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Category: Blog

Symposium Phase 2 Starts Sat. Nov. 28th @3pm – GreenPort Store – 686 College ST.

Symposium: Art Anthology

Unicorns!

We are headed into the final leg of our collaborative exhibit.

The purpose of the Symposium event is for us to work around Covid-19 and use our social media platform and intimate physical space to curate an art anthology. The event includes Creative Unicorns of Toronto, alongside Toronto artists, and our guests.

The theme for the event is Radical Dreams of Equity Kindness. We're asking artists to envision a world after COVID-19. Art from the exhibit will be animated on merchandise like mugs, posters, t-shirts, and a quarterly art anthology.

Participating guests get their favorite art through Patreon where they can start as low as $10 per month. Patreon members get VIP access to the exhibit online and at GreenPort Cc on 686 Collge St. Guests also get access to the digital version of the anthology on CreativeUTO.ca. If these guests stay long enough, they’d eventually get the anthology.

Event overview below

Saturday, November 28th starting at 3 pm

The event will be live-streamed

Symposium Video Exhibit at GreenPort CC

  • Located on 686 College Street
  • COVID 19 Restriction rules are in place
     
  • Very limited space available about 5 artists at the time
  • The event starts at 3 pm till 9 pm
  • There will be live DJ music, food, and coffee all-day
  • The event will be live-streamed on social media platforms
  • we will be taking video of artists
  • We will be taking pictures of the artwork
  • All artwork will be printed on 11 by 17 posters
  • Posters will be displayed at GreenPort CC

Participate

Guests can vote online or in-person at Greenport CC

  • Facebook or IG like = 3 points
  • Facebook or IG, website comments = 5 points
  • In-person on GreenPort CC = 12 points
  • Influencer's vote = 20 points

(Phase 3) Saturday, December 12th starting at 3 pm

  • Product launch
  • Winners get their cheques
  • Winners get a bag full of SWAG from Greenport CC
  • Symposium Video Exhibit at GreenPort CC
     

 

Participate

#Podcast – Introducing Kristen Stephen Abstract Painter

Weekly Actualization Workshops

A lot of fun at this meeting with some exciting updates..  

A few new faces at this meeting, we would like to welcome; Anna Galkina, Blaine White, Caspar de Gelmini, Apanaki Minerve, Karlon Dezylva, and Jose Cifuentes. The symposium is getting bigger and better every day.  

Michael went over in greater detail the artist model canvas and how we are truly an art collective working to help artists become entrepreneurs.  He went over the specifics of how CUTO can help each member individually and as a group. 

We discussed the linguistics and timeline of the art anthology.  We aim to have the anthology ready at the beginning of December, right on time for the holidays.  The new application deadline is November 20, and the competition closes on December 4.  

We have increased the prize money for Symposium.  The cover artist now receives $1200.00 and the two feature artists receive $600.00 each.  Please tell everyone to get out there and vote for your artwork, through www.creativeuto.ca

We answered questions regarding the symposium event and how the voting process specifically works.  We discussed featuring artists on the website and social media, and how CUTO can help each artist with their brand.  

Artist shops are now up and running on the website, and artists will be able to update and maintain their own shops in the future.

Introducing Kristen Stephen Abstract Painter

Kristen Stephen did a podcast discussing her artwork and life as an artist which everyone can view on the website.  Our goal is to have every artist do their own podcast, with an artist spotlight, please reach out to Rachel and let her know you would like to do that.

Learn about Kristen’s one kind technique using inks and glitter to create illuminating images that are simply breathtaking.  In this candid interview, we discuss not only Kristen’s artistic practice but what being an artist means to her and how she has overcome the challenges of Covid-19 in our new reality.

Next Steps

9 Toronto Artists Trended in October 2020

COVID has changed the way we present art exhibits. Before we used to worry about bad weather, now we have to worry about lockdowns. With the restrictions, we have decided to work as a marketing company for Toronto artists, use our platforms to present an art exhibit in real-time, and take the time for you to get to know the artists we're working with.

 

 

Below are 9 Toronto artists who trended in October.

 

Kyla Yager

Click for more info

 

Def 111

Click for more info

 

Samantha

Click for more info 

Dany Donayre

Click for more info

 

Kristen Stephen

Click for more info 

Anna Cyan

Click for more info 

 

Karlon Dezylva

Click for more info 

 

Suyin Wai

Click for more info 

 

Blaine White

 

 

Buy their art on our Patreon.

