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10 Aug 2017
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ARTIST IN FOCUS: The Moose is Loose! Charles Pachter talks shop

Visual artist Charles Pachter shares the secret of his success (which is no real secret), Queen on Moose, and the art of shameless promotion.

By Guinevere Pura – Blogger, Communications Professional and Photographer

Well known Canadian artist, Charles Pachter, sometimes described as Canada’s Andy Warhol, calls himself shameless.  Why?  Because he says that signing a commercial deal with Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC)  is way more important to him than having his paintings shown at the National Gallery of Canada.

At 74, Charles Pachter, hasn’t lost any steam.  His controversial 1973 portrait of Queen Elizabeth on moose-back – satirizing Elizabeth as the queen of Canada –  gave him instant fame and shame and his sense of fun, and his vigour hasn’t slowed him down.

One of Pachter’s work on HBC’s products

 

Me and Charles, August 2017

I interviewed the artist last spring and had the opportunity to visit his downtown Toronto Studio and home, the Pachter Hall & Moose Factory this August.  Pachter produces at least 50 paintings a year, which are sold to many collectors across the country.  He was named a Member of the Order of Canada in 1999 and promoted to officer in 2011 for his outstanding achievement in the arts, and his dedication to serving his community and the country.  Despite many years of high recognition and enormous sales and praise, no Pachter painting has yet been shown at the National Gallery of Canada, and says he doesn’t care.  The curators in large galleries are of a different breed.  Perhaps the kind that may not appreciate Pachter’s sense of humour, fun or controversy expressed in some of his paintings.  Non-the-less, he is admired by art collectors and enthusiasts across the nation.

Being an artist for collectors than a national gallery helped build Pachter’s reputation among buyers and made him financially stable.  “What’s more important is that the painting matches the curtains or your couch,” he says.  His philosophy of making art for the client has steered him clear of the traditional “starving” role. And treating your art like a product rather a piece of your soul can likely feed your soul much better.  Selling a painting to a large retailer such as the Hudson’s Bay Company for example, can grant an artist a pretty penny and plenty of exposure.  It worked for Pachter.

Applying for grants and waiting for a response will not often bring financial gain, nor will it make you famous.  Promoting art like a commercial product can do both.  “Canada is not so sophisticated at making stars,” he says, commenting on the Canadian art market, “I don’t want to be the Lady Gaga of the United States and besides, it’s more fun to be a big fish in a little pond.”

 

This dedicated artist gave me three points of advice to share with emerging artists:
  1. Find a good support system. “I have my followers and people who like what I do here in Canada.”  In addition to his loyal fans, his supporting family knew he was ‘special’ and put him in art classes at age 10.  His mother often joked about the time he painted the walls with own waste as a two-year-old.  Hi Nanny was furious, he recalls. “I had nothing else to paint with.  Since then we all knew that I was going to be an artist.”
  2. “Shamelessly promote yourself by following the 10/90 rule – 10% work and 90% promotion.” Pachter is a relentless promoter and also has private agents who promote him.  Early in his career, he posted ads in the Globe and Mail and met potential clients face to face.
  3. Don’t give up. “It can take three to four decades of consistent hard work to reach even a small level of success.”

 

If artists could add a touch of Pachter’s vigour, and vitality to their portfolio, it might give them a better chance of financial gain in the tough Canadian art world.


More of Pachter’s work can be purchased by appointment at Pachter Hall & Moose Factory,

22 Grange Ave., Toronto M5T 1C7

647-239-1700


23 Jul 2015
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Artist Focus: Sculptographer, Anna Church

'Gentlewoman' Anna Church

‘Gentlewoman’
Anna Church

Sculptographer? What is that you ask? It made perfect sense when I first saw Anna Church’s work at the 20th Annual Riverdale Artwalk this past June. It made even more sense when I finally sat down with her in her Toronto home in July. Though the word hasn’t yet been put in the Oxford dictionary, it will in due course. A Sculptographer coined by one of Church’s colleagues, is a person who composes objects whether it be found or made, into a harmonious presentation, then captured by a camera – and as a trained and very skilled prop stylist, picking up a camera to shoot her work made her exactly such.

Now, why should you ask, would I be blogging about an artist on a property photography site? Anna Church’s work is a hybrid of craft and fine art. It’s conceptual as much as it is aesthetically appealing that connects with art collectors and other fine artists. And then there’s this craftsmanship that connects well with interior decorators, designers and crafts people. She walks on this fine line with such grace, it complements the two worlds of art and craft in which not many people can achieve.

And not to mention Church’s art can make a room all that more stunning. Not only for its aesthetics, but also for the emotional, intellectual and personal connection one can experience with her art. And by placing her art in a room, it can make a room all the more comfortable for the viewer.

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As a trained visual merchandiser and prop stylist myself, I was in awe by what I saw in her home. And as visual merchandisers, we are trained to create a strong visual impression once a shopper enters just three feet into a store. She nailed it for me at less than a foot: weathered metal lockers situated in her foyer, hanging buntings and a what seemed to be a nautical-type flag, a braided graphic carpet in the sitting room, and exquisite deer antlers to be used for her upcoming project.

Anna certainly lives and breathes her art and as a viewer you wouldn’t be surprise if you did the same. She doesn’t just make art for art’s sake “I like to have a concept and have meaning behind everything that I do,” Says Church, “It’s not just creation for the sake of being a creation.” Her art captures you and invites you on a nostalgic journey of memories long forgotten. This feeling of nostalgia often brings one to a safe haven or the familiarity of home. And whether the notion of home is a permanent space or not, this familiarity of ones past is brought into the present. Anna’s personality helped me become all the more comfortable in her space. Her charming personality and her passion for her craft is so apparent in the way she talks, walks and designed her home nestled in Leslieville.

She welcomed me with open arms and took me to her studio where we talked in more detail about her work. Her very first series was something she did “on the sideline” as she described it, while working as a prop stylist in New Zealand. It then morphed into a series of editions, which was an instant success.

“Finding objects is quite inspiring,” says Church, I work on my ides for quite a while,” as she mentioned that her concepts often incubates in her mind, and it gives birth nearly a year later. And the wait is all that much more worth it: bison heads, zebra and shoes, cutlery and metals – everything that one can connect to once you spend a little time ‘reading’ her art.

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“It’s awesome watching people view [my sculptographs] for the first time,” Says Church, “Especially while I’m at a booth and people walking pass and say, well it’s a bunch of metals, well [I say,] come, come over and take a closer look. And that was the surprise and wonder and experience with what I see when they go and say “ah, I get it”.” Her work is about having a narrative. Each object represents something in the picture. And as you look at each object you read a multiple of chapters that becomes not just a visual but also a literary experience.

Her art is about seeing the big picture as much as it is exploring up close to the finer details to discover another layer to her work. And by doing so, viewers, as Anna put it, “Get behind the concept and live the art.” And to have her work in a living space helps you do just that.

'Party Animal' Anna Church

‘Party Animal’
Anna Church