Mendelson Joe was born in Toronto at the Western Hospital less than a year before Canada joined the Allies in ending World War II. Although Joe grew up in Maple, a feedmill town twenty miles north of Toronto, the city of Toronto was always his home – even during his itinerant years in London and Los Angeles as an electric troubadour.
When Joe fell into painting and loved it like music, it was inevitable that he would document his friends, colleagues, neighbours, and others. For years, he painted portraits of Torontonians known and unknown, including: Robert Fulford, Robert Priest, Irshad Manji, Margaret Atwood, Bernie Finkelstein, Stan the Fan, and Babydoll Grandma. Over thirty years later, his portraits of Torontonians amount to a significant body of work, and here, in Joe’s Toronto, he exhibits fifty portraits from the experience. It tells both his story and the story of those he portrayed. Along with faithful reproductions of the original paintings, Joe has added his own brand of particular comments about the subjects and the sessions.
Mendelson Joe’s career began with Mendelson McKenna Mainline, and then took a painterly turn. Known today as a musician, artist, anti-smoker, and ecological gadfly, Joe continues to surprise with his political attitude and outspoken opinions.
Published: October 2005
Dimensions: 6 x 9 in.