Patreon memberships gets you VIP access to our exhibits, monthly art, food, merchandise, and our quarterly anthology. Profit share goes back to the artists and towards programs that help with homelessness, mental health, and isolation in the arts community

Join us on Patreon

Podcast – The Visually Striking Art of Jose Cifuentes

This episode of the CUTO podcast will serve as a time capsule. It was recorded in mid-April as the Pandemic started, before the situation escalated, before the protests and the riots. 

Insight - Where Do We Go From Here?

Everything was up in the air (no pun intended) back in April. We were getting acclimated to the lockdown and the podcast was new. Since April, the podcast has become a staple of CreativeUTO with multiple artists bringing their own flavour to the conversation. 

Insight - 5 Trending Artists of Toronto

Jose Cifuentes' art is visually striking. It's intense. I remember scrolling through Instagram and his art stopped me. Jose was forced to leave his whole life, including his business, behind when he immigrated from Medellin to Toronto. 

He tells us that he is using this time in quarantine to reflect and meditate and is currently working on a piece to honour his best friend, a nurse working the frontlines. We also trade music pics, talk about basic income for artists, and the concept of power. 

Enjoy 

Podcast - The Visually Striking Art of Jose Cifuentes

Check out Jose Cifuentes' work on his website

https://www.josecifuentes.com/

Follow him on Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/joscifuentes/

Podcast – George Floyd Where Do We Go From Here? Toronto Artists Discuss

Will the world ever get back to normal? 

What is normal anyway? 

We repeat the same mistakes over and over again. We tolerate a lot of wrongs, turn a blind eye to many things. We want to live comfort and peace so we sweep these things under the rug. 

I think in the past few months we have been tested at an unprecedented scale, one crisis crescendoing into another. We're all coping with the fallout from the pandemic in different ways; these protests and riots are a reflection of a world that’s fed up.   

In this special episode of CUTO podcast, we discuss racism and the aftermath of George Floyd, compounded by the insanity of COVID 19. We discuss how we got here and how it is impacting society.

Where do we go from here? 

In this discussion, we touch on the people responsible, the economy, racism, the pros and cons of socialism, dictatorships, we try to make sense of it all. 

As a black man, there is obviously emotional weight added to these discussions. I understand I have to change the system from within but a part of me wants to go out there and riot.

This conversation, alongside others, allowed me to put my thoughts together in the blog below. 

Insight - The Babylon System Part 1: George Floyd

The discussion, below, happened at the height of the George Floyd riot as we started our weekly creative meetup.  This creative meetup is a gathering of CUTO artists who come together to collaborate on installations and exhibits. It is exclusive to artists who have participated in CUTO projects this year. 

The purpose is to collaborate on art installations and exhibits. We’re working to launch the next event in August. 

Make sure to go to our YouTube channel for timestamps

Podcast - George Floyd Where Do We Go From Here? Toronto Artists Discuss

 

Follow the participating artists 

in order of appearance

Adele Steinberg

https://www.Instagram.com/adele_steinberg

Nicole Little

https://www.Instagram.com/lilneocreative

More content featuring Nicole

Michael Bole

https://www.Instagram.com/boleoleole

Maggie Chang

https://www.Instagram.com/seethewaymaggiecees

George Floyd by Toronto Artist Mo Salihou

The Babylon System Part 1: George Floyd

Upside Down Pyramid 1.5

There are many narratives woven into my previous blog Upside Down Pyramid (UDP). In today’s blog, I’d like to analyze the hero’s journey in UDP.

The protagonist’s story was about finding growth by letting go. How do we define letting go? We stop allowing ourselves to be controlled by chaotic distractions. Distractions often come in shiny packaging and everyone knows that shiny packages in the grocery store weigh us down.  When we ascend past our fears to a higher purpose, beyond a physical world that needs us to consume, beyond the seven deadly sins that lure us, corrupt us, and cloud our judgment, we transcend from the physical world into a metaphysical world. 

 

The Spiritual World.

The journey (blog) starts in our protagonist’s room. This is the dream state where the spiritual world meets the physical. Tempted by his dreams of Jessica Rabbit, he reaches past the dream state and taps into a collective, into human consciousness, the bigger picture.

In the spiritual world, we are beyond the seven deadly sins that govern us. We are beyond the flesh, beyond ourselves. Lust has governed this journey thus far, but he is not alone. We all have our own inner demons, our own dragons. For this protagonist, the dragon approached him in the form of Jessica Rabbit. 

 

The Seven Deadly Sins.  

The same things that have brought us to the edge of individual human consciousness no longer apply. Slaying our own dragons is the way we learn to let go and ascend. Beyond human consciousness, we ascend to universal consciousness. We are the universe articulating itself.  We have made god in our own image. In life, one can be a billionaire without ever ascending past the dream state; true poverty.

