1/10 Covid-19 Travel Diary: Brussels, Feb. 20

Jake, my crazy smart little brother, got an amazing contract working at a wind energy company in Brussels for the year. I knew I had to visit him at some point during his stay there, and, with the film industry being in its slow season and my photography exhibit over and done with, late February seemed the perfect opportunity. My flight was booked for a February 19th departure. The day before I boarded the plane to Brussels, my mother, an avid viewer of CNN, showed up at my place with three ziplock bags full of face masks, medical grade wet wipes and rubber gloves respectively, with very stern warnings of the Corona Virus and detailed instructions of how to keep myself safe on my travels. At the time, we knew that the virus could live on surfaces for concerning lengths of time and that it could be avoided by wearing gloves, frequent handwashing and refraining from touching ones face. Armed with my Mom’s love, I masked up and flew to Europe.

Jake was awaiting my arrival at BRU. We strolled around the beautiful city in the rain as I reveled in the wonderful street art, new and old, like the tourist I am. We stopped in at the Delirium Brewery for a pint. Delirium is my favourite beer of all time. It’s perfectly balanced, delicious, and very strong. After one Jake and I had quite a buzz going and the conversation took a turn toward gender fluidity and online dating. We needed some fresh air! And food. Back out in the rain, we went to a lowkey, well-priced restaurant specializing in traditional Belgium dishes recommended by one of Jake’s friends. We shared a main course of delicious beef stew and decided to try a popular, pricey place for another course. The decor and the architecture at the second spot were impressive, but the chocolate foie gras was dry. The lesson to revisit is to always trust a local’s recommendation over internet hype. Still pouring rain, we traipsed back to Jake’s subterranean bachelor pad like two excitable fillies in Springtime. The reflection of the lamplights on the rained-upon cobblestone streets interrupted by the octogonal shadows of hurried umbrellas gave the evening a special filmic quality that can only be found in old Europe.

We discussed the virus. Jake was worried about staying in Brussels as it began to spread around Europe, but honestly, no one was really ringing the alarm yet. Life was still normal. We packed up Mum’s precautionary supplies and readied ourselves for our flight to our next stop: Budapest!

The Goddess Array V.3 Party

I love Toronto so much! Thank you again to everyone who came out Saturday evening to celebrate and check out the art. It was another heartwarming turn-out. I love you all! This evening there is a three hour life drawing session at Hashtag Gallery (830 Dundas St. W). It is open to the public and only $12. 6:30PM – 9:30PM. xo

The Goddess Array V.3 Opening

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What an incredible, eclectic group of Toronto’s finest came out last night to celebrate the opening of the third manifestation of The Goddess Array! All you beauties in your stilettos in the snow went above and beyond. The LOVE was palpable. Thank you! The show is up until Feb. 13th at #Hashtag Gallery(830 Dundas Street West). We are having a party at the gallery Saturday night (02/08) DJed by Young Teesh. I hope to see you there! Bring your dancing shoes. xo

The Goddess Array V.3 @ Hashtag Gallery

The Goddess Array V.3 Invite 1 copy

From She Does the City:

On Thursday February 6th, photographer Jennifer Toole will be showing fourteen new, never-before-exhibited framed prints from her Goddess Array series at Dundas West’s Hashtag Gallery. The evening will also act as a launch event for her stunning new photography book.

The photos on display represent four years of work—shot here in Ontario, but also in California, Quebec, and Ibiza. Snapping women in the nude, against magnificent natural backdrops, is not a new idea, but the way Toole’s subjects appear is refreshing: each exude a kind of comfort and confidence that most of us long for.

Toole describes her series as a way for women to claim more space, or  “a defiant act of freedom”.  The project was inspired by her love and appreciation of Greek mythology. “Greek Goddesses are diverse, archetypal and mythological in proportion,” she says, and thus began an epic adventure to shoot powerful Goddesses in her own life.  “The models are real life goddesses in their own realms.” Women who all exude a strength that Toole feels, and admires.

Beyond an evening to celebrate the divine in all of us, there will be a video installation of nymphs bathing in the river on display (which we’ll be treating as a mini mid-winter getaway).

Join us at the reception for The Goddess Array Exhibit + book launch on February 6th, at 6p.m. at Hashtag Gallery (830 Dundas St. W.). More on Jennifer Toole’s work here.

The Goddess Array Book

11″ by 16.5″ paperback coffee table book featuring the full photo series of The Goddess Array each accompanied by a sonnet detailing the myth of each goddess. There is a perforated tear-out print of Nike Goddess of Victory in every copy numbered and signed. 90 pages. Limited edition of 62 copies.

