18 Mar 2010

Two Israeli Artists, Two Worlds of Arts (5)

Posted by Moshe Mikanovsky

This is the fifth installment in the series of articles I am writing for Shalom Toronto, the local weekly newspaper in the Hebrew and English languages, printed in 17,000 copies and distributed free of charge for the entire Jewish and Israeli community in Toronto and the area.  This week I decided to focus on couples of artists who are making Jewish related art, and more specifically, art for the upcoming holiday of Passover. The first is ceramic artist Dorit Shelef, and the second, is myself. Following is the English version of the article. You can also check the PDF version of the English and Hebrew articles as published in Shalom Toronto, as well as download the entire paper from Shalom Toronto’s site 
 

Two Israeli Artists, Two Worlds of Art (Part 5)
By Moshe Mikanovsky
Shalom Toronto, March 18 2010

The Israeli Artists Group of Greater Toronto brings together Israeli artists in different disciplines of visual arts, to work, socialize and enhance the Israeli and Jewish culture in Toronto. In this series of articles, we will open a window to some of our artists who live and work in our midst.

With the smells of spring in the air, and the hectic preparations we see all around us for the coming Pesach holiday, I wanted to introduce to you couple of artists that create Judaica artwork in new and contemporary styles, including Passover art. The first, is potter Dorit Shelef.

Dorit immigrated to Canada 8 years ago with her family. Being a pottery artist in Israel was natural and directly connected with her formal education in the arts. But when she moved to Toronto, Dorit almost gave up on her art and passion. Being a stranger in a new place, dealing with everything new – language, friends, kids’ schools, even the unfamiliarity with the local art scene – Dorit took some time off to expand her growing family. Once the baby grew up a bit, and with the many encouragements she received from her new friends, Dorit decided to rebuild her artistic career.

She opened “Out of Clay”, out of her basement studio in Thornhill, and started making one of a kind hand crafted practical, yet highly decorative, Judaica items. The pomegranate is a repeating motif in her work, representing one of the fruits of the land of Israel, a Rosh Hashana symbol and seasonal fruit, full with seeds symbolizing fertility and abundance of good-deeds. Another beautiful feature of her unique designs are intricate lace-like patterns, delicately glazed to mimic the feel and texture of the real thing.

Dorit Shelef, 3 Pomegranates and a trey, Clay, 2”x2”x”2 each

Dorit Shelef, 3 Pomegranates and a trey, Clay, 2”x2”x2" each

For the upcoming holiday, Dorit created a series of several Seder Plate designs. Through these, and the other artifacts she creates and sell throughout the Jewish yearly cycle, Dorit feels her deep connection to her roots, to her beloved Israel, and the extended family and friends, the community in which she dwells. She participate in many art and craft fairs, such as Artzy, the art and music event organized by Hillel of Toronto last week. 

Dorit Shelef, Passover Seder Plate, Clay, 13” Diameter

Dorit Shelef, Passover Seder Plate, Clay, 13” Diameter

 The second artist I would like to introduce this week is…. myself. Yes, I am not used to writing about myself, but I am also one of the Israeli Artists Group of Toronto, and I would love to share with you some of my background and passion for the arts, and personal insights into the group and its activity in Toronto.  

I was born and raised in Israel, and moved to Canada in 2002, after spending 6 years in Detroit, Michigan. My day job involves in computer sciences, mainly software development management, in which I try to utilize my creative side. But my passion, the one I breathe during the day and dream about at night, is in the arts. Since I was a kid I always loved painting. My artistic productivity had ups and downs, based on how busy I was with daily life, but I never stopped dreaming.  

Zodiac Ketubah - Our Sign

2odiac Ketubah - Our Sign

Few years ago, after seeing some of my artwork, a good friend suggested I would contact KetubahKetubah, a local company who sells Ketubahs online to clients all over the world. Since then, I have designed for KetubahKetubah about 10 unique Ketubahs, which are sold as Giclee prints. One of the latest designs is a first of its kind in the world of Ketubahs – in the Zodiac Ketubah, the couple can choose their Zodiac signs and embed them into the artwork, all done electronically and customized especially for them. In the past year I have licensed my art to the UJA of Greater Toronto for their Holidays Tribute Cards, as well as opened an online store on Zazzle on which I sell many products featuring my artwork. For example, this Passover season, you can find Passover aprons, customizable binders for Passover Recipes or Haggadas, and even Kosher for Passover stickers.  

Passover, Watercolors, 6''x8'', 2010

Passover, Watercolors, 6''x8'', 2010

My love for art doesn’t stop at painting. I love learning and trying new mediums, and putting them together in interesting ways. For example, I love working with stained glass, etching, linocut prints, acrylics and more. I also love writing about art and artists, as you see, and hopefully enjoyed, in this series of articles. Through the membership with the Israeli Artists Group, I have met many special people, who help each other in many ways. Our mutual love to Israel, the Jewish and Israeli community, and the art process, we share between us all art and non-art events, calls for action, opportunities, tips, word-of-mouth – like any social group with similar values, yet diverse membership, do.  

Dorit’s pottery can be viewed on her website at www.outofclay.com. Dorit appears in many art shows throughout the year and also sell from her home office. Her annual Home Boutique sale happens just before Rosh Hashanah. To contact Dorit for an appointment please call 416 659 6194 or send an email to dshelef@gmail.com  

Moshe’s paintings can be viewed on his website www.mikanovsky.comfrom which his blog and Zazzle store can be reached. Moshe’s Giclee Ketubahs can be purchased at Ketubah.com (a link is available from Moshe’s site). Moshe also accept Ketubah and Bar/Bat Mitzva portrait commissions. To contact Moshe please call  416 525 1350 or email to moshe@mikanovsky.com.   

Both Dorit and Moshe will be participating in the Israeli Artists Group show in May 15-18 at the MacDonald House, 121 Centre Street, Thornhill.  

Moshe Mikanovsky is a member of the Israeli Artists Group of Greater Toronto (moshe@mikanovsky.com, www.mikanovsky.com)  

Artist Interview, Hebrew

Artist Interview, Hebrew

Artist Interview, English

Artist Interview, English

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