#WeWantToKnow: Claire Taylor, Director of the Artist Project
I’ve been attending the Artist Project Contemporary Art Fair every year in February since 2015, and on my first visit to the exhibition I discovered an artist who is now one of my favourite abstract painters. I was introduced to so many other new (and new-to-me) artists, and I love returning each year to continue discovering up-and-coming talent and to browse the various mediums of art on display. I’m especially looking forward to this year’s fair because I had the chance to meet with and get to know the Artist Project’s Show Director, Claire Taylor, and hear about what’s new this year and all that goes into producing an outstanding show. It’s my pleasure to introduce you to Claire!
Claire’s family, originally from Toronto, Canada, moved to Switzerland when she was ten years old, and traveled Europe extensively while living there. Her parents often took her to museums and old churches, and she gives credit to these experiences for developing a love and appreciation of art in her. Despite this upbringing, she didn’t expect to pursue a career in art and Claire enrolled in business at McGill University with a minor in art history… though she quickly realized that art was her first love, and immediately switched her major to art history. She followed up her bachelor’s degree with a Master of Arts that she studied at University College of London. On her return to Canada, she took a position working at the Corkin Gallery in Toronto’s historic Distillery District, and she loved her time there for the opportunity it gave her to travel all over the world, attending international art fairs from Art Basel in Switzerland to Art Basel Miami, from the Armory Show to Art Chicago. The opportunity to see so much art on a global scale and to be surrounded by the masses of people who attend them is what really solidified her love for art fairs, so when her dream scenario to work with the Artist Project came about eight years ago, Claire jumped at the chance, and she has been director of the show each year since. Claire maintains her gallery roots, too — for the last four years, she has worked with Art Toronto (a sister fair to Artist Project) as their Director of VIP Relations.
Claire is deeply passionate about art in its many forms, but it is especially moving to hear her speak about the artists behind the art. She is in awe of Canada’s talented artists, and the best part of her job is getting to work directly with them (250 artists exhibit their works at the show). Her favourite element of the show itself is Untapped - a designated area of the exhibition for 20 emerging artists who are current art students, recent graduates, or self-taught artists who have been selected to showcase their work in booths provided to them at no cost. It warms her heart to see a new generation of artists launching their careers, and is grateful that she can offer a platform to aid them. Claire works directly with the artists throughout the year, but seeing them at the show where everything they’ve worked towards has come together is an especially proud moment for her.
The Artist Project is an art fair with a relaxed vibe - it’s accessible, fun and friendly, and the art is reasonably priced (the majority of pieces range on average from $500-$2,000, but can be as low as $50 and as high as $10,000). Buying art can be tricky and a little overwhelming, so where exactly do you begin?! Claire advises not to worry about buying art-as-investment as the motivating factor - start with buying what you love. And, like anything else, buying art just takes practice, so get out there and see as much as you can and train your eye to recognize what you like. Start your art journey (or continue it!) by making a visit to the Artist Project, taking place at the Better Living Center in Exhibition Place from February 22-25, 2018. Get your tickets here. I’ll be there looking for my next new favourite artists!
Want more? Here’s what #WeWantToKnow about Claire:
I can’t start my morning without… a smoothie - I love coming up with different recipes. Also, a pilates session on the weekend and of course coffee!
I have a weakness for… organic skincare, fresh flowers, travel, Aperol Sprintz and Chanel!
Most people don’t know that I… grew up in Switzerland and moved 8 times before I settled in Toronto.
Currently reading… The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking. My husband is Danish Canadian and this season has been all about lots of cozy candlelit dinners!
I want… To inspire others to live a life filled with art and creativity!
Thank you Claire, for participating in #WeWantToKnow! See you at the fair!
#WeWantToKnow is a series published on behalf of Wantfolio Group for Want.Canada and showcases and supports the leaders and talent in the Canadian creative arts community. Visit Want.Canada for all Canadian news, blogs, photo sharing & messaging.