Holy shit! The time of year to indulge your consumerist whims at their sparkliest is just around the corner. When it comes to stuffing the socks of your loved ones, you can always make that dreaded trek to the Eaton Centre. But if you’re seeking a less painful experience and want to support some Canadian artists in the process, Christmas Spice is the place to be.
Now in its 18th year, Paul Petro’s event has a cheeky “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” appeal. But the holiday art sale takes a more critical approach to the capitalist hijacking of the birth of our lord and saviour. Created by more than two dozen artists, many of the works on offer put a quirky spin on materialism and consumerism. And though there are some more expensive items, gallery-goers can walk away with original art for less than $5.
This year’s offerings include Andrew Harwood’s day-glo pipe-cleaner pentagrams, Stephen Andrews’s small-edition Butterfly Effect ink-jet prints, Amy Bowles’s terra cotta twig stars, Carol Wainio’s tiny paintings of Home Depot–style reindeer lawn ornaments, a delightful series of unglazed porcelain cum-rag hooks by Maura Doyle, temporary tattoos by quirky collective Fastwürms, and a series of photographs of bedside Vaseline jars by gallery regular Keith Cole.
The event’s opening party also marks an unofficial start to the holiday season on Queen West. Things often get a little crazy, but that should be no surprise. In addition to his photographs, Cole does double duty as host and security guard.
“Keith takes his job very seriously, and we have the written transcripts to prove it,” Petro says. “In terms of the work, there’s always an air of anticipation to see what everyone’s come up with each year. And the bonfire out back is always popular.”