The location was intimate, the art – full of expression, the artists – humble.

Presented by Alexandria Karakis (Foto Flares), the 2014 Emerging Toronto Artists Awards (ETA) were a sensation.  With just enough room for everyone to move about comfortably, the main ballroom at Palais Royal was (picture) perfect.

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The amalgamation of the different types of art, their vibrant colours and provoking textures made the overall vibe spirited.

Brian Torner, Director of The Continental Dance Club, really ‘Mastered’ the Ceremony in a true rococo fashion; also doubling as one of the five distinguished Jury Members.

Of the 40 plus artists in attendance, we managed to pick a few of their brains (or paintbrushes).

Sarah Terrill – talented abstract artist continues to express herself (and impress us) through “Lotus” “Night Visions” and “Mutual Madness.”


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Al Barazi, whose portraits of hidden expressions were definitely the talk of the town (hall) :-)

As Al said: “All portraits look different to different people.” One thing that was not different was the unanimous decision to crown him the “Absurd Expression” king of the night. Emerging into digital and comic art, he has a book coming out in 2015. We can’t wait. This quiet artist also indulged us in a live painting taking us through his creative process.

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Rosa Milando’s art took us on her spiritual journey. Suitably named Iridescent Benevolence, her plaster creations bring about the oneness that keeps us connected to her. Art embraced. Her creations rated 3rd in the ‘Absurd Expression’ category.

2nd place in the Creative Composition category was James McCowan. His ability to capture any odd moment and turn it into an awe-inspiring visionary masterpiece is what caught our attention. From the streets of Toronto to the Moroccan mountains, James’ keen eyes behind the lens draw you in to the simplicity of the world’s beauty.


Carly Jaye creates her pieces on recycled wood panel, corrugated metal and other unconventional material. This Saskatchewan native moved to Toronto and is gracing our magnificent city with her art – which also earned her 3rd place in the Creative Composition category. Pssst, she’ll be exhibiting her stuff at C’est What come Dec 6th.

There was Julie Fazooli (how cool is her name?) who used to work in television. The self-proclaimed skater chic takes photos and turns them into images of sheer artistry.  M8E Mooody composes graffiti-like paintings with paint markers as they are more solid. We agree, his paintings are solid. Dr. Shorty is on a mission to ensure that you will always be dressed fresh. She will turn your sneaks, caps and ties into a myriad of, let’s say chromatism, “curing your creative needs.” And then you can write or draw all about it in one of Janet Parsons’ fun and colourful Gratitude Journals.

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Let’s just say you could do your Christmas shopping all in one room.

Stephen O Keeffe dominated the decks and held it down for the dance floor; as well as a live performance by Michael Darcy and John Murphy, contributing to the complaisant ambiance. Providing entertainment midway through the show were Jane Santen & Kylie Vozza (the extraordinary acro duet), winners of the Passion Performance segment and guitarist, Crooks (amongst others) who strung that G chord – oh Gee! This was a night to remember.

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Full list of winners and honourable mentions:

Top Emerging Artist 2014: Heather Cook; notable mentions Al Barazi & Ope Arogunmati

Absurd Expression: 1st Al Barazi, 2nd Lauren Olson, 3rd Rosa Milando

Technical Excellence: 1st Malinda Prud’homme, 2nd Nikkole LeBrun, 3rd Heather Cook

Creative Composition: 1st Ope Arogunmati, 2nd James McCowan, 3rd Carly Jaye

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If you’re an art lover, you may wish contribute towards their Indiegogo Campaign. You are also invited to join the movement: ETAAwards #emergetoronto #etaawards

*Remember to log on to your Facebook page to see the individual artists’ pages.