Sunday, December 11, 2011

Last Day to Get Loco for Local!

Today is the last day of Muttonhead's L O C O for L O C A L pop-up shop! Check them out at the adorable Naco Gallery on Dundas West today for amazing locally made gifts and goodies; art prints, clothing, jewelry, chocolate, and cards like these, by Lauren Pirie with a portion going to support our Everything Roof project!

Check the Facebook event here and go check off a bunch of those nice folks on your list!
Open 10am - 7pm today
1665 Dundas St W

Friday, December 9, 2011

Local Artists Design Cups For Responsible Coffee Initiatives

Tonight at The Mascot! Come view and bid on cup creations by local artists including Greenhouse Gallery contributing artists Kathryn MacNaughton, Justyna Werbel, Mahmood Popal and Lauren Pirie. Proceeds support Grounds For Health initiatives in coffee growing countries. "Their award winning work is not only saving the lives of hundreds of women every year from a prevalent yet easy to detect and treat form of cancer, but it is helping reshape the way gender equality is looked at in the communities they work in". 

The event is the third annual run by First Drop Canada. It also highlights simple actions of environmental responsibility, like using your own reusable mug and hence, One Less Paper Cup!

Tonight 8pm - Midnight
1267 Queen St.

Facebook Event here

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Natalie from The About Face Collective featured in Curve Magazine!

Last month, I was featured in the Food and Drink issue of Curve Magazine for my article on what it means to be a “Queer Urban Farmer” (photo cred Charlie Randall with help from my dear friend Mark Sherman from LEAF). The article discusses my observations (and frustrations) about how much queer identity seems to be centered around being an “urbanite”, both in the media and indeed very often in reality. For me, this correlation between being queer and being urban is false, and is directly related to the diaspora many queer people experience coming from rural areas that typically seem to provide less opportunities to form thriving, safe LGBT2Q community.

But the question I ask in the article is “What about queers like me?” I desire “a big open field, a plot of land to put my hands in, a horizon, a steady pace”, in short, I want a more rural life. However, I also desire the comfort and excitement of belonging to a thriving, accepting, dance-party-filled queer community, like the one I have surrounded myself with here in Toronto.  I balance these two needs by being a part of, and advocating for, the urban farming community. My hope is that not only will more queers take leave of the city and form thriving communities in rural places, but that we can also make the city more appealing for those who want to balance city life with their passion for working the land and being in touch with nature.

I end the article with this thought:

“Although so many of us certainly feel “free” in the city, until that freedom fully extends beyond the borders of the city centre, there is still much work to be done. Until then, you can catch me turning heads in my farm gear, content that, queer or not, being an “urbanite” these days can mean being a farmer like me.”

Sorry Folks, can't find it online, but you can ask me to send you the full article via email!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Give someone the gift of Creativity this Holiday Season with Fine Oak Art School!

We know how (not) into going to the mall to look for Christmas presents you are, but we've got something both easy for you and meaningful for that special someone on your Christmas gift list or workplace Secret Santa. 

Erica Beyea of Fine Oak Art School has generously donated a 5 week art course for beginner artists in the medium of their choice! 

Never heard of Fine Oak Art School? It's new! Here's a little bio on the kind of experience you'll be gifting someone:

Fine Oak Art School was founded by Toronto artist and instructor Erica Beyea. She studied Fine Arts at the Ontario College of Art & Design and the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design. Since graduating, she has been teaching and showing her artwork across Canada. Erica has also worked as a curator, gallery assistant and a variety of other roles in the Toronto art scene. 

Fine Oak has developed a program that suits each student’s individual goals. Each class begins with a one-on-one interview where Erica determines your strengths, weaknesses and artistic goals for the session. A curriculum is then developed to meet the needs of every student in the class. Small class sizes of five or seven students ensure that each student gets the attention they require from the instructor, as well as a familiarity with other students and their work. Studio practice and technical skills are reinforced with concept-development and small lessons in art history. Students are exposed further to the art world through gallery tours and visits from working artists and designers. 

This package is valued at over $200, but you can donate just $100 to The About Face Collective and be feeding two birds with one seed! Not only will you be giving a great, unique gift, but you can feel good knowing that you're helping to further our fundraising efforts towards the creation of our rooftop garden!