Available now at http://www.jennifertoole.com

Candice

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Here are a few outtakes from a recent shoot for The Goddess Array featuring Miss Candice as Kakia, Goddess of Vice. The selected image will be featured in the full series in The Goddess Array coffee table book coming soon. Copies are available at a discounted rate for presale at https://jennifertoole.com/Shop-2. The print run will be a limited edition of 100 signed copies. Here is a bit more about Kakia:

“Kakia (Vice) is adorned with #gold and necklaces, and her cheeks are painted and her hair delicately plaited and her eyes underlined with #henna; and she also wears golden slippers, for she is pictured strutting about in these; but Arete (Virtue) in the picture resembles a woman worn out with toil, with a pinched look; and she has chosen for her adornment rough squalor, and she goes without shoes in the plainest of raiment, and she would have appeared naked if she had not too much regard for feminine decency . . . imagine that you hear the one telling you how she will strew flowers under you and you lie down to sleep, yes, and by #Heaven, how she will regale you upon milk and #nourish you with honey-comb, and how she will supply you with #nectar and wings, whenever you want them; and how she will wheel in tripods, whenever you drink, and golden #thrones; and you shall have no hard work to do, but everything will be flung unsought into your lap. But the other #disciplineinsists that you must lie on the bare ground in squalor, and be seen to toil naked like ourselves; and that you must not find dear or sweet anything which you have not won by hard work; and that you must not be boastful, nor hunt after #vanities and pursue #pride; and that you must be on your guard against all #dreams and #visions which lift you off the earth.”

Which would you choose? 💋🍷💄👠🍇🥊🚨💰💰💰💰

Perola

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The Brazilian beauty glows after the wrap of our Goddess Array shoot. She embodied Mnemosyne, Goddess of Memory. Here are two details of the piece:

 

‘The Goddess Array: Fertilize My Thoughts’ coffee table book is on presale now HERE. It includes all forty goddesses, each photo accompanied by a biographical sonnet. The book is 9″ x 12″, linen embossed hardcover with coated silk pages. They are 25% off now on presale. Thank you in advance for your support. xo

Film Path / Camera Path with under-titles @ InterAccess

InterAccess presents ‘an experimental media artwork by the celebrated Canadian duo Daniel Young & Christian Giroux. This exciting new project, Film Path / Camera Path with under-titles, merges Young & Giroux’s sculpture practice with film installation using high tech design and manufacturing technologies.

Film Path / Camera Path with under-titles collides the projected image with the apparatus of its presentation and the moving image with sculpture. The project started with the concept of a motion picture projection where the path of the film is the same as the camera path and is composed into a knot. A sculptural materialization of the film loop is made possible by complex multi-planer geometric modeling, parametric design, and additive manufacturing. The 35mm projector presents a one-minute long loop of a camera’s travel along the film path.’

What a delight to photograph this creation! The artist talk is tomorrow, Thursday March 21, 2019 at 7PM at InterAccess (950 Dupont St., Unit 1.) Check it out if you have the evening free. xo

Pollinating Proxies @ InterAccess

I love the challenges of photographing art installations, and ‘Pollinating Proxies’ by artist Colin Rosati was no exception. With laser beams and orchids in full bloom, Rosati’s works “address the desire for and consumption of energy, paralleling the hummingbird’s need for nectar with humankind’s hunger for electricity” (InterAccess). His exhibit turned out to be quite the subject. I’m always grateful to be included in the documentation of young up-and-coming artists’ work. Rosati just won the 2018 InterAccess Media Arts Prize for his work as an Integrated Media student at OCAD University whose work exhibits excellence and innovation in new media practice. The show is up until February 16th! xo

Dailytoole 2018 Highlights!!!!

Not to be totally cliche here, but looking back on 2018 has me feeling so much gratitude that I get to do what I love and make money doing it. I am so grateful to be free and able to express myself creatively. It is not lost on me what a privilege this is. That being said, here is a little bit of what I got up to professionally this past year. My top ten highlights of 2018:

1) The Goddess Array: Fertilize My Thoughts 

A book! The entire Goddess Array on your coffee table! It’s a dream come true. I have spent the past four years shooting these contemporary incantations of ancient Greek goddesses in the nude with their totems of power in spectacular locations all over the world. Now that the series is complete it will be commemorated in print on coated silk paper tucked into an embossed linen hardcover of the highest quality. I have penned a sonnet detailing the frequency and history of each goddess to be displayed beside each photo. It’s an art book of the highest quality, visually scintillating, well-researched, and curious to read. Each goddess is an archetype that puts a face onto one of the innumerable moods a woman can embody every day. The book will run a limited edition of 100 signed copies. They are available at a discounted rate for preorder now on jennifertoole.com. Preorder yours now to ensure you get one! Here are a few shots taken behind the scenes on location for The Goddess Array in 2018:

 

2) ALIX x XIMENA x TKUZ – PACHANGA (official music video)

The ‘Pachanga’ video is a socially conscious acid trip that leaves you feeling turned on and grossed out at the same time. The artists, based in Mexico City, pushed me over the limits of my editing skills and into a zone I had never been in before, which is always at the same time scary and thrilling. It was an evolutionary learning experience to direct the talent and create visuals that gave life to this epic song. I am forever grateful to my amazing team who came out to support me on this crazy music video adventure and to the artists for trusting me with their music.