For centuries we have had many spiritually impoverished people making bad decisions, consistently keeping the masses poor, conditioning us to fight for scraps.

Insight – Upside Down Pyramid (part 1)

 

The Death of George Floyd 

The second part of UDP  is the physical representation of ascension: slave soldier warrior crown. 

In the physical world, the slave complains about the enslaved environment. The slave is often a victim of their own mind. The slave complains about society but doesn’t do anything about it. They find excuses, that’s true mental health. Once the slave can see beyond the mental limitation imposed on them, they start to see past the trees, they understand the forest, they transcend. 

In many cases, all it takes is a spark. 

 

The Soldier Fights. 

They have something to fight for but a soldier only goes so far. The warrior is willing to die for the things they believe in. They inspire a following and that following crowns them a leader, the authority.

The crown understands its power comes from service. Being of service to the community that entrusted them, but what if the crown fails us?

 

What if the system is broken? 

The system has been bought and paid for by those who can’t transcend past the dream state. The fear of loss won’t let them. They have been doing this for centuries. We now live in an irreversible pandora’s box.

George Floyd represents more than a black man dying. He is a representation of a broken system. Centuries of oppression choking the life out of us. The image triggered many people outside our own culture and is uniting both left and right against the system. A testament to those who died for our freedoms but we still have a long way to go.

I hope there are many warriors out there who will die for their cause. 

The Babylon System (part 1) 

A friend of mine once asked me, “What happened?”

That question dropped out of the blue.

He pointed at my hair, and said, ‘you used to always be clean-cut but now you’re dreadlocked.

I explained that it does not matter.

We can conform to this system and follow the rules they want us to live by, but in the end, it doesn't matter. Racists are still going to be racist and they will get away with murder. 

All of us are targets.

Our parents will have to sit us down and prepare us for a reality in which we could get shot for just existing.  This is one of the reasons why I call it the Babylon System, It's a prison not just in the physical world.

 

The Red Dragon

If our parents don’t do it, we’ll see it on social media.

Either way, we get trapped.

Mental slavery in the land of the free, designed to keep us poor, making us live with fear and anxiety from birth. Fear burns a lot of energy. That's a representation of the red dragon in the Upside Down Pyramid. The dragon is something that weighs us down.

It opens us up to bitterness and resentment and that energy burns us out faster. 

It’s a prison in its own right because on a physical plane it opens us up to becoming sick faster. We experience mental health problems limiting our potential.

It’s mental slavery. Disconnecting us from universal consciousness.

It doesn't matter how well-spoken we are, how much money we make, the education, accolades we have; in the end, our black skin will always be the precursor that dictates our stories. 

The media loves to pound that into culture for sensationalism’s sake, so they can get clicks. The poison gets ingrained into human consciousness and it’s built into the very fabric that governs us subconsciously, pitting the rules against us.

 

#ForTheCulture

Regardless of our accomplishments, there will always be resentful people, and by extension, racist people. There are ignorant people who don’t know any better, but then there are those who are just terrible people, they can’t let it go. 

It’s no longer a choice, it's a mental health problem for them, it’s their red dragon, it’s their poison but it doesn’t have to be mine. 

Growing my hair is about us, it’s about representing the culture and showing how beautiful we are without continuing the cycle of oppression. By being ambassadors to those who are curious and that’s how we’ll defeat the real enemy.

The Babylon System (Part1)

  • A very special thanks to Toronto artist Mo Salihou who's painting of George Floyd triggered this blog

Connect with artist Mo Salihou

www.mosesartgallery.com

Instagram  : Moses_salihou

Facebook: Mo Salihou

Creative Unicorns

  • Thank you, Jessica Singh and Susan J Wellisch who do an amazing job of editing my work

 

 

 

Podcast – The Artist Journey with Melanie Erin

The Artist Journey with Melanie Erin

Every interview has introduced a benchmark and this one is no different. Some context: CreativeUTO is about three years old and today we interview Melanie Erin, an artist who has been with us from the very beginning. 

When we started The Annex Art Party, Melanie was our first musician and I wanted an acoustic performance. She was accompanied by her mother and the combination of voice and Ukulele set the mood, a laid back rootsy vibe, that created a beautiful ambiance in the space.

We liked it so much, we used her music in one of our early ads.

 

Building Creative Unicorns has been a journey, a grind with lots of growing pains, amazing gains, and everlasting relationships. Melanie Erin is an artist who, while being part of our community, has gone on a journey of her own. 

