Author | Photos Becca Lemire

Hundreds gather at a 9000 square foot studio at Wilson and Dufferin for nostalgic Saturday Morning art party

Who attends an art party at Dufferin and Wilson? Apparently, half the city.

When I received an invite to JessGo’s Saturday Morning art show, it instantly took me back to 1986: wearing my flannel jammies, plunked on the blue sofa watching Alvin and The Chipmunks in a complete daze while eating Cheerios s-l-o-w-l-y.Saturday Morning recreated this scene, but like it was on acid. Now, I know people use that turn of phrase often but this really was a psychotropic experience. Think Willy Wonka meets a 1989 rave meets The Care Bears. FUCKED UP.

Wandering into the warehouse studio, we were greeted with a fountain of bubbly milk, where you could fill your bowl with Cinnamon Toast Crunch or Lucky Charms. Tilt your head and follow the Fred Flinstone shirt fifty feet up, and you could spot the DJ blasting tunes like Video Killed the Radio Star and Bizarre Love Triangle.

Beyond the installation of an enormous T-Rex eating Sesame Street characters (???) JessGo and team had painted 75 original art pieces that showed a kind of warped version of the most notable television characters and pop-culture images from the 1980s. Betty Rubble looking more like Betty Paige, Pillsbury Dough Boy dancing in a sea of pills, Kool-Aid man leaping from the wall and a psychedelic Strawberry Shortcake that you could practically smell. (You remember that smell, right?) 

Other party favours included pancakes, cotton candy, a tree of Chupa Chups lollipops and a bed full of stuffed animals to crash on. In one corner, a grown woman posed as a child on the floor, teddy bear in hand, flipping through boardgames like Monopoly. In another, a different grown woman danced with an enormous blue teddy bear while a man roamed the crowd blowing low notes from his saxophone. WHERE WERE WE???

A well-known and much-loved artist, JessGo has collaborated with Cirque du Soleil, Holt Renfrew, Coca-Cola and TOMS shoes, to name a few. Most of the Saturday Morning paintings were listed at around $1500 and a portion of sales during the evening went towards Breakfast Club of Canada. 

We will never again be snobby about trekking to Wilson Avenue for an art show; JessGo’s opening was a wonderful reminder that this city is brimming with creativity and eccentricity in all neighbourhoods. The trip North proved to be the best time travel we’ve had in years. 

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