We had a catch up with Patrick from Lustre Contemporary, a gallery that represents a group of extremely talented emerging to mid-career Canadian artists, and got his hot tips for new artists coming to the Battersea Spring Fair, as well as his advice to budding art collectors.
Tell us a bit about Lustre Contemporary and where your passion for art came from
I would say my passion for art started when I was a child. Although my parents weren’t outwardly artistic themselves at the time, they were always very supportive of my creative interests and encouraged me to follow that path, which ultimately led me to attend the Ontario College of Art in Toronto, one of Canada’s most respected art colleges.
Lustre Contemporary initially began as a collective I founded with two other Toronto based photographers that I admired. After taking the collective to two editions of the Affordable Art Fair in New York City I decided it was time to progress to a full-fledged gallery format and be able to represent a wider variety of artists. Lustre is about championing talented Canadian artists who do beautiful, unique, high calibre work and bringing that work to the attention of international art collectors. When I decided on the name Lustre one of the definitions I found for the word was ‘a quality that outshines the usual’, which has become our unofficial tagline and which is one of my guiding principles when choosing the artists we represent.
What kind of work are you drawn to and what can we expect from your stand at the Battersea Spring fair?
I am personally drawn foremost to photography, as that is my own medium and main passion as an artist but I also have much appreciation for both painting and drawing since those were the focus of my art college studies. From our stand at the upcoming Spring Battersea fair, expect an expanded collection of talented Canadian artists, many of whose work has never before been available or exhibited in the UK, with distinct styles ranging from dynamic, multi-layered photography to vibrant abstracts and beautifully crafted, narrative driven painting.
Which of your artists are the ‘ones-to-watch’?
We have several new artists to the gallery that I’m especially excited about and that I would recommend fair goers take note of. Hana Moore is an emerging, mature artist whose previous careers in both fashion and design allow her to bring a confident eye for colour and composition to her vibrant abstract artworks. Working with both paint and paper as mediums she uses the juxtaposing and revealing of layers to create unexpected, dynamic compositions that possess an element of discovery and playfulness. She is new to the international art fair market and one to consider while her prices are still quite accessible.
Emily Carriere is an exciting young abstract artist who creates beautifully intricate compositions using the unusual combination of layered cut vinyl, paint and resin. Her works manage to be both organic and strikingly graphic. Toni Hamil, another artist we'll be taking to Battersea this March, is an established mid-career painter who crafts thoughtful, high calibre works which are rooted in storytelling and which she describes as ‘illustrated commentary on human frailties’. She puts so much planning and time into each of her works that she is having trouble keeping up with demand, so her work would definitely be a worthy investment.
What advice would you give to aspiring art collectors?
My biggest piece of advice is not to focus too much on pedigree, or what you think would be a good investment, but to look for pieces that you love and that you have an emotional response to, whether they make you happy or trigger some sort of personal meaning. I would also advise that you don’t immediately dismiss the possibility of purchasing a piece you are interested in because it may seem to be out of your budget range, but that you instead inquire with the gallery as to whether they offer any sort of instalment plan or financing. This is something Lustre offers, as do many other galleries, which I think a lot of fair goers are not aware of. It can really help make an artwork purchase more feasible when you break it down into multiple, smaller payments.
We’d love to get some insight into your personal collection. What’s your most recent addition and which piece could you not live without?
A recent addition to our family’s personal collection is a trio of small works depicting a hunting scene by Jesse Bromm, a mixed media artist we represent whose work often touches on themes of life and death. The works have a strong personal meaning to my wife, as they are a kind of homage to her late father, who was an avid hunter.
The piece I can’t live without is a small campfire painting gifted to me by wife, artist Mara Minuzzo. That campfire represents all my fond memories of the family camping trips we look forward to every summer, which we began taking when our son was a young child. It is especially poignant now that he has recently left home to attend university and may not be joining us on many more future trips.
Being an artist yourself, how do you balance running the gallery and making time for your photography?
It’s definitely a difficult balancing act and one that keeps me very busy, but despite the long hours I feel very fortunate to be doing work that I’m passionate about, be it my own artwork or the promotion of other Canadian artists through the gallery’s endeavours. Running Lustre as an online gallery allows me to put my time and resources into exhibiting at international art fairs, which in turn allows me to dedicate other blocks of time to my travels, in order to pursue my photography work. The rest of my time is dedicated mainly to being in the studio, where I juggle production of my own work with the shipping of gallery orders and the management of our artists and other gallery dealings.
Header image: Provided by Lustre Contemporary.
Artwork images from top to bottom: Toni Hamel, Expectations, Oil on canvas, 40 x 50cm, £2,475, Lustre Contemporary.
Hana Moore, Ring Play, Acrylic and gold leaf on panel, 75 x 75cm, £1,275, Lustre Contemporary.
Patrick Lajoie, The Orchid, Photographic image transfer on birch panel, 101 x 152cm, £2,295, Lustre Contemporary.