What is a ‘cult classic’? A true cult film is a movie (or TV show) that has acquired a cult following. The rarefied media is known for inspiring a passionate fanbase, and growing a subculture that engages in repeated viewings, even reenacting the best parts, and speaking dialogue aloud especially during the transcending moments of the story. Cult films and cult classic TV shows inspire people to act in different ways, and over time these documents precipitate change in our society. Thelma and Louise (1991) is a twenty four year old cult classic film starring Susan Sarandon that still inspires women today. Logan’s Run (1976) is an idyllic sci-fi future with one major drawback: life must end at 30. Deliverance (1972) shows us Burt Reynolds and Ned Beatty experiencing the American back-country as ‘outsiders’, and anyone who sees the film will never forget what it means to ‘squeal like a piggy’.
Inspired by this list of 100 top cult classic films a top Toronto advertising agency issued a unique challenge to local artists via the Hashtag Gallery website and event venue located downtown at 801 Dundas St W. Months ago the agency bosses declared that Hashtag would hold a show and they would in turn be purchasing the best piece of submitted art for $500, as decided by the crowd using online voting conducted in advance of the show.
Thurs Nov 6th 2014 was Opening Night for the Cult Classics Group Show at Hashtag Gallery and now hanging on the wall are over ninety pieces of art, submitted by thirty six different artists. The evening’s celebration brought out many of the artists and their most enthusiastic followers from all across our city’s thriving arts community. Even though the weather that night in Toronto was terrible, and the street outside the venue was closed due to T.T.C. track repair, the gallery was still very busy; everyone knew the art on the walls of that Gallery was going to be excellent.
With a mandate to find and foster up-and-coming artists, Hashtag schedules these Open Calls for Art every three months, and they allow business sponsors to pick the themes. Over the last two years the establishment has gained a lot of attention because of this smart mix of social media and business sponsorship. This short term partnership enables them to offer much healthier prize incentives for group show participation. This transforms the otherwise passive display of art into a heated and frenetic online contest that’s conducted entirely beforehand, in anticipation of the live show, using online voting mechanism on their website. In this case, dozens of local artists seized upon the opportunity to have their art declared ‘Best in Show’ and hung in a Toronto ad agency office.
Art Director Graeme Luey is also the Creative Director of Baboon Attack Studios since May 2005 to present (9 years 7 months), which is a small Toronto design company working the print & digital graphic design field to help clients with full design solutions in any area.
John Hollick is the Events Director at Hashtag, and its his job to meet with events planners and other concerns looking to book the room for private events or as a lunch room for film crews shooting in the neighborhood, or even cool private events such as cocktail parties, movie screenings, and receptions. On this Thursday night, John’s name was also listed among the exhibitors with two paintings in the show.
Here’s Claire Mathieson Bronster posing beside one of her ‘Sixes’. All her art had the theme of ‘6’ in the title concept or character name. The first picture was the most obscure, the male character from The Prisoner and then the character from the new Battlestar Galactica and then of course there was Six from that James Bond movie…
Nikkie Stinchcombe of Little Paper Forest is a familiar face at Hashtag Gallery. She frequently submits art to the seasonal Group Shows. Here she is again beside her Sailor Moon inspired creation made from cut paper and glue. Currently based in Oakville, Ontario, Nikki is embarking on a promising career as a freelance illustrator. and looks for opportunities to do pencil sketches, make collages and she most particularly enjoys hand crafting innovative and often very elaborate paper pop-ups for children’s books.
Here’s Jackie Belonzo with her sister at the show. Jackie presented a piece called “I Skeletor” which is a combination of The Punisher logo and a Happy face.
Which Cult Classic Film Homage Was Judged Best in Show?
With over 7500 electronic votes cast, Chris Austin’s piece ‘Big Lebowski’ captured 28% of the vote, about 2000 thumbs up, which dwarfed the closest rival, another woodcut showing cult classic images which got 21% of the score.
Chris Austin is a self taught visual artist best known for his work painting on reclaimed wooden surfaces and found objects – he makes great works of art that are even more breathtaking when the beholder realizes the canvas or wooden surface was rescued, restored and revitalized by the artists. Chris Austin’s art won the Best In Show and will be procured by the agency. The actual winner is the painting on the left which depicts John Goodman in the cult classic The Big Lebowski. The piece on the right shows Johnny Depp playing Raoul Duke the journalist searching for the American Dream in the 1998 cult classic Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas based on the book by Hunter S Thompson and the common denominator here is the yellow hunting glasses which is a beautiful effect that Chris has mastered.
There are pieces of all sizes for sale in the gallery until Dec 2014. All artwork is priced under $300, and many pieces would be considered good investments for your home or cottage. Custom cardboard boxes from Colt Paper are available for return shipping. If you’re in Toronto, come by the gallery and see if your favourite cult film or TV show is represented in the collection.
801 Dundas Street West
Toronto, Ontario M6J 1V2
T: 416.861.1866 | C: 905.616.8658
T: 416.861.1866 | C: 416.998.4764
All Images Are © Robert Campbell
Robert Campbell Artist Bio
Rob Campbell is a freelance nature writer and author living in Toronto, Canada. Son of a beekeeper, Rob is keenly interested in using technology to improve conservation and the preservation of our natural world; he funds projects that use gadgets to study and improve the lives of insects (honeybees) and animals around us, especially those unfortunate creatures that are, like so many of us humans, stuck living in the city.
Rob is actively involved in Toronto’s rich cultural art scene.
Blog / Website: http://smojoe.com/