Please contact us at if you're interested in purchasing this wicked holiday gift!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Greenhouse Gallery Featured Artist Series | Round3: Illustration Nation

Greenhouse Gallery kicks off tomorrow and runs through Sunday!

The three ladies in this round of the artist features each spread their creativity over several mediums; graphic design, photography, painting, writing, drawing, the occasional living room dance party... though, it's probably safe to say that they all primarily identify as illustrators. The first two, admittedly, are serious art-crushes of mine, and the last one, well... the last one's me. I'll leave the bio in third person for good measure. 

Juliana Neufeld 
Juliana Neufeld is an illustrator and mixed media artist living and working happily in Toronto, Canada. Her work has been inspired by the whimsy of children’s illustration, journal art and an obsession with textiles. Her work has been showcased in galleries in Japan, France, Los Angeles and across Canada. Some of her working folks include The Globe and Mail, Arts and Crafts Records, Element Skateboards andSpinmaster Toys.

Juliana will have large framed giclee prints as well as limited edition 8x10 prints for sale and silent auction tomorrow and Sunday at Greenhouse Gallery.

Kathryn Macnaughton 
Kathryn Macnaughton is an illustrator and graphic artist who lives and works in Toronto. She graduated from Ontario College of Art and Design. She combines her drawings with collage in a hue of light pastel shades, mixing soft pornographic material with random objects, patterns or typefaces. Her work has appeared in magazines, on books and album covers. She recently finished the book covers for six John Steinbeck classic novel for penguin.

Kathryn will have large paintings and limited edition 8x14 prints for sale and auction tomorrow and Sunday.

Lauren Pirie
After a year of wandering around the world, Lauren studied Communication Design at Ryerson University followed by Illustration at OCAD in Toronto, wandering a little more in between. She still thinks some of her most influential education was acquired during summers at camp in Northern Ontario.

Lauren currently spends her days and nights and small hours of the morning making drawings, writing stories and working on various illustration and design projects in music, fashion, and for NGOs like the About Face Collective, an art and environmental project which she co-founded. Lauren likes finding meaning (or simply amusement) in things that make little sense. She likes little things, (but loves run-on sentences).
Lauren will have framed drawings, limited edition prints, greeting cards and books for sale and auction tomorrow and Sunday.

Tomorrow's the day! Join us at the Fresh City Greenhouse, 70 Canuck Ave from 11-6 this Saturday AND Sunday. See Facebook event for full details here.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Greenhouse Gallery Featured Artist Series | Round2: Broadbent Nation

We are thrilled to have not one, not two, but all three Broadbent siblings exhibiting this weekend at Greenhouse Gallery. Team Broadbent has been supportive of the AFC since the beginning; contributing art work, working volunteer shifts, dj-ing events, introducing us to our now-project-partners at Sketch... If they weren't so kind and generous, this trio of blond, super-human talents would be pretty intimidating...

Rose Broadbent

Rose Broadbent spends her time making art and traveling the earth. Her work often reflects worldly struggles of power and injustice that she has witnessed. She does not commit to one but many mediums. Rose is a head designer of the collective The New BEAT, while also art director of the vintage fashion line, Bridge & Bardot. Her roots lie in the progressive world of New Media, from which she graduated at Ryerson University. Rose continues to seek to understand, and to create good things in the world.

Rose will have a selection of watercolour pieces for sale and auction this weekend.

Justin Broadbent

Justin Broadbent is an accomplished Toronto-based multi-disciplinary artist. His work includes video performance, poems, funny ideas, illustration, design, music video direction, and installation. Justin is also a self-taught photographer.
Co-directing music videos under the moniker HotDogGarbage, Justin has done work for recording artists such as Shad and Metric. He has achieved a CBC Bucky Award and three Much Music Video Award nominations for his work.
Justin chooses layered projects that challenged his expectations. His work often centers on meaning-of-life topics, which he delivers with a glimmer of charm and wit. Hence, he’s often reminding people that the sun is a burning ball of fire floating in outer space!
Justin’s work is inspired by the impossibility of a seed becoming a tree, thrift stores, clever lyrics, and human perseverance.
Justin will be have a selection of drawings and collages for sale and auction this weekend, some from his recent residency in Miami.


