An Eye for Local Art
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An Eye for Local Art

Fishing from the series Hunting and Fishing was taken by Toronto-based photographer Angus Rowe MacPherson.

For all of those young photographers who struggle to get their work noticed in Toronto and around the world, things may just have gotten a bit easier. Eye Buy Art, launched last December, is an online art gallery that represents photographers from Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. So far, it’s sold and shipped high-quality prints to as far away as Switzerland.

The site is the sister organization to Flash Forward, an annual competition showcasing the future of photography from these three countries. The list of winners for each country is extensive, and all photographers selected for Eye Buy Art are drawn from that pool: the works are carefully chosen by a jury of photography and art experts from each country. (The 2009 Canadian jury consisted of Liz Ikiriko, photo editor of Toronto Life; Daniel Espeset of photo-eye; and Sara Knelman of the Art Gallery of Hamilton.) Six of the artists they feature currently live in Toronto, including Eamon Mac Mahon, Robyn McCallum, Marshall Byrd Sterling, Mark Kasumovic, and Becky Comber, and their newest member, Angus Rowe MacPherson, was just added this week.

Plume by Eamon Mac Mahon, a Toronto-based photographer.

Eye Buy Art is another building block on an already flourishing artistic community here in Toronto that includes the aforementioned Flash Forward Competition and major collections like Ryerson’s Black Star. Emily McInnes, founder of Eye Buy Art and former director of creative development at Contact, said, “Eye Buy Art doesn’t stand alone—we are adding to an important growing movement in this city by bringing Canadian culture to an international audience.”
“Art is important on so many levels, and emerging artists are our future, so we want to be the vehicle that builds heretofore non-art buyers into passionate collectors, and to democratize the current elitist experience into something more people can enjoy.”
You don’t have to be a Mercedes-driving investment banker to own beautiful art—those with just a few bucks to spare can get their hands into the game as well. High-quality 8″x10″ prints are available for as little as twenty-five dollars. For those with a keen eye and deeper pockets, you can drop two thousand dollars on 30″x40″ prints; there are also pieces available at a range of price-points in between.

Sacred and Profane Love by Robyn McCallum.

There’s another notable caveat for the site: you have to be under thirty-five to win the Flash Forward competition and be featured on Eye Buy Art. The goal is to support up-and-coming young artists. According to McInnes, the “mission is to create opportunity for young people as they graduate from school, are looking to build relationships, and who need to be encouraged at this critical stage to continue their path.”
Because of this youth, there’s a lot of innovation involved with the photography. For example, Robyn McCallum of Bau-Xi Photo on Dundas West combines handmade objects, collage, and photos which she then re-photographs as a single image.
This is what makes the site so exciting—we can see where photography is going. McInnes added, “The ideas are fresh, and [the artists] don’t feel locked down by any particular demands that may emerge as a late-stage artist.”