Tuesday, June 23, 2009

How Young Artists Live

Photo credits: Jordan Prussky

Whether the economy is good or bad, young artists have always been adept at finding creative ways of supporting themselves and their artmaking. For some, this means leaving the city for a more affordable rural or small town existence. For most, it means a day job, and a live/work arrangement. Robert Malinowski and Erin Glover are a case in point. They share a 900 square foot space which provides both living accommodation, and studio.

The couple lives in a re-purposed mattress factory located in the arts-rich and still (marginally) affordable Parkdale neighbourhood of Toronto. In spite of space constraints, and some unusual "architectural" features, Robert and Erin have created a welcoming home and an effective workplace, consisting of a cozy bednook, an all-purpose living room with a galley kitchen, and a separate studio area for each. Their space was formerly the shipping and receiving area for the mattress factory. The freight elevator is still functional. A vaguely menacing industrial sculpture consisting of wheels and turbines hangs over their bed: it is the motor for the elevator. It is conversation-starter to be sure, and , when in operation, also a very effective conversation-stopper. Fortunately, the elevator does not see heavy use, and is not in operation at night.

In addition to their own art, the couple also has found room to display some very fine work by fellow artists. The painting above the sofa is a gift from their close friend, Paul Fortin. (Fortin is an artist whose paintings and sculptures I very much admire. He shows with Patrick Mikhail in Ottawa.)

Malinowski and Glover currently have an exhibition entitled "Ties That Bind" at A.K. Collings Gallery. This is the final week of the show.

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