Joy Broadbent
Joy lives and works as a painter in Toronto. She completed her Honours BFA at the University of Western Ontario. Her paintings combine abstraction with representation by way of a diverse range of painterly techniques. The paint itself seems to mask and sometimes reveal bits of organic material and humanmade creations in flat planes of ambiguous origins. Her current works present a mystical vision of rose gardens at night, with themes of revelation, time, destruction and renewal.

Joy will have a selection of large and small paintings for sale and silent auction at Greenhouse Gallery.

Greenhouse Gallery | Art Fundraiser for the Everything Roof, this Saturday and Sunday! Facebook event here

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Greenhouse Gallery Featured Artist Series | Round1: Hession, Baruchel & Luk

Danielle Hession

Danielle is a long-time friend and supporter of The About Face Collective. We love her not only for her incredible willingness to help out, her sweet-as-pie attitude, and her incredible talent; but also because we nerd out over some common loves.  

Like us, Danielle “takes great satisfaction in recycling discarded items and giving them a new life”. She works with old photographs, papers and imagery and draws inspiration from found objects and ephemera from times past. Though she turns these things into her own new, enchanting images -collaging them and infusing them with handmade marks and colour- her work still imparts a great sense of mystery and nostalgia.

The following are two of Danielle’s pieces that will be up for silent auction at this weekend’s Greenhouse Gallery Art Fundraiser for The Everything Roof. See more on Saturday and Sunday!

Danielle Hession, Boom Town Wranglers, 13x40

Danielle Hession, On Your Side, 30 x 30

Virgil Baruchel

Virgil has been around since the beginning of time… at least, the AFC’s time. Virgil has bent over backwards (and jumped over things) to help us out since before we even had a name. We can only assume that his monsters have also been around since the beginning of time. And we’re not sure if their names came before or after their creation (so, before time?), but we really think the titles are the crown jewels on Virg’s work.

You may remember these guys from our last fundraiser show at Arta Gallery. Since then, they’ve been created in far away lands such as Paris and New York and with all sorts of new materials and colour and texture. And sometimes they’re not even monsters anymore. In fact, sometimes Virgil now works with materials he's pulled off the street, like recycled and found wood and metal, to make amazing furniture. Virgil will have a selection of drawings and paintings for sale and auction this weekend.

Virgil Baruchel, goingtothebanktocashyourcheck(inparis), 50 x 65cm

Virgil's Paris studio, all paintings and furniture by Baruchel

Eunice Luk

Eunice was born in Hong Kong. She now lives and works and makes incredible, fantastical things in Toronto. These precious wonders range from drawings to ceramics, which will be displayed for sale and auction in the Greenhouse Gallery this weekend. We are so excited to these amazing pieces linger and twinkle among the greenery.

Eunice strives to create work that maps the imagination in a synthetic world. In May 2010, she founded Fantasy Camp, an independent publisher of artist books and zines. Eunice studied at Ontario College of Art and Design where she also became one of the founding members of Childface Sausage; the collective will also have work in the show this weekend.

Eunice Luk, Skin, Earthenware

Eunice Luk, Coral II & Coral III, Earthenware

We will be featuring more of the artists involved in Greenhouse Gallery Art Fundraiser for The Everything Roof throughout the week. Watch this space and join us Saturday and Sunday for the show, sale and silent auction as well as music and workshops and food, beer and wine.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Greenhouse Gallery Featured Artists Announced

We are just a little over a week away from Greenhouse Gallery, our fundraising art event with Fresh City Farms at their Downsview Park greenhouse. Yay! (Also, eek!) Also, howww is it November next week? Guh.

Between now and then you probably have a gourd to carve into the likeness of your favorite pop star or (least) favorite municipal politician and some combination of spandex and sparkles and rainbow wig to don. That sounds fun and all, but you're really just counting down the days until you get to enjoy (and buy) the work of 30 renowned local artists in an urban greenhouse while sipping some local wine, and swaying to tunes from talented T.O. musicians, aren't you?

Over the next week we will post features on some of these incredible artists on our blog (here!). Check back through the week to see some sneak previews of some of the work that will be sold and silent-auctioned off.  Check the Facebook event for full details, and go ahead and invite your friends (and your favorite municipal politicians). And come! Of course, we welcome costumes.

