Published in National Post. [Toronto magazine, Aug. 16, 2008],
Pushing their buttons
The art world was all about getting pinned
The art world met the trading world at Lennox Contemporary Gallery on Aug. 8 at the third annual One Inch Punch show. With 50 original one-inch button designs, ranging from a portrait of Abraham Lincoln to Stephen Harper shooting lasers from his eyes, the show provided attendees with the opportunity to buy a random set of five original buttons and then trade their favourite buttons with each other.
"It makes art accessible for everyone because you can spend $5 for art on a button," said Christine Mullen, one of the 50 artists in the show. "And with these buttons you have an excuse to talk. You get to meet people in the art world, which is really hard to do otherwise."
Curated by the four-person Les Robots collective, the show was inspired by a similar event that happens annually in Vancouver. Initially skeptical about the show's potential for success in Toronto, this year, Les Robots received between 175 and 200 original button design submissions from places as far away as Australia and Dubai. Having whittle down the submission to 50, the group made 4o copies of each button available for sale.
"Last year, we sold out by 11," said Stephanie Dacosta of Les Robots. "So we bumped it up a little bit this year."
With DJ Coco Bryce supplying the tunes, attendees and artists were unable to resist trading fever. For Daniela Syrovy, who had her Sesame Street-inspired button design accepted, the show provided instant gratification for her work.
"Every artist starts with five, but my button happens to be really hot," she said. "Everyone wants the Bert and Ernie, so I traded it up instantly. People were offering me two or three buttons for one; it was fierce."
Although there were more than a few attendees who were unable to make a trade for their favourite buttons, it was impossible to escape the jocular atmosphere of the show. As Syrovy said, "It's so much fun. It brings you back to being a kid trading stickers or marbles. It's a great icebreaker."
Link to story in National Post here.