Gifting Toronto Art to Show Appreciation

Winning alumnus award recipient and Dean with the art piece commissioned by me.
Photo : Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing at the University of Toronto,
A couple days ago, I wrote a post regarding the value of art, and what art can do for people based on Alain De Botton's presentation. One use of art that was not covered is the fact that art can serve as a way to show appreciation for someone special, as was the case for a few alumni students, like the one shown in the photo with the Dean of the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing at the University of Toronto.  

I was recently commissioned by the Faculty to create an art piece depicting their current and previous buildings. The idea was to give prints of the artwork as an award to Alumni winners, as a way to congratulate them and show them appreciation. What a thoughtful gesture! 

It was a great opportunity for me to create something a little different and to be part of this nice gesture that I think goes beyond simply receiving an award. It's my hope that this art piece will not only serve as a reminder of the school's appreciation for the Alumni, but also as a reminder of their time spent in school. Hopefully it will bring good memories of their time with fellow students and teachers, and it's something that they can look at and bring a smile to their face and warm their heart for years to come.   For those who received the artwork as a token of appreciation, this art is now also attached to the memory of receiving this acknowledgement from the Faculty who obviously care about and appreciate their alumni.

Art can serve as a physical manifestation of several emotions and also as a trigger to bring back those emotions. If you're looking for a way to make someone feel good for years to come even when you're not around, consider having art commission for them. It could be a student, a teacher, a retired employee or boss, a special client, a friend or a family member. Commissioned artwork can serve as a memento that will bring fond memories of good times and bring a smile to their face whenever they look at it. It's a great way to show how much you care.

What kind of art should you commissioned?  It could be a special place to evoke good memories of time spent there, or a place you've imagine in your conversations. It could be a portrait of that person depicted as a superhero that fits their personality. It could be surrealist scene depicting an inside joke. it could be an abstract filled with quotes or saying related to the person receiving the gift in his or her favourite colours. Sky is the limit when it comes to commissions.

Robarts Library : The Subtle Pyramid of Toronto in Spring

Robarts Library : The Subtle Pyramid of Toronto in Spring  
Watercolor and Acrylic on paper, 11" x 15 " 

I tend to be attracted to "mysterious" buildings and landmarks and one building that really gets my imagination going is the Robarts Library. It's been designed in a very interesting shape and contains a lot of reference to the number three, starting with the triangles that are repeated in patterns on the ceiling both inside and outside the building. It also occupies 3 acres (according to Wikipedia) and the footprint of the building is an equilateral triangle measuring 330 feet on each sides. 

Another interesting observation about this building is that it was built for Canada's Centennial in 1967. When you look at the building from the top using Google map, it looks a bit like the Centennial logo with extra bits attached to the upper points. Coincidence? Maybe. Being that the building is made out of concrete, it's not an easy design to build. So why was it important to add these two wings on ether side of the building and connect them in such a way. Also, how awesome is the design of the top of the building? There's a lot of great shapes one can discover from it. It can maybe inspire a couple design ideas for new logos. 

The painting I did is called Robarts Library : The Subtle Pyramid of Toronto in Spring is from a view you get from the ground level. It reminds me of an Egyptian pyramid and seem to have a similar effect (albeit way more subtle) of wonder when looking up at it that way. It was created for a project exploring the contrast of nature in the concrete jungle. There were 32 cherry blossoms in the area according to an article in The Varsity, the U of T Student Newspaper, as part of a gift from the Consulate-General of Japan to Canada. The trees were temporarily removed last year to make way for a renovation project and should return in 2018. 

The renovation project includes a 5-storey glass extension that seems to unfortunately break the pattern that was established by the original architects. It will feature a large glass cover on the side facing Huron St, essentially the only side that doesn't have the extra extension. If I were in their shoes, I would have proposed to repeat the pattern and add the extension the same way it was designed previously and perhaps using glass to "modernize" it. But that's just the way my brain works. It will be interesting to see the final results when the cherry blossoms are back on site in 2018. 


Art should be enjoyed by everyone! Head over to my Society6 to infuse your life with art within your budget.