Nathalie Roze & Co. A Clear-Cut Shopping Phenomenon

If you’re a Torontonian or planning on visiting Toronto then, you have to pay a visit to Nathalie Roze & Co..     You’re in for a shopping delight.

I visited the East End of Toronto recently and found a unique shop that I never knew existed.  I only wish that I had found it sooner.

It was such a treat to be in this store as every nook and cranny of it, holds something fabulous.

Nathalie Roze & Co., located at
1015 Queen E Toronto, ON M4M 1K3
(416) 792-1699
A One-Of-A-Kind, Indie/Artisan store and fabulous shopping experience.

Had I blinked, I might have passed it by but, its green exterior walls and signage caught my eye.  Parking was no problem so, I pulled over and stopped in.

From the moment I entered its doors, I was struck and amazed by the unique displays and items that flooded every inch of the store.  There was so much to see that I started at the front door and worked my way to the back.  I scarcely knew where to look first.  There was just so many delightful and intriguing items that I wanted to look everywhere at once.

I was greeted by a friendly sales clerk who simply let me know that if I needed any help or, had any questions, she’d be available.  I thanked her and she left me to look and wander around, looking on my own.  (There’s nothing I hate more than a sales associate who’s breathing down my back, asking me what I’m looking for when even I don’t know at the moment.)

Nathalie Roze & Co., truly a delight and surprise in every nook and cranny of the store. Filled with Indie Designer and Artisan clothing, jewellery, accessories as well as Re-Creations (recycled items, designed into new fashion and fashion accessories).

It was amazing to find out that most of this store’s stock had been created from items that had been re-cycled into something different.  Nothing was mass-produced and every piece had a flair that couldn’t be found elsewhere.

Hard to believe that this tunic top/dress was created from a pillowcase but, one of the many examples of the uniqueness of Nathalie Roze & Co.’s Indie and Artisan Designs.

Everything from the jewellery to purses, hats, baby clothing, maternity to quirky items such as journals created from old vinyl records to greeting cards, handmade and so unique, one couldn’t resist giving as gifts, made me want to keep looking.

There was something for everyone in this shop.  I picked up several birthday gifts in one store, knowing they were unique and no one else would have the same thing.

Recycled vintage brooches that can be attached to purses, used as hair clips, or simply a brooch.

When I finally did have questions, the sales associate was clearly in view and did answer them fully, leaving me again to go on with my shopping experience but, remaining within eye contact should I need her again.

It wasn’t until I was having my purchases rung in that I was told that Nathalie Roze, the store owner, and staff, also do Wardrobe Consulting and have regular DIY workshops for everything from soap to jewellery making and so much more.

I’m sure to go back as this is not the type of shopping experience one can only sample once.  They’ve always got new items being added to the store as well as upcoming events such as “clothing swaps” and workshops both evenings and weekends.

If you’re not in Toronto or won’t be, Nathalie Roze & Co. has begun to expand their lines of both in-house designs and Indie Designer pieces on the net for your shopping pleasure from your own home.  You can visit their website by clicking on Nathalie Roze & Co.

Also be sure to follow them on Facebook in order to keep up to date on upcoming specials, events, workshops and much more news.

Artist Maggie Sutherland: Nude Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Only in Canda, eh?

There just doesn’t seem to be any accounting for taste nor, possibly even sanity when it comes to art and apparently, Maggie Sutherland, a Miramichi native artist, has put that to the test by painting a nude painting of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper entitled, “Emperor Haute Couture”.

Painting done of a nude Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper by artist Maggie Sutherland.

One has to wonder what was running through artist, Maggie Sutherland’s mind when she set forth to paint an unauthorized nude painting of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.  Is she crazy?  Or, is she simply trying to be controversial and bring attention to herself and her work?  Perhaps, it’s simply for the money?

No matter what Sutherland was thinking, it’s most certainly brought a tremendous amount of response and attention to the piece and herself.

When asked in a CBC interview via phone, Sutherland responded to the attention she’s been getting over the painting with a “what more can an artist ask for…other than scads of money?” and laughed.

Stating that she has always been a fan of painter, Edouard Manet, Sutherland says that it had been rumbling around in her mind for many years and she was simply bringing Manet’s style and messages through to the 21st century and giving it a modern twist.  Inspired by “the long tradition of nudes in paintings, going back hundreds and hundred of years,” she said, and added Manet to the mix by “putting an everyday woman, in the place of a goddess on a couch so, I just tried to bring it forward to the 21st century and used a modern political figure in a very similar pose.  If you look at the internet, you’ll see that I really stole a lot from him [Manet].”

When asked what her reasoning was behind this painting, Sutherland seemed a little confused herself as to why she painted this particular painting, stating that “it wasn’t personal…it was a comment on how governments are…how they function.”

Sutherland doesn’t stop there.  She likens it to “Hans Christian Andersen’s, The Emperor’s New Clothes,” she states,  “where despite all claims to the contrary, he is parading through the town’s square naked.  It’s a comment on government more than personal.  He [Harper] just happens to be in the right place at the right time.”

When asked if she had a lot of doubts about doing the painting, she answered “daily,” and sighed, saying that she’d been asked if she’d had a lot of therapy to which she answered, still laughing, “yes, I’ve had a lot.”

