by Stephen Weir
It is just her second art show and sale, and the show has only been open for an hour, and already a painting has been sold and taken home by a happy buyer. Marley Berot, a 19-year old painter, is happy but also a little worried she might run out of replacement canvases.
Berot, a Toronto student by day and a budding artist, who paints whenever she gets near her bedroom studio, paints faces, mostly Caribbean women’s faces in a colourful style that is uniquely hers.
“I tend to paint from photos and photo montages that I have made,” Berot told the Camera. “But sometimes, like the full body painting near the window (pictured) I don’t have a photo, the concept actually sprung from my mind. I had a vision and I put it to canvas as quickly as I could.”
“I would like to say that I do love painting faces. It is easy to see what I am saying – it is right there in her face,” she continued. “Now as I get more confidence (selling will do that) I am working on more full body acrylic works.”
Like almost every college student in the country, finances is a big concern at this stage of her life. She calls Burlington home, but now that she is studying art at George Brown, she has moved to Toronto and stays with an artist aunt. It cuts back on commute time and costs!
“I will be going back to Burlington after school is over. It is home and it gives me more room,” she explained. “I have other projects on the go, including painting on thrift jean jackets (clothing bought in thrift stores). You can see what I am doing on my Instagram account.”
The Trinidadian-Canadian artist held her first show at the Starving Artist Restaurant and Gallery at 467 Danforth Avenue back in April 7 and sold six large format paintings. The exhibition and sale was called Instagram 8Image_Nation, based on her Instagram account of the same name.
Berot has been smart in the pricing of her paintings. One painting of Marilyn Monroe’s face shows the late film star with strong overtones of a Caribbean woman. It sells for just $100. Most of the almost dozen canvases currently hanging on the A Different Booklist Cultural Centre’s wall sell in the $400 – $600 range.
It could be that Marley Berot comes by her talents from her father Anthony Berot. He is the long-standing Toronto Caribbean Carnival’s well-known photographer. On Monday, a proud father came out to the gallery to take a different sort of art picture – his daughter standing by her work.
The artist wants to be at the gallery to support the show throughout the month of January. She is booking off Monday and Wednesday and will also be at the Bathurst/Bloor cultural centre whenever there is an event in the art space. She recommends you check with the Different Booklist Cultural Centre website’s event page.