The Artist’s Journey,

We are constantly evolving. Like caterpillars in a perpetual cycle of metamorphosis, we grow and change and in her case I can sense that growth

Many artists experience something akin to the hero’s journey. Melanie explains that she had to break out of her shell and answer a calling. She left the comfort of her home, left a job, and trekked south to Los Angeles where she got into busking, a culture she found enriching for her soul. But she also tells us how it affected her relationship with her mother, a pain I’m sure many artists can relate to.

Insight - We Evolve Beyond One Place

The best part about Melanie’s story is that she hasn’t stopped growing. She just picked up the guitar, a natural evolution from the Ukulele, and soon she'll find the strength in her voice and become a powerful singing unicorn.

In our conversation, we explore the roads she’s travelled, what she learned along the way, the pros and cons of socialism, overcoming bullying and her vision for the future.

 

Podcast - The Artist Journey with Melanin Erin

Live - Melanie Erin Performs for the Video Exhibit

Subscribe to her YouTube channel below

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLMtHTOYF9cEkyL-Hkv0kLw

5 Trending Artists of Toronto in May 2020

We are bringing back Trending Artists of Toronto.

 

 

 

Introducing Volume: Our In-House Currency

 

At CreativeUTO we want to build a vibrant community where artists can collaborate freely. One way to facilitate this is to create our own in-house currency, so that artists can gain compensation when they work on eachothers’ projects or participate in the community. Volume is awarded based on activity. It can be used to trade or barter for goods and services. 

Community members can use the Volume to cash out.

Think of CreativeUTO like a role-playing game, but instead you earn Volume for engaging and being a productive member of the tribe. We design where we want to award Volume and how much it returns. The value of this currency is determined by the amount of money there is to go around. Volume will help artists collaborate on each other’s projects without having to worry about getting paid.

The artist with the most Volume

Volume is still in the alpha phase of development and is being rolled out carefully. In the future we'll incorporate the currency in more public ways. Eventually the ecosystem will include our extended community (our followers) and art stores. For now Volume is awarded based on the artist with the most activity on their CreativeUTO podcast page over the previous 60 days.

 

Our first recipient is Char G.

 

Listen to her podast below and make sure to subscribe for daily art

 

 

 

Char G was the 3rd artist I interviewed since launching this project, as a matter of fact, she was the 3rd artist I interviewed that day. I realized by this 3rd interview that I wasn’t going to compile the interviews. That each artist was contributing enough to merit a whole week of shine, like a featured artist. In Char G’s interview we discussed Feminism, body and sexy positivity, street art, and her dog. If she was a Featured Artist in April then she is the Covered Artist now.

 

Shop her art on CreativeUTO

 

Follow her on Instagram 

Go to her website

 

Also trending this month is contemporary artist Nicole Little. 

 

Nicole is an amazing addition to our podcast. Her episode was over 2 hours, but that didn't stop it from being one of our most popular videos on YouTube in terms of views and retention. Since we published her podcast Nicole has joined CreativeUTO, has helped me host the 2nd Video Exhibit and we’ve continued to evolve the concept. 

Stay tuned to see what we have in store. 

For more art from Nicole Little go to our shop

https://www.creativeuto.ca/shop-self-portraits-of-contemporary-artist-nicole-little/

Become a fan on Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/NicoleLittleArt

Subscribe to her YouTube channel

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGnnQ4DxD16InhTWmgl9NIQ

Follow her on Instagram

www.instagram.com/littleneocreative/

Check out her website

www.littleneocreative.com

 

The 1st podcast interview we published featured Kamil Swiatek. 

 

We discussed spirituality and art, a conversation that has reverberated through the other interviews with artists building on it.  In Kamil’s interview he answers questions about his incubator. We discussed bullying and how he escaped it through spirituality, as well as the value of getting into the flow state. 

Great interview Kamil

Shop Kamil's art on CreativeUTO

Go to his Instagram

Go to his website

 

SofiL’s podcast was published Tuesday (May 26th). 

 

Her video had the fastest launch for all podcasts on our YouTube channel. All artists' videos get shared to 100s of Facebook groups and it takes about 1 day to publish in about 30 groups. SofiL’s sample video got to 1,000 views within 2 days, whereas most ads got there by the 3rd or 4th day. This is a testament to the community growing, each artist paving the way for others to succeed faster, making it easier to earn exposure and, by extension, currency. 

In Sofil’s case, her interview also highlighted other acrylic artists who have been featured on CreativeUTO’s marketplace.

