Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Beauty and the Beast

I have very mixed feelings calling this shot Beauty and the Beast because Mark Prendergast, metallurgical artist and owner of Deity Metallurgy on Carlaw Ave., Toronto, is so not a "beast." Mark, whose hard-edged appearance belies his gentle, spiritual nature lives and works in my neighbourhood in Riverdale and over the years we have said hello many times, fellow redheads in the 'hood. So when I was conceiving this shot, the third in a series of three location creatives, I thought of him and set out to find him, without being able to remember his name, or knowing the name of his business. Turned out that he is pretty well known in this area having been here at least as long as I have. 

It also turned out that he created the metal art in House of Moments, the incredible art gallery/restaurant/event space I had chosen as the shoot location. Just up the street from my studio, House of Moments is a place I had walked past a hundred times without ever going in, until one day my husband and I went in the check it out as a possible spot to take out of town guests for dinner. We were so taken by the huge, moody, art-filled environment, that we made a reservation on the spot. The Japanese-Middle Eastern fusion food was original and delicious and our guests loved it.

Sherry Mahdavi, Sales and Events Manager was generous and supportive allowing us to come in and take over a portion of the space during what would normally have been a quiet time but turned out to be a busy facility tour day for prospective clients. Whoops. Thankfully, Sherry assured us that clients of HoM are very much the kinds of people who appreciate art in progress, so when Mark yelled at the top of his lungs to get into his part, apparently it was O.K. In fact, and I love this, on any given day, if you go into the space during off hours you will likely see talented artists right there working on huge original paintings which, when completed, add to the ongoing art exhibit. Thanks to owner Hamid Kouchak, too, for allowing us to incorporate his vision into ours. It really is a unique and fascinating space.

The other star in this piece was model and actress Vanessa Lai represented by Hero Artists. I had a shopping list of attributes I was looking for when casting the female character and Vanessa fit the bill exactly. Great attitude, total team player and a great actress she captured her part perfectly, hanging in there like a trooper while the wind machine brought tears to her eyes. She even brought her own fabulous dress which made the shot. (We had dresses for her, but not as great as hers!)

Karima Sumar make-up artist from Judy Inc. brought a similarly super enthusiastic and professional attitude along with her talent and created exactly the look I had envisioned. And thanks once again to Melanie Godecki for her tireless and dedicated assisting prowess.