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
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
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
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:
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:
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 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.
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
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!
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.
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!
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!
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
2016 was a year of great progress, education, and big changes. I set out to dip my toe into the world of film this year and made some important initial steps working at commercial production house Suneeva in Toronto and cutting my director teeth on my first music video for “Pink Dawn” by Carmela Antonio. I was lucky enough to get work in L.A. and Ibiza and even signed on with Agency Arts out of L.A. I feel prepped and primed stepping into 2017 with freelancing opportunities lined up and my personal projects bursting at the seams with electric excitement. With the passing of my paternal Grandmother just before the year’s end I write from my hometown in South Florida carrying her in my heart as I continue to shoot for The Goddess Array. Here are my top ten professional highlights of 2016:
Angel journalist Sandro Contenta contacted me out of the blue requesting an interview for The Toronto Star‘s new online app. I was delighted, of course, and we made a date to have lunch at the Shangri-La Hotel in Toronto one wintry afternoon. He asked me about my whole life including my parents, my childhood, but mostly about my career to date and the story of how I got here. A couple days after the interview Sandro called me requesting a photoshoot as his editors were thinking of running the piece in the Sunday paper. On Sunday January 10th, 2016 I was shocked and ecstatic to discover my story over three entire pages of the Insight section with my photographs and telling my story in the kindest of ways. This article was a gift from the universe and it made me feel loved, respected and confident in my path. It was my favourite moment of 2016.
“Honestly, without Jennifer, Herself would have floundered,” Stasey adds. “She brought to the project many women willing to be documented, and not only that, she made them feel valuable and comfortable. Have you ever had to ease someone’s essence out of them while they’re stark naked on a frosty Toronto morning? She is a true wizard.”
On January 25th at the Only One Gallery in Toronto I made an enormous leap of faith (in myself) and endeavored to create the space of The Goddess Array, my very first solo art show where the works were for sale. The Goddess Array is a series depicting contemporary incantations of ancient Greek goddesses, all female, all nude, and all powerful. Printed between 4ft and 8ft tall these initial ten goddesses, once hung up on the wall, created a space of goddess worship. There was a chance that no one would come. There was a huge chance that no one would buy.
My supporting team was incredible in helping to pull off what turned out to be a totally magical evening. Working to bless the space through ceremony, choreographer Jenny-Anne McCowan produced a euphoric dance piece that had dancers Celia Green responding to Aphrodite, Alison Keery acting as Athena, and Andrya Duff channelling Artemis to the sounds of Edwin Huizinga on violin, Elinor Frey on cello, and Xin Wang on improvised vocals. Here is a video of the performance:
Much to my delight and surprise all of those enormous prints sold off the wall during the one night only exhibition. My gratitude runs deep and strong for my goddesses Sarah, V, Alex Kerr, Demi Labelle, Jennifer Nichols, Erika Abrahamian, Laura, Mary-Josephine, Chanele, & Teesh. I am eternally grateful. Stephanie Diana & Julia Mohamed rocked the bar. Tenemy and Fathom rocked the ones and twos. Thanks to the ever awesome Dave Gillespie and Katherine Kwan for documenting the event. Many thanks to Cais and OOG for the beautiful space and to Lauren Lynn for MCing with such grace. Thanks to Aunty Brenda for working the merch table like a champion to my parents for their unending support. And to all of you who now have a huge goddess print in your homes, please send me pics! Thank you!!!!!
