Teresa Aversa has spent more than a decade consuming, experiencing, and refining her knowledge of art in just about every capacity. Channeling her disparate interests in curating, business, and maintaining a studio practice, the Toronto local soon founded Art and Objects, a women-led art consulting firm that has masterminded some of the most compelling creative touches within the city’s bustling hospitality sphere. Whether fastidiously producing a series of ceramic pots inspired by traditional Lebanese pottery to crafting a suspended mobile, the firm imbues every project with its founder’s worldly knowledge and creative panache.
Below, we chatted with Aversa about how the firm got its start, kept busy during Covid, and more exciting projects on the horizon.
When did you become interested in art?
I’ve always been interested in craft and making things. From a young age, you could find me building models or making jewelry for friends. This making process was refined when my high school art teacher opened my eyes to the world of contemporary art. This love for art was further synthesized at the Ontario College of Art and Design, where I was surrounded by a diverse group of young adults working through their art practices and research.
How did this lead you to start Art and Objects?
Since my time at art school, I have consumed, read, looked at, travelled and experienced the world of art in all of its forms. My acute fascination and genuine interest in art and design led me to work for other artists, art consulting firms, and galleries. Ultimately I wanted to combine my interest in curating, my studio practice, as well as the business side of things to open a consulting firm and fabrication studio—which is where Art and Objects was born.
When you founded the firm, what was your vision? What projects did you take on?
The vision is always to combine our art consulting experience with our diverse, wide-ranging studio practice. We have an incredible network of artists and makers we collaborate with and an amazing studio where we fabricate custom artwork and accessories. In the beginning, as most artists do, we took on any and every project we were granted to build our portfolio. We’ve since built up an impressive collection of projects and have worked with some amazing clients. We’re lucky to be able to be more discerning now with the projects we take on.
What does a day in the life at Art and Objects look like?
Generating ideas, working out fabrication solutions, experimenting with materials and techniques, and looking at new work and artists. Some days we’re in full-on studio mode and spend all of our time working with our hands—sculpting, plastering, painting, gilding, and anything else you can imagine. Other days we’re project managing, making sure projects run smoothly, doing research and studio tours, and watching a lot of reality TV… for inspiration!
What has been one of your most challenging commissions, and how did you tackle it?
At the beginning of the pandemic, we were certain we’d have to close and pursue other avenues of revenue but as luck would have it, we’ve never been busier. Our commissions have been challenging because of the start-and-stop nature of multiple lockdowns and construction restrictions, but we’ve been able to make things move when so much was stalled, vendors were closed, or last-minute issues arose due to unforeseen circumstances.
A project always consists of so many moving parts and when one is delayed, they’re all delayed. We’ve found new ways of working and have spent more time researching new materials, fabrication techniques, and artists during the slow periods. We’re currently designing and fabricating three of the largest and most complex artworks we’ve ever created for an upcoming hospitality project in Toronto, so that has kept us very busy.
How are you responding to new circumstances brought about by Covid-19?
Preparing for last minute changes and delays, and trying to be flexible and adaptable. Constantly assessing our comfort levels and trying to be safe and mindful in everything we do. We’ve been lucky to be working on some amazing projects during this time and will continue to adapt as we go. As artists and freelance workers, we’ve always been in precarious working situations, so we were well-suited to adapt to the uncertainty of the pandemic.
How can hospitality spaces evolve to sustain themselves and stay relevant?
It’s important to be mindful of experiential design. Creating a layered and dynamic experience through art and music, and evolving and playing with the idea of multifunctional spaces that can accommodate numerous types of events. We find that developers and hotel companies understand the importance of artwork within spaces—guests are savvy and cultured and want to be surrounded by beautiful, mindful artwork. This is where we come in.
What differentiates Art and Objects from other art consultancies?
We’re artists first and foremost, and we approach all of our projects through this lens. Our diverse backgrounds in art consulting, project management, research, and art fabrication lets us create bespoke experiences for every project. Everyone brings a diverse background and knowledge, and we inject new energy into an industry that can be very safe and stagnant.
What are you most proud of having achieved so far?
Supporting and showcasing a large variety of artists has been a great accomplishment. While we absolutely relish in fabricating artwork ourselves and creating in the studio, commissioning and procuring artworks by artists internationally is something we’re very proud of.
What can we expect from Art and Objects in the near future?
We’re currently working on three of the largest commissions we’ve ever produced for a hospitality project in Toronto. These pieces include a custom mobile that hangs about 50 feet in the air above a large escalator bay, a large-scale public artwork, as well as an architectural wall that greets guests as they enter the hotel. It’s all being designed and fabricated while we continue to pursue other avenues of research and grow our team. We’re very excited for the next few years and the possibilities ahead of us.