Capturing the 'vibe of Toronto' key for Queen West artist

Toronto is the perfect muse for Queen West artist Tosh Jeffrey, and he doesn’t have to go far to find his artistic inspiration. It’s right outside his balcony. He has a perfect view of the CN Tower and the city’s signature skyline from his apartment/studio.

Tosh Jeffrey's colourful paintings of city's skyline avoid 'kitsch-y' tourist painting look

Tosh Jeffrey is pictured in his studio/apartment. (Jonathan Castell/CBC)

Toronto is the perfect muse for Queen West artist Tosh Jeffrey, and he doesn't have to go far to find his artistic inspiration. It's right outside his balcony. He has a perfect view of the CN Tower and the city's signature skyline from his apartment/studio.

"I'm right in the middle of it all," Jeffrey says as he looks out over the city. He is preparing for his upcoming exhibition in early June as part of the Art Tour in the Junction.

"And Queen West being one of the more vibrant art communities — it's pretty inspirational."

'Nathan,' by Tosh Jeffrey. (Tosh Jeffrey/toshjeffrey.com)

While the iconic CN Tower figures prominently in many of Jeffrey's pieces, he also wants to depict the city in a much different way than it has been in the past.

"That's the goal for me, is not to make it kitsch-y. It's not to make it like some tourist painting of Toronto. I want to actually capture the atmosphere and vibe of Toronto — which isn't very straightforward all the time and isn't very linear — so I think that's sort of the challenge."

'I'm a mixed bag'

The foundation for Jeffrey's art is firmly rooted in classic Canadiana — with a dash of urban influences.

"Lawren Harris, Emily Carr, the whole Canadian tradition of landscape painting, and painting where you are in the Canadian landscape, is really quite inspiring to me," he says.

'Views,' by Tosh Jeffrey. (Tosh Jeffrey/toshjeffrey.com)

"I also like the freedom and the attitude that Jackson Pollock and Basquiat brought to the whole artist tradition. And then a lot of graffiti artists in Toronto are also inspiring. So I'd say I'm a mixed bag, but it's intentional."

Clients from every walk of life

Although Jeffrey has a strong urban theme in much of his art, his work appeals to a broad demographic. He recently sold what he calls a very hip-hop influenced painting to a couple in their mid-50s.

"I also have a lot of first-time condo buyers. A lot of first-time art buyers in general ... I think that's my biggest market right now."

'Domino,' by Tosh Jeffrey. (Tosh Jeffrey/toshjeffrey.com)

Watch the full segment on Tosh Jeffrey this weekend on Our Toronto:  Saturday at 11 a.m., and then on repeat Sunday and Monday at 11 a.m.