Something cutting edge is hitting the Toronto Art scene. A large scale multi-media art event showcasing Toronto’s best artistic talent.
RAW: Natural Born Artists is an independent arts organization, for artists, by artists. They are an international community made up of creative individuals from across the globe. RAW currently operates in nearly 60 cities across the United States, Australia, Canada and London, with their head office located in Los Angeles. The organization is a hit in Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver and Calgary. Their mission is to provide independent artists within the first 10 years of their career with the tools, resources and exposure needed to inspire and cultivate their creativity. All genres of art are welcome including independent film, fashion, music, visual art, performing art, hairstylists, makeup artists and more. They encourage the creative success of the many visionaries and storytellers of this generation.
Breakaway Daily got the chance to speak with Michelle Bylow, the SENSORY Showcase Director for RAW Toronto. The fruits of her labor will all come together at the SENSORY showcase on Friday, May 22, 2015 at 8 pm at the Mod Club Theatre in Toronto.
Michelle possess an extensive background in performance, music, graphic design, fashion design and event creation and was the owner of a major gallery in downtown Toronto. She has spent months hand selecting every artist that will be performing at
the SENSORY event that will feature over 40 artists in music, visual arts, fashion, performing art, hair, makeup, accessory design and photography. Audience members will get to see the best of Toronto’s talents to include live hair and makeup, live painting, runway shows, live music and performance artists. Each event is interactive and engaging; and every artist has something very unique and special planned at the event. The audience will also have the opportunity to purchase works directly from the artists.
Breakaway Daily Interview with Michelle Bylow, Showcase Director and Curator.
BREAKAWAY DAILY: What is so cool and
unique about this event is that it is not just an ‘art exhibit’ in every sense
of the word, but it features artists doing LIVE work – in RAW form.
MICHELLE: RAW shows feature talent in visual art,
photography, hair and makeup, performance art, music, film, fashion and
accessory design. It is very rare to
have all of these disciplines involved in one show. People are accustomed to going to a music
event to hear live music or a gallery show to see visual art, but not used to
going to a show where you have the opportunity to see all of these. The shows are snappy and exciting for the
audience. They get the opportunity to
meet the artists and buy work directly from them saving on the regular gallery
fees. Unique additions to the RAW shows
are the hair and makeup artists who usually are paired with a fashion designer
not having their work celebrated as art but rather a utilitarian tool. At the SESNORY showcase we will have hair and
makeup artists doing their craft live on models throughout the evening.
Will all the artists be doing their live work at the same time or on set schedules?
We have a production schedule for those artists
who will be performing on the stage (music, performance art and fashion). Makeup and hair artists will take turns having
their models on elevated pedestals throughout the evening. The performances on the stage start at 8:40pm
and end at midnight with a DJ spinning until 2:00am. There won’t be a moment during the SENSORY
showcase where there isn’t something to do.
We want the audience to be engaged and entertained! The visual art and accessory design display
will be up all evening.
BREAKAWAY DAILY: Since there are so many types of
art and different art mediums being showcased at RAW how does that get
MICHELLE: The SENSORY
showcase has taken over 2 months to organize.
I have scouted and found the very best of the best in every
discipline. RAW headquarters in LA has
provided me with the information and backing necessary for putting on an
amazing event. They operate in over 60
cities world-wide and have the system completely ironed out! It has taken hundreds of phone calls and
emails and I am excited to see all of the hard work come together on May 22nd!
BREAKAWAY DAILY: How do you and the artists prepare
for a show like this?
MICHELLE: For me it is daily
promoting and organizing, speaking to artists and the venue and making sure
every small detail is planned. The
artists are all busy making new work, planning their performances, practicing
and promoting. We are excited to see all
the artists RAW it at the show!
BREAKAWAY DAILY: You are no stranger to the visual arts scene. You owned and operated contemporary galleries in downtown Toronto – Moniker Gallery and Moniker Studios. How has your background in visual
arts prepared you for this new role as Showcase Director for RAW Toronto?
MICHELLE: Defiantly owning and operating Moniker Gallery
has given me the tools to step into this role rather seamlessly. At Moniker Gallery I curated mostly visual
art shows, but also hosted dance, music and multi-media events. Drawing on the contacts and great artists
that I had worked with at Moniker has really helped me with the planning and
curating of the SESNORY show.
BREAKAWAY DAILY: What goes into planning an event
MICHELLE: Wow. That is a big question with a big
answer. The first phase is scouting and
finding the artists that I want to participate.
We have artists apply on RAWartists.org so not all artists need to be “found”. I spent a lot of time contacting artists and
researching to find the best of the best.
Once the scouting phase is over, we go into production. This involves planning out the layout of the
visual artists and accessory designers in venue, ironing out tech details on
stage and of course promoting and getting the word out there. I am a bit of a control freak and
perfectionist so I like to have every detail ironed out. This takes a long time but is always worth it
in the end!
BREAKAWAY DAILY: How do you go about selecting the
artists that will be featured and perform at the event?
MICHELLE: I look at all the artists who apply on our website. I look
at examples of their work, previous performances, etc. It is really important to RAW to have high
quality artists showcased at all our events.
Each showcase is limited to 40 artists, so narrowing down the field to
40 was really difficult. I also “scout”
artists. By this I mean I find artists
that are exceptional at what they do and contact them directly. It is overwhelming how many talented artists
are located in Toronto! I attend events
and am constantly looking online. In
order to stay cutting edge it is important to be as much involved in the
Toronto art scenes as possible.
BREAKAWAY DAILY: For folks who have not yet had the pleasure to
attend a RAW event, what can they expect?
MICHELLE: Snappy, fun and
awe-inspiring! Every inch of the
beautiful Mod Club will have art oozing out of it! To have such a large amount and talent and
creativity under one roof and one time is exciting! You can sip on a glass wine, wander around to
look at the visual artists and accessory designers. Catch of glimpse of live hair and makeup and
then focus on the stage for a music show, performance artists or fashion
runway. Expect to be entertained by Toronto’s
To learn more about RAW: Natural Born Artists, visit: rawartists.org
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