Toller Cranston, dead at 65
I am saddened to learn that Toller Cranston has died today in Mexico. I was a big fan of his since age 14. He was a larger than life character in his artwork and on the ice where he revolutionized ice skating. Below is my studio visit to him from last February. Read his obituary here.
I recently had the great pleasure of traveling with 3 other painting friends to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico where we stayed just 4 doors up from the imaginative figure painter, Toller Cranston. His home is a wonderland and riot of exotica, color and costume! I have been a fan of his artwork since I first saw it in Montreal in the 1970’s. My mother was a friend of his mom’s and apparently my grandmother used to sew fine dresses for her way way back in the mists of time.
Toller’s artwork features exotic characters in wonderland settings, no doubt influenced by his passion for theater, ballet, music and above all the fine art of skating! Toller’s skating style revolutionized the ice skating world in the 1970’s and paved the way for the artistic skating we enjoy today. You can see his skating prowess in this video.
One friend I was with described him as a high end hoarder which has a note of honestly but what things he shares with us in our visit! Fascinating collections of objects and grouped in displays and burden every surface with eye candy! To be fair, he has recently sold off part of his compound so things may be a little more cluttered than usual in some of these shots.
An army of toy soldiers marches on this patio table leaving very little space to set your drink down…
His elaborate lamps combine metal and glass objects, fun AND functional! Inspiring!
Toller hosted an art opening for himself and three fellow artists with whom he generously shares his studio.