Greenhouse Gallery Art Fundraiser for The Everything Roof 
Featured Artists:

Adrian Forrow
Alex Kurina
Childface Sausage
Claire Hall
Danielle Hession
Darlene Huynh
E V Mary Stephens
Emily Stoddart
Erica Brisson
Eunice Luk
Josh Raskin
Juliana Neufeld
Justin Broadbent
Justyna Werbel
Kathryn Macnaughton
Laura Mensinga
Lauren Pirie
Lisa Visser
Mahmood Popal
Mark Harris Sherman

Owen Wong
Rodrigo Marti
Rose Broadbent
Sarah D'Angelo
Srdjan Segan
Talia Shipman
Tammy Yiu
Virgil Baruchel


Jewelry byKate Schwan

Hand-knit accessories from Muttonhead

And art classes for auction by Erica Beyea of Fine Oak Art School

See facebook event for more information on music line-up, workshops and more!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The About Face Collective @ Eat In Onatrio and Nuit Blanche!

Hey folks, Natalie here from The About Face Collective! I've been a busy girl lately, day-timing as a community garden coordinator and urban food educator, and night-timing as an (unserious) musician.

This past weekend, I had the privilege of being involved in 2nd annual Eat-In Ontario event, held by FoodShare @ Queens Park. As FoodShare describes it on their website, the event is a "fall harvest celebration"that features dozens of workshops and activities for students of all ages to help teach them about food systems, sustainability, and community.

 My workshop with FoodShare focused on a short reading of the "Stone Soup" story, a classic chinese tale about how food can bring communities together. We then created our own story that had to include elements of food and how a type community comes together to solve a problem with each other. (Photo credit: Laura Berman)

Next up, I was lucky enough to participate in a Nuit Blanche installation, curated by artist Kevin Shmidt entitled "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow". The piece featured dozens of buskers situated up and down Yonge Street, all playing the same 9 songs in their own styles, all of which had to do with the theme of "tomorrow". Songs by Journey, Elvis, The Velvet Underground, The Monkeys, Brian Adams, Johnny Cash, and The Shirells (obviously) were just some of classic musicians that were chosen. The musicians ranged from solo sax to belly bangle shakers to, well, my friend Charlie and I with a borrowed electric keyboard and a tambourine: 

We had a great time interacting with the crowd, eating pizza and watching teens from the 905 lose their mind at the prospect of running around downtown Toronto all night without their parents. We were also asked to play the opening reception for Nuit Blanche, and would like to give a huge thanks to Kevin Shmidt for getting us on the roster at an open bar event. THANKS!

The beauty of this piece is that it snuck up on people; it was un-obvious, and could have gone unnoticed, or else seemingly serendipitous. Many times we would hear people saying with wonder "how is it that they're all playing the same music?" without figuring out that it was actually an art installation. Others would ask "You're all working together, aren't you!?" Either way, people had a great time dancing and laughing down the street, singing into the microphones along with the artists, or drumming along on their own legs to the beat as they went by. Great job Kevin, we hope to see more of this unobvious public art from you in the future!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Greenhouse Gallery | Field Trip to Fresh City Farms

Our curating team, led (and transported) by Rodrigo Marti, ventured up to visit our friends from Fresh City Farms at their greenhouse at Downsview Park this morning. I was lucky to get to know the FCF crew while working with them on their branding and web design earlier this year. Their mission to empower young people in the GTA to farm organically everywhere from backyards to rooftops to this greenhouse had the AFC pretty excited. So when they suggested that we work together on an event this Fall, we were all over it. And when they told us we could hang art in their greenhouse, we got more than a little nerdy about it. I mean, what more perfect a setting to raise funds for an urban rooftop garden created by local artists than in an urban greenhouse with an art show? Hence our little art team field trip.

Our visit timed up with FCF seeding their greenhouse for the season. So by the time we convert this space into a gallery (for the weekend of November 5th & 6th) these beds will be green with organic veggie leaves. You can get these same veggies delivered to your door each week straight from Fresh City if you live in T.O. Check them out, check back here for more info on the event and mark the date down on your calendars!

Friday, September 23, 2011

About Face Collective: Half way towards the creation of our Recycle Art Rooftop Garden

Well kids, it's crunch time over here at The About Face Collective! After receiving $75,000 from Live Green Toronto towards the creation of our proposed Recycle Art Rooftop Garden at the new Centre for Social Innovation Annex, we've been working hard to garner the remaining $75,000 to get this venture off the ground by December 31st of this year!