Fast forward to September 2016 and I had doubled my goddess series. With twenty of these beauties in tow I set out to show the collection again, this time at Milk Glass Co., on a smaller scale. The show was up for a week this time throughout TIFF and the experience of occupying the gallery during business hours was exceptional. I met so many beautiful people who came through to really take in the works and I had special conversations with most. In another spectacular turn of events this second show also sold out. If you would like to support the project I still have a few Nike Tees left for sale HERE. Char and Kelly at Milk Glass were such a big help and Carmela Antonio sang her heart out at the opening. Which brings me to my next highlight…
I met Carmela Antonio in a coffee shop on Ossington and she eagerly strapped her headphones on me and played ‘Pink Dawn’. I was hooked right off the bat and immediately agreed to set out making my first music video for the song. With a small team of just myself, Carmela, and MUA Elena Pacienza we had two shoot days, one in studio and one on location, and from that a video was born. Carmela wanted everything to be pink so I immediately suggested having her paint a canvas pink with her body and she was down! We made a huge mess. Not everyone has an open enough mind to trust in such an extravagant experience and I am very thankful for Carmela, a most passionate and willing muse. I plan to make much more video art this coming year.
In a great moment of expert timing Vogue Italia published two of my new goddesses, Eirene Goddess of Peace and Spring and Chloris Goddess of Flowers, the day before The Goddess Array V.2 opening party. I am always humbled by nods from arguably the world’s most influential fashion magazine. Thank you, Vogue!!! xo
6) Agency Arts
I signed on with Agency Arts in 2016 who have been representing me in the U.S. out of L.A. I am stoked to spend some more time down there this year hustling at meetings and working on catching some more of those big fish! Let’s do this!
Travelling to Ibiza for the first time to shoot a campaign for vintage brand Camisado was a dream come true. The owners, Staysail and Kristen, are two of the raddest babes I know and working with them was a treat. Ibiza is a totally magical place and I hope I get to go back one day soon. There is much more to explore.
I produced my first film called ‘Freelancers Unite’ with director Finn O’Hara this past Summer. From the budget breakdown, to the location scouting, to the gear and car rentals, talent wrangling, and generally just getting it all done on schedule this experience was an awesome one for me as I worked through the film production process from script to publishing. I love producing and hope to carve out some freelance work in that world this year. “They f$*% all over town…”
I spent 6 months working at Suneeva in 2016 working on producing television commercials. The experience was the best introduction to the world of film I could ask for. Under the tutelage of Geoff Cornish, the captain at the helm of Suneeva, I have acquired an invaluable skill set that will aid me moving forward onto set in 2017. Thank you, Geoff!
10) Corporate Work & Events
Always my bread and butter. Many thanks to The Magenta Foundation for having me back again this year. Rogers has been so good to me. So have the Toronto Blue Jays, Viola Gardens, The British Council and all my other private clients. I will keep aiming higher for you. Many thanks!
This Woman I Know is a series by Jessica Laforet that features self-identified women who show support, act as allies and empower other women. I am honored to have been featured. Here’s what they had to say:
THIS WOMAN I KNOW, her name is Jennifer. She is a photographer, a storyteller, a dreamer, a fighter, a hustler, a feminist, a friend, a lover and a hard working, relentless, passionate, unbridled woman
Jennifer’s focus in the creation of her personal photographic works is the search for ways to work at alleviating the epidemic of low self-esteem afflicting the contemporary woman. She first started with “The Esteem Project” which featured a series of female nudes photographed without artifice – no colour, no makeup, no clothes, no photoshop in natural light. Her aim was to provide a mirror to the arresting, glorious, totally natural beauty of each subject. Evolving along the same vein, Jennifer launched Herself.com with actress Caitlin Stacey in January 2015. Herself.com offers raw portraits of women in both body and mind, laid bare in all their honesty in an effort at reclaiming female agency in a world of media constantly filtered through a male gaze. Earlier this year Jennifer began work on The Goddess Array, a photographic series depicting contemporary versions of ancient Greek goddesses. Printed 8ft tall all 30 goddesses will be shown together creating a space of goddess worship where guests will pay witness, looking up to these large, iconic, strong, female archetypes.
Jennifer believes that the world needs to be littered with images of free, happy, healthy, fearless women standing their ground. The goddesses are her current contribution to this necessary landscape. Anyone interested in posing for the project is welcome to email her at firstname.lastname@example.org