It was the summer of 2011 when budding artist Nadia Lloyd painted her first large-scale abstract of Toronto’s skyline.
“I’d brought home this big four-by-four-foot canvas. My son, who was six months old, was in his Jolly Jumper, and I had an urge to paint.”
She deftly shaped an outline of the city using vertical brush strokes of burnt orange, forest green, black and amber, with drips representing the reflection in the water.
“I painted it in two minutes,” she recalls of the finished canvas called “Utopia”.
“I love the magic of one minute it wasn’t there and the next minute it was.”
It was a meaningful moment in the career of the now well-established artist, designer and event planner. The city’s iconic skyline anchored by the CN Tower became her signature theme in a collection of home decor products and fashion accessories, printed with her art.
In 2013, she founded Toronto Art Crawl to promote the work of other local artists and artisans. The next event, an outdoor market called The Urban Exhibit, is planned for Sept. 10 at The Bentway (underneath the Gardiner Expressway), where 80 creative types will sell their wares.
But it wasn’t until 2020 that Lloyd got the first of two “big breaks” in her artistic pursuits. While sewing pandemic face masks from repurposed cushion covers, she designed a special one to celebrate Pride in June, catching the eye of Toronto Mayor John Tory.
“He told me he loved my work and obsession with the skyline, and promoted it for a year and a half,” Lloyd relates.
She got her second break in July 2020 when she designed a Black Lives Matter mask with her young son. After posting on social media that she wanted to donate masks to the Toronto Raptors, she