Studio Beat Makes Art Accessible

Studio Beat is a fantastic publication that focuses on artists and their spaces, in Toronto and beyond. We caught up with Executive Editor (and Co-Founder) Jess Bloom to find out more.

Kent Monkman shot by Courtney Vokey

Kent Monkman shot by Courtney Vokey

She Does The City: What was the impetus behind starting Studio Beat?

Jess Bloom: Studio Beat is a website project that showcases artists in their spaces. We wanted to clear away all the dry art speak to make the artists more human and accessible. If you don’t know anything about art, you’re getting a personal introduction to notable artists. If you already love these artists, the interviews are a fresh look at their studio practice and process.

Mie Olise shot by Matt Lundy

Mie Olise shot by Matt Lundy

SDTC: How do you select artists to feature?

JB: We’ve interviewed artists from Toronto to Copenhagen from a variety of disciplines and levels. It’s a carefully curated process that highlights artists we love and want our readers to learn more about.

Alex McLeod shot by Courtney Vokey

Alex McLeod shot by Courtney Vokey

What’s surprising about Toronto’s art scene?

On the surface, the Toronto art scene can look intimidating and insular. If you take the plunge, however, you’ll find that it’s full of incredibly warm and supportive people. Go to gallery openings and ask dumb questions. You might be surprised by how generous people with their answers. Plus, where there’s art, there’s usually wine. Just don’t be a total nightmare.

Kolbeinn Hulgi shot by Matt Lundy

Kolbeinn Hulgi shot by Matt Lundy

What is the biggest challenge facing the majority of Toronto-based artists, in your opinion?

To be honest, it comes down to money. Toronto rent is incredibly high and it’s difficult on an artist budget. An artist’s personal finances control the production of art and can alter their approach to the type of work their making. They can get too focused on making work that sells. In Montreal, a place with low rental costs, there’s more performance, video and installation work–i.e. artist practices that don’t generate as much revenue.

Stephen Andrews shot by Courtney Vokey

Stephen Andrews shot by Courtney Vokey

How can people get more involved with supporting their local arts scene?

There are so many art events in the city, from big art fairs like Art Toronto to weekly gallery openings. Stop watching Netflix and get out there. It’s way more interesting. Make sure you read up on the artists before the event for an enriched experience.

Seripop shot by Marlon Kuhnreich

Seripop shot by Marlon Kuhnreich

What does the future hold for Studio Beat? 

We’ve been expanding like crazy—more writers, photographers and artists. With new people on-board, we can do a better job at covering events in the city. Also, our co-founder just moved to NYC so we’ll be featuring more interviews from New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and Boston.

 Kay Walkowiak shot by Cari Pittillo

Kay Walkowiak shot by Cari Pittillo

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