The Local Gallery is an art gallery in Little Italy that exclusively features works by Toronto artists.
The modern gallery is from The Local Collective, an advertising agency in Toronto that is behind a few local campaigns, and the works on display are curated by art director Pepe Bratanov.
Bratanov and the other partners opened the gallery to support local talent with the hope that Toronto will start catching up with Montreal when it comes to its saturated art scene.
Six upcoming artists in the city are currently featured on the white gallery walls, including Bratanov himself, who is the artist behind Peppy Colors. Most of the sports pieces, as well as prints, are works by Bratanov.
The pieces alternate between street and pop art, and most of them relate to either music, video games, social media, television or movies.
Bratanov’s piece in the front window will instantly be appreciated by anyone who has binged the Netflix show Squid Game. Cameras were drilled in like eyes, and an iPad used to be set up to show passersby their reactions in real time.
The adjoining window bears a 24-inch Darth Vader-like sculpture. Although it looks a bit jello, it’s actually solid resin and goes to $ 8,500 makes it the most expensive piece in the gallery.
The prints on the front all cost less than $ 1,000, while the larger paintings on the back cost somewhere between $ 1,150 and $ 3,800.
A walk through the gallery provides an entertaining experience where none of the works take themselves too seriously. Inspired by emojis with sexual insinuations are the six framed peaches from Peppy Colors.
A two-track strip of “Send” stickers leads across the floor to the other side of the room, where six frames hold different images of an eggplant.
What is aptly called the Good Vibes series used to consist of four paintings created with vibrators instead of paintbrushes. Only two of the abstract paintings remain.
Artist Jeffery Laine’s colorful paintings are intended to depict how people communicate on the Internet with mushrooms to emphasize how it can make us grow together naturally.
Native artist Ziggo incorporates LED lights into his work to mimic neon flowing from lots of storefront facades in Toronto. The black and pink piece with a neon lightning was made with dye and resin.
Right next door are Morgan Booths blue, white and red oilcloths.
The trio of incredibly detailed and intricate paintings is by artist Adam Lancia, who happens to be visually impaired. The longest of the Italian actress Sophia Loren fits particularly well considering the surrounding neighborhood.
The serialist painting that copies a Nerds Candy box is props for artist Brent Andrew Doty. Look closely to see photos of the most infamous “nerds” through history and pop culture like Bill Gates and C-3PO.
There is also a gift shop department that carries what Bratanov calls their collectibles. Unique items, including baseball caps, boxing gloves, pushpins and wallets and card holders from upcycled basketball panels, can be found on the shelves.
All gift items, including several different basketballs with artful prints, have been devised by their agency and brought to life by Bratanov or other local artists.
The rolling pieces of luggage with colorful, comic-like swear words are what they call “emotional baggage” and were originally created for an art gallery in Mississauga.