronto is the raccoon capital of the world. We have 150 raccoons per square kilometre! I’m surprised you never saw any (guess you never went out after dark?).

    Living here, I’ve sure seen a heck of a lot more wildlife than birds. Close to the lake the city is full of mostly pigeons and seagulls. Get a bit further away, and you don’t really see those birds much. it’s mostly Canada geese and ducks. Also plenty of hawks and owls. Also a fair number of Golden eagles, cormorants and cranes, but they hide in the ravines.

    Other common animals: black squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, foxes, skunks. I’ve seen an elk twice, an opossum once and a groundhog once. There are also coyotes reportedly, but I’ve never seen one myself.

    I’m sorry I missed seeing you at TAIS – I usually check their schedule, but I’ve been so busy this year that I forgot. My favourite artistic event in Toronto is actually the TCAF – an event for indendent comics artists where hundreds of people come from all over to sell their graphic novels and connect with audiences. It happens in the central public library. I’m amazed every time I go there by the stories that people draw, it’s truly inspiring and wonderful and keeps me energized for the next few weeks to work on my own projects.

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