Our latest Second Floor exhibition features works created by our talented staff. Beyond their day jobs as hospitality professionals, many of the Gladstone Hotel’s staff are working artists. Inside Job, our annual staff exhibitions has taken over our 2nd floor gallery until September 7.
Meet some of our featured staff artists below!
Daniel Wilson is a porter at the front desk, guiding hotel guests to their artist designed hotel rooms. He’s also the artist behind the Gladstone’s beautiful new staff t-shirts! Daniel has exhibited at the staff show last year as well as at various group shows around the city over the years. He’s looking forward to what lies ahead after the staff art exhibition as well: “I hope to continue the work I love as well as a collection of illustrated poems.”
Abena Malcolm is part of the hotel’s catering service team. She draws beautiful mandala style pieces using pen and ink on paper. She explains that for the Inside Job show she is “showing a series of abstract animal faces, using their directional fur growth as a suggestion on how to stylize each portrait.”
Abena has been experimenting with this style for five years, and it’s paid off: “I find juggling my work life and creativity easy, as it just comes with little effort and high reward.”
Although new to Toronto’s arts scene, Abena draws plenty of inspiration from her own creative network. Currently, she’s inspired by “a New Zealander called Lizzie Snow, [who| goes by the name fortyonehundred; her style is similar to mine, but she uses a lot more black space. She currently has a gallery in BC.”
Bonnie Yau is the Gladstone’s multi-talented graphic designer. Her work includes painting, fibre installation and performance art, but she says she’s “currently focused on creating digital art. This includes animation, graphic design and digital painting.” It’s an ongoing artistic process. “I enjoy learning new techniques so my art is constantly changing,” Bonnie explains.
Bonnie is exhibiting an animation called A Study in Stills. “It is influenced by traditional still life paintings seen in art galleries but interpreted through the digital lens. Each animation shows for a minute to mimic how a viewer would view a painting,” she says of the new work.
Working as a graphic designer, the lines between creative practice and work are pretty thin. Bonnie explains, “I have never been good at balancing my work life and my creative work but I have recently started to block of time for making art/brainstorming. I also write down all my ideas on my planner so when I don’t know what to do or create, I just look down the list and choose something.”
Bonnie’s current favourite local artist is Alica Nauta:
“I found her work on Instagram and attended the Toronto Art Book Fair and was able to meet her in person. She mostly creates collages using imagery found in old library books and screenprints them. Her visuals can be described as psychedelic and abstracted reality. One of my animations in the short is actually inspired by her work!”
David McNeil works the Gladstone Cafe. He knows the hotel’s art programming inside and out, and can frequently be overheard talking about the city’s art community with guests.
David also has a diverse artistic practice himself: “My primary art medium is serigraphy (screen printing) and I dabble in photography. For this exhibit I’m showing 7 photos from a series entitled Gladstone Mouseketeers.” Reflecting on how he integrates his work and art practice, David explains, “I actually mix the two frequently. The Gladstone has provided plenty of inspiration for me in the form of subjects.”
David’s favourite local artist right now is Michael Rachlis: “He is a very talented portrait painter. He is also one of the subjects in my piece!”