Breathing New Life Into Old Items
There are a couple of things Ange Beever loves above all else. “If I had to lose my house and run out with a few things, I would take my art collection and vinyl collection,” says the Toronto-based artist.
Beever’s love of art is now showcased in her latest business endeavor, BVR ART, a website dedicated to her absurdist creations. Beever is among the many Canadian artists and small-business owners who used the ShopHERE Powered By Google Program.
ShopHERE is a government-funded initiative that aims to bring small-business owners online amid the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. And it’s free.
“I find inspiration in pop culture, nostalgia, just everyday items. I keep a list of things I feel will be fun to paint. I have a bank of images – I did a commission for a friend that was based on a painting she got as a teen and now she asked me to reinvent it as a gift to her kid,” Beever says.
Beever’s repurposing of old items into something new is predicated on the Dada art movement. Dadaism flourished in Europe during the early 1900s. The movement sought to critique the aestheticism and logic of capitalist Europe through art that defied logic and reason.
“Marcel Duchamp was one of the main players in the Dada movement and I’ve always been inspired by his work with ready-mades. The Dadas were doing these things, rethinking the world around them,” Beever says.
Beever takes old items, often from thrift shops, and reimagines them. “I’m just trying to take stuff that already exists and breathe new life into it – I cover something up and make it new,” she says.
Both Beever and her wife are artists. Beever points out it can be challenging for both of them to work in today’s gig economy where work comes from an assortment of creative industries. “We take on work that comes our way. We were doing retail shows and pop ups prior to the pandemic,” she says.
However, due to the pandemic, many of these brick-and-mortar shows have either shuttered or faced a significant drop in foot traffic. “Shows are cancelled, theatre is not happening, and the television industry is very slowly starting to get back,” Beever says. “I had an art show last year in June – my show sold 22 pieces. I’m just figuring out right now how to do an art show this year,” Beever says. In the meantime, her hope is to use BVR ART’s online presence to draw in prospective art buyers.
And for that, Beever’s grateful she took the leap and joined the ShopHERE Program to create a viable eCommerce platform with Shopify.
“I think the ShopHERE Program is great. I think it’s good for people who are creative/maker types. There was some technical stuff that the ShopHERE people were very good at articulating and explaining. Learning all that was a tremendous timesaver,” Beever says.
Going forward, Beever says an online storefront will be a part of her narrative as a contemporary artist. “It was an amazing jumpstart to get myself going on a website dedicated to my art. The support was super helpful.”
Digital Main Street was created by the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) with direct support from the City of Toronto. DMS is also supported by a group of strategic business partners, including Google, Mastercard, Shopify, Microsoft, Facebook, Intuit QuickBooks, Square, Yellow Pages and Lightspeed.
A $42.5-million investment from FedDev Ontario brought together the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas, Communitech, Invest Ottawa and the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association to expand the Digital Main Street Platform in order to support more businesses going digital as a response to the impacts of COVID-19 in Southern Ontario.