Shop SofiL's art on CreativeUTO

https://www.creativeuto.ca/shop-hong-kong-born-canadian-visual-artist-sofil/

For more info about Hong Kong-born Canadian Visual Artist SofiL

go to 

www.sofilart.com

Go to her Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/multiplesofil/ 

Follow her on Twitter

 https://twitter.com/MultipleSofiL

 

The Universe articulates itself featuring The Art Hippo himself, Navneet. 

 

The Universe articulates itself! I believe the 1st time I mentioned this, or alluded to it, was in Kamil Swiatek's interview, however it became the main theme with Navneet because it encapsulates his artistic style. Like all the interviews, I had a great time with Navneet. It sounds cliche, but I understand when a parent can’t choose a favorite child. I don't have a favorite interview because they all contributed to the community in their own way. 

 

 

Shop – Toronto Based Artist The Art Hippo

https://www.creativeuto.ca/shop-toronto-based-artist-the-art-hippo/

Follow the Art Hippo on Instagram

www.instagram.com/thearthippo

Find him on Instagram

www.facebook.com/thearthippo

Subscribe to his YouTube channel

https://www.youtube.com/user/navneet1034

Buy art on his website

www.thearthippo.com

 

I hope you enjoy them as much as I had fun making them.

Cheers

Walnut Studios & Gentrification in Toronto

Podcast – SofiL, Walnut Studios & Gentrification in Toronto

SofiL, Walnut Studios & Gentrification in Toronto

There are several topics that keep coming up in CUTO Podcasts. We often find ourselves talking about gentrification and the way it affects us.

Gentrification is one of those beasts looming over everyone in Toronto, our rent affected seemingly every day, pricing us out of the city.

How quickly the sand slips beneath our feet; Toronto’s business and architectural landscape is giving way to a culture of foreign investors and local developers commodifying the places we live and work and removing the places and spaces that make the city charming.

 

Towards the 40 minute mark,

SofiL discusses the importance of artist’s communities, studios where artists can create and congregate. She talks about Walnut studio, and how it provided a community for her until a fire took it away.

Escalating property values create more opportunity for investors, which means more condos, more Starbucks, and more Shoppers Drug Marts. Ironically, this pushes out the artists that make Toronto a city worth investing in.

Aside from gentrification, in this dope and upbeat interview (it's not all doom and gloom) we get to know more about SofiL and see her layered works of art, drawn from memory. We discuss the pros and cons of working from home, going to New York, traveling all 50 states, managing your mailing list and we talk about Patreon.

Enjoy

Podcast - SofiL, Walnut Studios & Gentrification in Toronto

Shop SofiL's art on CreativeUTO

https://www.creativeuto.ca/shop-hong-kong-born-canadian-visual-artist-sofil/

For more info about Hong Kong-born Canadian Visual Artist SofiL

go to 

www.sofilart.com

Go to her Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/multiplesofil/ 

Follow her on Twitter

 https://twitter.com/MultipleSofiL

Podcast – The Universe Articulates Itself ft The Art Hippo

The Art Hippo

Art is the soul of the community,

We are the universe articulating itself. Art can be seen in everything around us, from the spiritual plane right through the physical world. It’s the way we are, the way we talk or say nothing, the style representing us right down to the aesthetics of our phones.

Art, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

My interpretation of art, or the world around us can be explained with the concept of a Rubik’s Cube. A Rubik’s Cube that is in perpetual motion, trying to solve itself. We all interpret the Cube based on what we can see.

Our role around this cube is to articulate what we see, that makes us paintbrushes, artists in our own right. We shouldn’t be afraid to express ourselves, fail, re-discover, create and evolve the world around us.  

That’s the message I got from speaking with Navneet.

Navneet is a family man who works for CIBC as a project manager. 

When he isn’t doing that he works as an artist. He has been making art for over 10 years now.  Navneet tells us that he just walked into a paint store one day, bought art supplies and started painting, He says his art is about vibrant colours, action, movement. The universe and the spiritual are a huge part of his creations.

Through this interview we talk about artists and messy studios, merchandising strategies, monetization, art exhibits, collaborative art projects we want to work on and spirituality.

Enjoy

Shop – Toronto Based Artist The Art Hippo

https://www.creativeuto.ca/shop-toronto-based-artist-the-art-hippo/

Follow the Art Hippo on Instagram

www.instagram.com/thearthippo

Find him on Instagram

www.facebook.com/thearthippo

Subscribe to his YouTube channel

https://www.youtube.com/user/navneet1034

Buy art on his website

www.thearthippo.com