If you have been lucky enough to even encounter abstract painter Andrea Bolley, you have left the experience a better person. She has an infectiously vivacious spirit that reminds you that life and all its possibilities really are magical, and she has the kind of killer moves on the dance floor that call to mind Oscar Wilde’s famous quote that “life is too important to be taken seriously.” It’s easy to look back on the world’s long history of artists and point to the likes of Van Gogh and Picasso as some of the greats, but it’s much more exhilarating to meet a contemporary artist like Bolley — to experience her electric energy and passion — to get a first-hand glimpse into an artist’s soul. We caught up with Bolley to find out more about her life and passions, her beloved hotspots in Toronto and favourite sources of inspiration.
Give us a snippet about you. What should people know?
I first came to Toronto in 1975 being picked up by the Pollock Gallery in undergraduate school. I have been showing my work I call Paper Paintings since then. I am a painter, as I think time tells whether you are an artist. However, I also love to dance.
What artist had the most impact on your life and why?
The British sculptor Sir Anthony Caro who just passed away last month at 89. He always gave me the courage to continue the challenge to move abstraction forward in my own personal way. Thus my Paper Paintings came about.
What is your favourite museum in the world and why?
The next one I go to as its like being on an amazing visual treasure hunt.
Finish this sentence: I love Toronto because…
Well as Dorothy says…” There’s No Place like Home “ and I think Toronto now is like Emerald city where the head, heart and the mind of the city are coming together so brilliantly. [It’s] a very exciting time to live and work here now. That’s why I have a pair of Dorothy’s red shoes.
Where do you go and what do you do when you need inspiration?
I walk the city. I listen to local musicians. I go to the theatre. I go to fashion shows. I go to dance performances. I dance to amazing DJs.
What are three things you simply cannot live without?
My optimism, my energy, my red shoes.
What’s your favourite restaurant and why?
OPUS I have been going there since it opened 20 years ago. Perfect combination of atmosphere, chef Jason Cox is so creative, staff is excellent, and [it has] one of the best wine cellars in North America. Mario and Tony Amaro, the owners, are always so welcoming.
What’s your favourite drink/cocktail and where do you go to get it?
Champagne – Three be the things I shall never attain – envy, content and sufficient champagne – as Dorothy Parker said. Exquisitely served at the Four Seasons and The Shangri-La.
Who’s your favourite designer/brand and why do you sport their fashions?
Vintage and classic style. Love my Chloe 1960’s striped coat. [I] also wear Issey Miyake, Matsuda, [and] Aturo Tayama. [My] fave Canadian designers are Brian Bailey and Lida Baday …HOAX Couture ..Bustle…Great Constantine…Lucian Matis …Pink Tartan..David Dixon..Shay Lowe jewelry…