Since its director Sharlene Rankin opened The Telephone Booth Gallery a year and a half ago, it has become apparent to her what an artists mecca the West Toronto Junction has become.
Unbeknownst to many, painters, sculptors and photographers, among other creative types toil away at their craft in unexpected places, above retail shops, industrial warehouses - even back alleys.
"I have met many of these artists and I continue to learn about many others who have their studios nearby or live in the neighbourhood," said Rankin. "There is a wealth of creativity here."
This fact hit home for Rankin recently during an impromptu conversation with two neighbourhood artists who had popped into her gallery, situated on the north side of Dundas Street West, just east of Runnymede Road.
Both David McClyment and Tim Whiten live within steps of The Telephone Booth Gallery.
McClyment says he has walked by the gallery on several occasions and as an artist, is always interested in the new shops that pop up along the Junction's retail strip, especially galleries. McClyment found himself at the Telephone Booth one winter afternoon alongside Whiten and Rankin and discovered what a long list of artistic types live and work in the neighbourhood.
"We thought, we should do a show focusing on creative talent in the Junction," he told The Villager Wednesday, Feb. 29. "We put a bunch of names together of who could be and should be included in the show."
What materialized from that unexpected conversation was 'Local Call: A Junction Neighbours Group Exhibition,' featuring The Junction and Junction Triangle-based artists, which begins March 7 to March 31.
"I thought that this would be a great opportunity to bring together the local arts community and exhibit some of the amazing talent in the area," said Rankin.
Local Call, said Rankin, is also an opportunity to highlight the small-town-within-a-big-city feel the Junction has.
The exhibit will feature work by Shelley Adler, Marla Hlady, Katherine Knight, David Liss, Dyan Marie, Richard Mongiat, Laura Moore, Whiten and McClyment.
The works of art will be really diverse, said McClyment, a classically trained painter who is the coordinator of the Fine Arts Program at Centennial College.
Although he's a classical painter, McClyment hasn't pursued this style for years. Currently, he uses spray paint and hand-cut stencils, elaborate drawings spray painted onto plywood.
"It's like a dance I do with the materials," he said. "It's all about kind of following your nose."
He says that when he graduated from college, he couldn't afford oil paint and canvasses so he had to find something that was more affordable and faster.
"People look at it and say, 'that's really weird.' It's not what you'd say is common practice," said McClyment. "But, it's not out of the realm of what's happening in Toronto. I don't think Toronto takes second place to anywhere in the world. This is a really good place to be (as an artist)."
McClyment said he's "excited" to be a part of 'Local Call.'
"I'm honoured to be included in this company, to support this gallery," said McClyment, who has always wanted to be an artist ever since he was a kid.
The Telephone Booth Gallery can be found at 3148 Dundas St. W. Visit www.telephoneboothgallery.ca for further details.