September 2015

Canadian Art Foundation Presents

Toronto Art Hop Panel Discussion

September 26,2015

10:30 – 11:45 a.m. Drake Underground

The Gallery Hop began with a talk exploring varying perspectives on collecting in Toronto. This panel discussion was presented as an adjunct to the Collecting Guide insert from the summer edition of Canadian Art – of which ISA and affiliates placed advertisements. All attendees were given a copy of in the Collecting Guide.

Mediated by Nicholas Brown, contributing editor for Canadian Art. The panel included art collector, gallery co-owner of Scrap Metal and co-owner of Type Books, Samara Walbohm: Wendy Gomoll and Paul Van Kooy from Paul+WendyProjects; Simon Cole, of Cooper Cole Gallery and Kelly Mark artist. Below are brief summaries of the panelist’s views on art collecting.


With backgrounds in English literature and Journalism, Samara and her partner Joe Schlesinger, began collecting photography and works by lesser-known historical Canadian women painters. Through relationships with gallerists, artists and the arts community built over 20 years of acquiring, their knowledge and taste for art collecting has evolved greatly. Through their international travels to galleries, both Samara and her partner became aware of the unsung talent in their home country and became strong proponents and collectors of Canadian art and artists, yet to be given international or even national attention. The establishment of their gallery Scrap Metal came from a need for art storage for their personal collection and is now known for exhibiting conceptual and large scale installations by Canadian and international artists.

Wendy and Paul:

Co-owners of a business promoting, and creating limited edition artworks, came from a desire to collect works by artists they admired but could always afford to purchase. Their background in photography and graphic arts established their interest in collecting art. Spearheaded by working with Paul Butler over many years and then branching out on their own, their company has grown through the building of relationships in the artists community – a common thread with all the panelists. Their commitment to making art accessible and affordable to all is the centre of their business. The largest edition is 100 but often work with multiples of 10 – 75 depending on the complexity of the artwork and the collaboration of the creator.

Advice from Wendy and Paul: How to buy multiples:

They are meant to be affordable and accessible not so much as a financial investment but as an investment in an artist and the buyer’s desire. That said, a sold out limited edition run from will create interest and therefore value.

Always buy work signed, numbered and from a reputable dealer.

Simon Cole:

Simon Cole of Cooper Cole Gallery does not have a background in the arts. His interest in graphics began as a youth tied into his passion for skateboarding. This interest was cultivated by his first job in high school in a printing firm which produced Rock and Roll posters.

His first purchase in his 20’s, was a silkscreen on wood panel by Shepherd Fairey – unknown then but well established now. Cole sold that work to purchase a new up and comer Jose Parla who now has international success. Clearly an eye for good investments comes easy for Cole. Simon Cole believes strongly in collecting in depth – purchasing multiple works from the same artist over their career. Cole is a strong advocate of supporting and investing in artists and the arts community for reasons beyond financial gain. Cole is an international as well as Canadian buyer and seller and he feels the best way to do this is to participate in international art fairs.

Kelly Mark:

As an artist, Mark is focused on her process and creation of works and her career has grown with the support of her peers, with her first sale just out of school. Her work encompasses all media except painting and her exhibits are based on an idea, concept or theme relevant to her and her response. Her upcoming show at Diaz will be all about getting older lamenting at turning 52 with the effects of aging upon her. She enjoys making multiples, as they allow her to price the early editions at affordable prices for her loyal collectors. The price increases as the edition closes. Regarding selling video art, private collectors tend to purchase video art without sound and dialogue. Public museums and corporations will not shy away from purchasing video art with a soundtrack. She will create art specifically for a collector – whether private, public or corporation – all requiring different sensibilities.


The panel was a good introduction to young Toronto collectors, their experience and passions.

All the panelists purchase their art from various means. Simon Cole takes full advantage of investigating and purchasing through the Internet. Samara and partner purchase art from various venues including studio visits, art fairs, and galleries and appreciate the added plus of building personal relationships. Toronto artist Micah Lexier was mentioned often and seems to have had a profound influence on the panelists and the business of art. It is clear that the panelists involved display a strong commitment to the support of Canadian artists regardless of the vagaries of the ‘art market’.




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