The title in itself has an interesting perception to it, because this event isn’t something for everyone; art is for everyone, but not everyone enjoys the same art. This is what happens when you put different perspectives and mediums into one room. Whether they’re showing off videos, photography, abstract art or vintage styled paintings, there’s a bit of something for everyone, and just about every walk of life was in attendance.
This event was conjured up by 2 friends, whom are also DIY filmmakers. One of them, Isiah Blake, I’ve known since I was child, and I caught up with him and Jordan Oram to discuss how this all came about.
Me: What Is ‘This Is Not For You?’
Isiah Blake: ‘This Is Not For You’ is an art collective who would like to push their art and get it into the Toronto community. We started as, me being a film director, wanting to be able to have my work seen with a larger audience, and I thought that bringing a collective together could allow new people to introduce themselves to my work. I just wanted to get further.
Me: What were your expectations when you started it, and have you met and/or exceeded them?
IB: I kind of thought that I wasn’t going to get that many people out to the show, but I did always think that if I could get at least 1 person to see my film, I’d be happy. This definitely exceeded my expectations of what I actually wanted. I just wanted at least 1 person to see my film, and I’ve had way more people than I ever wanted, seeing my film, seeing it now.
Me: The artists that you have contributing to the show, how did you gather them all up?
IB: We know a lot of them through mutual friends; friends being at OCAD; we just had friends who wanted to be a part of the show, wanted to get their work out with the same type of inspiration that we had. They decided to hit us up; we hit them back, and we just decided to make the show.
Me: What’s your role and contribution to ‘This Is Not For You?’
Jordan Oram: This Is Not For You is curated by Isiah Blake and myself, and I’m also a visual contributor to the film that we’re doing. It’s called ‘Do’ – It’s a Donut film; abstract visual art. It’s kind of inspired by the lackadaisical effort to finish anything. It’s more so of just a person sitting down with the enthusiasm of eating donuts; it doesn’t matter what he’s doing, he’s finishing something, even if it’s a box of donuts.
Me: What do you guys want out of this event, cultural wise?
JO: Personally, what I want to see from this, I want to see a grown collective come out together and exhibit what Toronto has to offer. As a collective, we believe that Toronto has a very strong abstract artistic behaviour; we just wanted to create a platform, so for this, it’s just more of something that we’re giving an opportunity to anybody and everybody that’s interested in being ambitious and completing a task that’s art.
IB: I feel like there are so many movements. Like, let’s say there’s Feminism – there’s just women involved with that movement. I just wanted to bring every different type of person together and get their work out there, where there’s like, there’s a Feminist in there, her work could be seen by someone who doesn’t like feminist kind of things, so culturally, I would love for my work to be seen by people who would never ever see my work. I feel like it works because we bring a totally different group towards our art, and it’s a great experience. I really love the fact that we’re getting it out there.
Me: Judging by the crowds, from the first event and this one, you get a completely broad perspective in terms of different people. They’re people from Scarborough or Queen West, and they’re from everywhere else. How does that make you feel when you see so many different people in one room gathered to see you and your friends’ art?
IB: Well, Jordan and I always speak about this because we come from an area where we don’t really get to expand out; potentially, if we stayed in our area, we would never see any of these people who came out to our gallery today. Man, it just makes me really happy to know that I actually could expand to a different type of group to see and talk to other people, because I never had that opportunity growing up.
JO: I think it’s crazy to see that it ranges in age groups from 18-60, and all different genres. You have hipsters, models, fashionistas, bloggers, journalists, owners, operators, and curators all in the same place; all celebrating something that we say is not for them. It bleeds into the culture of what we’re trying to anticipate and it’s an everlasting grateful feeling.
Me: Looking at all of this: the people, the artwork, and the turn outs, how does that set up future events in terms of what else you could bring to the table as far as getting bigger and better?
JO: Me and Isiah are both filmmakers at last; we’re DIY [Do It Yourself] so I like to do everything with people that I like to do it with.
IB: I’m taking it one step at a time. I kind of just wanted to see my film on a big screen. As DIY filmmakers, we don’t get the opportunity to be played at TIFF or a really large theatre, because of the fact that they don’t want to see most of the DIY films, so the fact that I get to show my film on a large screen, it just makes me happy. Right now I just feel like it’s a great experience to even have this. The fact that Bruno, the gallery owner, opened the doors for us to use The Brockton [Collective Inc.], it just makes me really, really happy. I never thought I could ever have this opportunity to be able to see my work on a large screen or a large wall. I’m taking it a step at a time, I’m not sure how far it’s going to take me, but as of right now, I’m just happy where it is.
Also, part of the show, was another childhood friend of mine, Brandonn Martin. He was the artist of our building when we were growing up, and he took it the furthest by going to art school and really got into wanting to paint/draw as a career. I caught up with him as well, as he contributed to the first show, and the most recent.
Me: What does TINFY mean to you?
Brandonn Martin: To me, it means a platform for gathering young talented artists in Toronto, no matter what your art form, whether it’s visual or even culinary. Just to set the standard and have a platform for artists to come together, network, merge, and clash. We have a diverse city, we have diverse talent, so it only makes sense to try and harness it.
Me: Why did you get involved with it?
BM: I love art. Art is how I plan to make my living, but I’m also about bringing others together. I’d rather put others on and see them get on, because I could be in any show, but I’ll be gladly to fall back to promote their work if I feel it’s stronger than mine. I’ll feel no way to promote it.
Me: Looking into the future, where do you see TINFY growing, potentially?
BM: Some nice ass galleries with hardwood floors; wine and cheese; suits and prestige, and we just go on easy and we have big money on the table where we get big time sponsors that want to see what we’re doing that we’re really making an impact, and we’re going to spearhead this art movement, because we don’t have an art movement in TDot. Not until right now – This Is Not For You.
Me: Explain your piece that you have on display tonight
BM: The Ororo Munroe; Storm’s looking all sensual, seductive, and powerful. It’s really about a play on misogyny and femme fatale, like what is misogynistic and what’s femme fatale? Where do we have the borderline? Why should we even set the borderline? Why can’t people represent themselves however they want to? Why is that even a conversation? Why can’t we just look at someone like ‘yeah, that person’s doing their thing?’ We have to look at it, categorize it, figure it out what it is, and then put it together.
I’m glad that people that I’ve grown up with, and shared the humble beginnings, have grown to branch out into different areas of their passionate pursuits much like I have. It brings me great joy to see what they’re doing, and the fact that we all started from the same place, it’s a great sense of pride right now, and going forward (SST – 3847). This is unlike any event I’ve been to in the city, where the designation is usually geared towards one particular genre of people. This is a event that has the potential to be something really big as time goes forward, and I can’t wait to see what advances it makes. Be sure to check out the next one if you missed the first two.
That’s My Word & It STiXX