DIRECTOR: Jennifer Toole // MUA: Elena Pacienza // HAIR: Amber Fairlie @ The Manor Salon // STYLING: Megan Ann Wilson // CHOREO: Jenny-Anne McCowan // TALENT: Ximena, Nohemie Renaud, Meredith Jay, Sarah Toole

 

3) In Full Bloom: A Dance Film

This film came to life in the most organic creative process with my dear friend, constant muse, and expert modern dance choreographer, Jenny-Anne McCowan. Last winter, on a whim, Jenny-Anne offered to choreograph and teach me a solo dance piece. We began to train in the ice cold studio, warming up our muscles with ballet movements and efforts at completing the splits before we would tackle the choreography. I’ve included a very embarrassing but amazing video of one of our sessions below. I suggested we turn the choreography into a video and “In Full Bloom” is the result. Every time I work with Jenny-Anne we make something of beauty and heal a bit in the process. xo

The film…

…& the process…

SOUNDTRACK: DIE ANTWOORD – FOK JULLE NAAIERS (GOD’S WICKED JUNGLE REMIX) (Instrumental)

 

4) Group Shows

I was asked to show works in four group shows this year, which was an honor. “Hey Y’All” at Only One Gallery, “Portraits Exhibition” at Blank Wall Gallery in Athens, Greece, “Hear Here: intersections,” and “The Soulfood Toronto” respectively.

5) Window Gallery

We’ve carved out an art nook in Bloordale Village. A little slice of storefront on Bloor West just east of Ossington is now up and running as the tiniest art gallery in Toronto curated by myself and my partner, David Mussio. The space is currently home to an eclectic group show of works by our nearest and dearest artist friends. Follow me @jentoole on Instagram to get updates and receive calls for submissions. xo

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6) Sheridan Camera Course

In my first foray back to school in many years, and my first formal education in anything camera-related ever, I completed Sheridan’s two-week long-format camera assistant course and it was worth every penny. We got to play with the best equipment in the industry, had a day trip to the set of Suits, got lessons from Hollywood veterans (including one of our teachers who pulled focus on Legend of the Fall), and gained the knowledge needed to be an excellent member of any camera team making a feature film or TV series. I’m taking the steps to be upgraded into the International Cinematographers Union and this course was a great addition to my application. Wish me luck!

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7) The Motherland Collective

Last January I met up with Demi and she told me about her dream to create a safe space online where mothers could share their stories with one another free from any artifice or filters. A new mum herself, Demi found her experience to be worsened by the pressures social media put on her to be a “perfect mother.” We got together and did a little photoshoot and video shoot and The Motherland Collective was born. A year later the movement has grown into a real community providing safe spaces for parents/mothers in the BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ community including birth services, workshops and advocacy. Demi is a doula herself and obviously a goddess of the highest order. Check out www.motherlandcollective.com for more of her goodness.

DemiMCPortrait

 

8) Commercial Work

My bread and butter! It was another busy year in the commercial world in Toronto thankfully and I cut my chops further in the production and camera departments on set. TIFF was especially exciting this year with a couple of star-studded shoots for Vanity Fair featuring Samira Wiley (Handmaid’s Tale, Orange is the New Black) and Amandla Stenberg (The Hate U Give), both incredible women to meet. We shot an iPhone commercial starring Kevin Bacon and Simon Bird, which was also a blast. And the list goes on. I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to enter into the at times elusive world of film and I’m so excited to move into long format this year! Much thanks yet again and always to Miss Lisa Ericsson, my P.M. angel. Here’s to a busy 2019!

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9) Viola Gardens

I am embarking upon my fourth year working with Jessica Viola of Viola Gardens, an ecological landscape design firm in L.A., running their socials and website. The brand is a dream for me to step into twice weekly. It’s a world of growth, permaculture, sustainability, design, health, and inspirations. Follow us on Instagram @violagardens to see the journey. We have big things planned for 2019!

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10) Event Photography

I love shooting events. Everyone is dressed to impress and usually receptive to me and my pesky camera asking for a photo. The collection of photos the end of the night tells the whole story from start to finish and memories are made. It’s the best. I shot mostly private events this year and am sadly not allowed to share the photos, but here are a few from The Magenta Foundation Flash Forward Toronto exhibit, which is always a special time.

 

2018 was awesome. Here’s to a thrilling year ahead! Thanks for reading. xo

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