Perhaps, a stupid question but, a valid one, she was asked if she had ever thought of asking Harper to sit for the painting and she laughed heavily, saying that she had to work from her imagination.  The question itself seemed totally ridiculous and Sutherland appeared to laugh it off, knowing it was a ridiculous notion for such an unwelcomed and unflattering painting of the country’s current prime minister.

She called the painting “old hat” to her at this point as she had finished it early in 2011 and had it on display in a gallery in Toronto for 3 months without much fanfare over it until it raised controversy while hanging in the local library in her hometown.

It sold to an undisclosed buyer for $5,000.00 so, one could guess that she’s laughing as she heads to the bank.

However, it’s made me wonder if perhaps, Sutherland also has her own sense of humor when it comes to herself?  Would she mind if I did a photo-painting of her?

I’ve been a fan of Chris Wake, an Australian Contemporary Artist’s work so, I’ve done a piece that I have titled, “Reclining Nude Kookaburra” featuring artist Maggie Sutherland as a statement of how artists are naked and exposed by their works.  It’s not personal to Sutherland.  It’s a statement of how artists work and can put meaning to pieces where there really may not be any to be had except controversy, imagination and attention seeking.

By the way, if the buyer of Sutherland’s painting is reading this, I’m also open for offers to my work as well.

Reclining Nude Kookaburra Artist

(I say that with a wink and a grin as this is actually Chris Wake’s painting “Reclining Nude with Kookaburra” and Maggie Sutherland’s head.)

Artist Thomas Kinkade Dies While Critics Deem His Art Worthless

Artist, Thomas Kinkade, the self-proclaimed, Painter of Light, has died of natural causes in his Los Gatos, California, USA home on Friday.  The full cause of his death has not been released to the public.  He was 54 years of age.


Sadly, many will miss Kinkade producing new works of art for the world to enjoy.  Though many critics have deemed Kinkade’s work “of no worth”, there are tens of millions of people who have prints of his works, hanging in their livingroom who will say differently.

It’s hard to fathom how Kinkade’s work can be considered as worthless.  If I were to hazard a guess, I’d have to say that it’s because it was commercialized.  Some critics have called it “formulaic” with a central theme that occurs over and over again in each of his paintings.  He produced some 1,000 paintings over his lifetime which included the topics of cabins, nature scenes, seascapes and classic Americana.

If Kinkade’s works were considered worthless because they had a theme or style that was fairly distinctly Kinade-ish, then what can be said about authors whose works are also formulaic such as Deepak Chopra, Sylvia Browne, Agatha Christie, Harlequin writers, J.K. Rowling and so many more?  What about musicians whose work are all containing similar themes and sound similar from album to album?  What about the famous Group of Seven artists?  The list of those involved in a form of art can go on and on as many of them have become formulaic in their work.

Thomas Kinkade's : A Child's A Gift

For most, artists are supposed to be “starving” and not famous until their deaths or, they’re not considered, “real artists”.  Struggle seems to be the mark of a great works of art, living on bread and coffee, squalored small studio lofts with cots as beds amongst the brushes and turpentine.  Kinkade turned his work into a multi-million dollar empire, complete with galleries to house his works and books containing photos of them.  He knew how to market his work and himself.  Does that make him a fake?  Did he not produce this art with brushes and paints on his own?  However, it seems that the critics have deemed him akin to the Starfrit gadgets that you see on infomercials rather than an artist.

There’s a whimisical feel to all of Kinkade’s work.  It brings the viewer into a scene that one only wishes that they could live in.  His ability to bring light into his scenes makes them warm and inviting, making us want to be there, amongst the flowers and even trudging through the snow.  There’s a portrayal of family, love, peace and kindness that the world can only hope and dream of and sometimes, if we’re lucky, get glimpses of.  They are akin to being part of a dream world where there is only love and warmth.  Who wouldn’t want to be in one of them, living amongst the beauty that they emit?

Though some have come forward to say that he was not an angel of a man, reportedly, often drinking and bitter, sitting in strip clubs, it isn’t his life that was to be judged.  It takes away nothing from his works of art.  Many of the Greats in the worlds of music, writing and art were mentally disturbed, alcoholics, womanizers and miserable humanbeings.  Yet, their works have been heralded by most.  Ernest Hemmingway, Elvis Presely, Jimmi Hendrix, Edgar Allan Poe, Whitney Houston, Spencer Tracey, Joan Crawford, Vincent Van Gogh, Ludwig van Beethoven and the list could go on for several hundred more to be added.  Suffice it to say that it wasn’t Kinkade’s life but, rather his wealth from his art that critics have leapt upon with wrath.

I, for one, will go on enjoying Kinkade’s works of art.  They have a quality to them that takes me far away from the maddening crowd and this world that can sometimes, feel like a cold, hard world and oftentimes, begging for escape.

Instead of a bottle of vodka or a prescription for tranquilizers, I can lose myself in a painting that evokes something emotionally wonderful within me.  Kinkade’s works do that for me and while I don’t currently own any prints of his works, I am thinking that I will now go and search his website for prints to order and have framed.  Though I am following suit in buying a dead artist’s works now that he’s gone, I deem his works as worthy of a place in my home.  That is what makes art, worthy…not what the critics have to say.

May you rest in peace, Mr. Kinkade and may “heaven” be even more beautiful than what you’ve painted for us.  We have tiny pieces of a “heaven” by gazing at your works.