Where we're at right now: We've got our fingers crossed on a couple of ongoing grants, and we're one of the top contestants on the challenge, and we're gearing up to create an campaign.

We're also partnering up with FreshCityFarms to host a fundraiser at their greenhouse at Downsview Park, and will be hosting a collaborative visioning session with the folks at Exhibit Change for CSI members and potential collaborators and funders.

Despite all this, we STILL need your help! Write about us! Blog about us! Tweet about us! Spread the word about this very special and multi-faceted project! Your support and encouragement will help us generate the social capital we need to make this project a reality!

Your support (and your tweets) means the world to us. It may even land you a can of Ontario peaches from Natalie, wink wink, nudge nudge...

Get in touch with us if you'd like to see our press release!

Let's keep Toronto on track towards sustainability!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Sustainable Clothing & Art Camping Out at Our Fave New T.O. Creative Space

Our friends at Muttonhead are camping out at the top of Trinity Bellwoods Park with their Fall line this weekend. We've posted about Muttonhead in the past; all of their garb is locally-produced here in T.O using fabrics like hemp and recycled leather. The line is perfectly androgynous; comfy and steezy and  equally appropriate for bonfire or bar, and as we've confessed before, one of our hands-down favorites.

Starting today, they're parked at one of our new favorite T.O. spaces, Miracle Thieves, alongside Ottawa's Raised By Wolves, Cuchara jewelry and recycled cards and prints from Lauren Pirie, as well as some other art, books and for the opening tonight, burgers and beers! Come by 249 Crawford (at Dundas) to check it all out - look for the window art by Justin Broadbent. And keep an eye on Miracle Thieves for tons of great local art and lovely things!

Facebook Event Here

Cards and Prints by Lauren Pirie and Our Liner Notes, by Justin Lee

Rack of Mutt
Window by Broadbent

Raised by Wolves moccasins and such

Friday, August 26, 2011

Pure Green Zine, Money!

How the h it's taken this long for us to discover Pure Green Mag, we do not know. But now we know! Yeah yeah, you're like "Pff, Pure Green's only been like the coolest sustainable ish for the last year, don't you read the internet?"

Sapna's DIY fun!

So we read the internet today, and it told us that our good friend Sapna had contributed one of her many talents (not that one) to the DIY instructional of this mystery magazine. Intrigue! After some link-clicking and about an hour of the afternoon spent staring at its pretty pages via the computer screen, we'd discovered that PG is a refreshingly stylish Canadian green living and design mag. This issue has a cover featuring a babe with a bike (10 points), articles on Montreal vintage hunting, book binding, organic recipes (um, blue cheese beet cakes with hot pepper cream whuut! 100 points) fruit and veggies preserving and for that extra win with my heart strings, an interview and lovely photo spread of the Algonquin Park Lodge owned by my childhood camp owners (a lot of points).

We also really like their mandate to "have, a strong undercurrent of handmade culture; it supports small businesses and features green designers from around the world. We are very passionate in our views on green living, and don't for one second think that living green means sacrificing style." I don't know how many points that all adds up to, but probably at least a million. We're excited to kick back with a print version coming soon. For now, if you have some time to kill, do it here.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Why City Life Can Drive Us Crazy (F'real) And Why Projects Like Ours Can Help!

From NOW's Land Use For The Brain by Wayne Roberts

As we've been feverishly writing away at grant applications and other such things in attempts to lock funding for our Rooftop Recycle Art Garden Project at the Centre For Social Innovation, we've been making some pretty good pitches (if we do say so ourselves) for why urban agriculture is important to foster in this city (and maybe going a bit crazy doing so). In similar fashion to most things we work on, this garden project could easily be described as "the urban equivalent of the Swiss Army knife". We really believe in integrated approaches and multifunctional, creative use of community space, as you may have noticed. 

As this fantastic article from NOW points out, urban farming in itself, really is quite multifunctional. "This is where urban agriculture, with its food creation, storing of carbon, reuse of rainwater, etc, shines and pays down the high cost of land." The benefits of making efforts to green our city really are manifold. Not that we need more reasons, but reducing mental health disorders is a really good one. And one we could be thankful for. ("Shall we continue to refer to ourselves in the plural?"  "Yes, us.") Okay then everyone, go ahead and read this:
Land Use For The Brain - How City Planning Can Reduce Mental Health Disorders, NOW Magazine