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An ode to paper

March 17, 2022

It’s time to cherish the artists who evoke effervescent emotions using one of the oldest, most familiar and seemingly humble materials - paper - in their creative journeys. 

Frank Meyer is the recipient of the 2021 Best of Paper Award. He creates eye-catching, playful and dynamic works using collage and acrylic paint which immediately lift up your spirits. 

Sylvain Côté’s Experimental Typographic Project is wonderfully minimalist and contemporary using letterpress printing and centuries-old wood type on vellum. They bring along quiet and confident joy. Sylvian is the recipient of the Honourable Mention Paper Award. 

Both awards are supported by our dear friends at The Japanese Paper Place (JPP) and selected by Nancy Jacobi, the founder of JPP. We highly recommend a visit to JPP, the magical wonderland of exquisite paper and paper art will make you fall in love with the medium (or fall all over again!) 

Happy (almost) Spring 🌸 ☘️


Frank Meyer - 2021 Best of Paper

"Frank Meyer’s innovative compilations using paper collage and acrylic paint are at first glance delightful and appealing, hearkening back to those colourfully illustrated books from childhood...

They are a masterful orchestration of colour and the complex arrangement of whimsical cut-outs, barely suggesting such things as architectural elements, animals, keyboards, and frequent graphic bits and pieces. This concoction in Frank’s latest works, has resulted in sophisticated playful contemporary diptychs which I find welcome reminders of the possibility of joy in our lives once again."

- Nancy Jacobi, Founder of The Japanese Paper Place, and 2021 Judge of Best of Paper

Photo of Frank Meyer with his work, courtesy of the artist.

About Frank and his work

"I've been an artist from an early age, but not always with paint and brushes. In high school, music was a major expressive part of my life, particularly jazz improvisation. Then for 25 years, I had a career in writing and directing video productions.

Inspired by a successful art show in 2005, I went back to school to seriously study and make art. It’s where I started making 'collages', a technique of modern art pioneered by Picasso and Braque where diverse elements are re-combined to create a 'new whole'. 

I use bits and pieces of paper from things I’ve drawn, painted, printed or found in magazines and books. I start with one piece, glue it down, and keep on going, never knowing what it will look like until I'm finished — that’s what keeps it fresh and interesting for me, much like jazz.

Since 2010, I’ve been a full-time artist, part of the (in)famous 'Fake Art School' collective at Artscape Gibraltar Point, and have been on a wondrous, serendipitous, always surprising creative journey!"

Oh Wow! #2Frank Meyer, 2020, Paper collage, acrylic paint. Still available for purchase at TOAF.ca

On receiving the award

"Winning the Best of Paper award in 2021 was… shocking! But delightfully so.

Especially at the 60th Anniversary of the Toronto Outdoor Art Fair… and for a person who didn’t pick up a paint brush until his late 50’s!

That kind of recognition, at Canada’s premier outdoor art event, will keep me on an artistic high for a long time."

View more of Frank's works


Sylvain Côté - 2021 Honourable Mention Paper

"The meditative quality of these finely printed letterpress works deserves to be acknowledged amongst the buzz of the art that surrounds it. Sylvain’s light colour choices and uncluttered designs instill calm and a sense that life will stabilize after all."

- Nancy Jacobi, Founder of The Japanese Paper Place, and 2021 Judge of Honourable Mention Paper

UntitledSylvain Côté, 2021, Manually printed on 11” x 17” acid-free cream-white paper with a vellum (smooth) finish.

About Sylvain and his work

"My work is mostly done on paper, utilizing various elements found in a letterpress printing inventory, and exploring its application in the context of contemporary art. It is minimalist with consideration for texture, colour and formal affinity."

UntitledSylvain Côté, 2021, Manually printed on 11” x 17” acid-free cream-white paper with a vellum (smooth) finish.

On receiving the award and what he's currently up to

"As an artist, it means a great deal to have your work recognized, giving way to a sense of purpose and motivation to continue exploring. My stylistic evolution has recently led me to the introduction of distinctive biomorphic shapes, along with an ongoing process of refinement in the relationship between colour and form. This new portfolio will be presented in July at TOAF."

View more of Sylvain's works


Ongoing programming

Our 60th Anniversary projects are still available to view!

  • 60 Works/60 Years is an in-gallery exhibition, co-presented by the City's Market Gallery. It features works collected by the City from TOAF over the years through the Mayor's Purchase Award. It has been extended until December 2022! It is open to the public and free to attend.
  • 60 Over Sixty is an online exhibition, curated by Flavio Belli, art consultant and friend of TOAF. It showcases and celebrates the works of notable senior artists from across Canada.
  • BEING+ is an online exhibition, curated by Abisola Oni, recipient of the Flavio Belli Curator Award. The show presents works that situate the self within society by artists from TOAF's Emerging Artists roster: Michelle Cieloszczyk, Biba Esaad, Miles Ingrassia, Noah Lima, Roxana Parsa and Michelle Rodrigues.
  • Now is your last chance to purchase artworks from the TOAF60 artist roster! Sales through TOAF.ca will close on March 31, 2022.

Stay tuned for more exciting announcements. 

Public Funders

Foundations & Corporate

Major Award Partners

Programming Partners