Friday, April 23, 2010

Toronto Artist Shaun Downey chosen to exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery in London, England

Engine Gallery artist Shaun Downey's work "Blue Coco" has been chosen as part of the BP Portrait Award 2010 to be exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery in London, England from June 24th - September 19th, 2010. The award is the most prestigious portrait competition in the world. Only 55 portraits are chosen from nearly 2000 submissions.

Over the past 30 years the portrait competition has been a catalyst for the careers of many significant artists, and is the gallery's most attended exhibition. Last year's exhibit was attended by over 280,000 visitors.

Shaun's work is Influenced by the great painter/story-tellers of the past including Vermeer and Norman Rockwell, Shaun says he "strives to breath fresh life into Realist painting by infusing images from (his) own life with classical ideas and modern cultural references."

Shaun studied at Sheridan College and under Michael John Angel at Angel Studios who was running a school in Toronto at the time in conjunction with his renowned school in Florence.

Shaun says "I visited the National Portrait Gallery in October and was excited to see one of Pietro Annigoni's portraits of the Queen. Annigoni is a great hero and part of my academic lineage, so to show in the same gallery as the master and the many other painters I admires is a true honour.”

After several years of successful representation at the Toronto International Art Fair and through a prestigious gallery in Yorkville, Shaun has recently moved to Engine Gallery in the Historical Distillery District.

For more information on the BP Portrait Award 2010 please visit

BP Portrait Award 2010 Exhibition Schedule

National Portrait Gallery. June 24-September 19 2010
Usher Gallery, Lincoln. September -November, 2010.
Aberdeen Art Gallery. November 27 2010 -January 22 2011

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

AGO Massive

ENGINE Gallery owner Steven Schwartz and I (Mandy Cheetham) attended the AGO massive for the first time this year. While we were happy to be contributing to such a worthy cause we had no idea we would have such a great time!

Upon our arrival we were thrilled to see so many people had dressed in the 20's style to match the speakeasy theme. While the rest of the crowd rocked their fedoras the always-original Steve had intuitively chosen to stand out in a baseball cap and funky button down.

There must have been nearly 3000 guests over the three floors of the gallery. The basement was our favourite - with the band Tanika Charles and the Wonderfuls and a wicked female DJ who's name I can't recall (please message if you know her name) - we danced until the last note of the last song.

As it is at the best Toronto parties we were lucky enough to run into some good friends including Carl Lyons, Michelle De Los Santos, Steven Levy, and clients Ron Masil and Natasha Dobrina. Ron took the fantastic photos including this one of Natasha and Steve.

It was a last minute decision to go, and we are so glad we did. We'll be back again next year with more friends to support the AGO and their MASSIVE event.