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Canada’s leading contemporary outdoor and online art fair

July 12 – 14, 2024.

Meet Steven Restagno Best of Student Award Winner

We are happy to reconnect with you and start off our new season by taking you into the moody, vulnerable and fluid paintings of Steven Restagno, winner of the 2019 Best of Student Award. 

This year, our judges Joshua Heuman, Curator of Education and Public Programs and Justine Kohleal, Assistant Curator of Exhibitions at The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, selected Steven out of 20 talented student artists for the $1,000 Marie Collins Memorial Award and the outstanding opportunities of the Artscape Award. This is what Joshua Heuman had to say about Steven's work: 

"Steven Restagno explores the human figure; seemingly fleshy and in dissolution simultaneously – earthy and electric, sensuous and psychological.”

We hope you had a chance to see his work and submerge into his masterful depiction of human figures this past summer. If not, get to know Steven, his process and the amazing journey of development and opportunities that this award is providing him. We are excited to join him as he embarks on this journey and share the unfolding of his new creations with you. 



"Marko", oil on linen, 2019 

Steven, in his own words

A big part of my practice is about disrupting familiarity. I make paintings and photographs of people close to me, including myself, that play with abstraction and mystery. Recently, I’ve begun approaching paintings in a more loose and destructive way. I base them off of images, often underwater nudes or portraits, and I use very diluted oil paints on unprimed linen and canvas to create a working surface that is always changing, blending and melting together. Vulnerability is also a key part of my work… I see a certain power in nakedness, within vulnerability and the expressed ownership of our bodies and sexuality.

Winning the Best of Student Award was not only an honour and a boost of confidence as an emerging artist, but also a means for achieving and experiencing new things that have furthered my artistic practice, including money to put back into my art, a membership to  Artscape Launchpad, a solo exhibition to work towards, and a residency at Gibraltar Point.

"Marko", oil on panel, 2019
Steven Restango receiving the Best of Student Award with judge Joshua Heuman & Carol Davies from Artscape

Building a Thriving Artist Community in Toronto 

Artscape was pleased to present the Artscape Award for Best of Student at the Toronto Outdoor Art Fair to Steven Restagno, a talented painter and recent graduate of the University of Waterloo. Through this award, Artscape will support Steven as he grows his creative career through a full access membership to Artscape Daniels Launchpad, a one-week artist residency at Artscape Gibraltar Point, and a solo art show at Artscape Youngplace.
Throughout the year, Steven will have access to learning programs, resources and a supportive community through Artscape Daniels Launchpad, a new creative entrepreneurship hub designed to help emerging and established artists, designers and creators from all disciplines grow thriving careers.
Steven will also receive a week-long solo exhibition at Artscape Youngplace, a dynamic community cultural hub operated by Artscape in Toronto’s West Queen West neighbourhood, offering him an opportunity to showcase his work to a broader audience and add another achievement to his artist profile.
Throughout the year, Artscape offers many opportunities for creatives like Steven, including memberships with Artscape Daniels Launchpad, the Toronto Artscape Foundation Launchpad Bursary program and Winter Island Artist Residencies, which offer creatives of all kinds the chance to thrive. Find out more at


"Solus", oil on canvas, 2019 (left), "Reflection 1", digital image, 2019 (right)
Steven Restango's website
Follow @s.restagno

Farewell and thanks 

Earlier this year, we said goodbye to two dear board members Susan Card and Marjolyn van der Hart. Susan and Marjolyn, have collectively contributed over 15 years of their valuable time and expertise to TOAF and generously shared deep knowledge of our community and needs of independent artists with us. We wanted to thank them for their unwavering support throughout these years and for the passion and level of care they extended to our community. 

“During my time at TOAF, I was honoured to work with a group of Directors who were actively revamping and driving the event towards achieving primary Strategic Goals. I believe that this event is an important vital outlet for both emerging and professional artists to connect with the Art Collector. My fundamental interest is in empowering artists as entrepreneurs and TOAF is on track to do this. TOAF has developed a momentum of achieving, supporting and enabling artists to make a living in this city.”

– Marjolyn van der Hart

If you are an independent artist looking for best practices and tools to maximize your outreach and marketing strategies, make sure to join Marjolyn's Digital Marketing Seminar as she shares the tricks of the trade and years of successful experience with you. Find more details here

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