Caviar20 is thrilled to present '20Talks,' a new series offering an intimate glimpse into the lives and careers of the artists and industry professionals who inspire us most.

This International Women's Day, we caught up with renowned Canadian artist Joanne Tod to discuss her extensive career, the influential women throughout history who have shaped her, her favourite hidden gem for arts and culture in Toronto + more.

Click here to view a selection of works by Joanne Tod. 


C20: Name an emerging woman artist who has recently caught your attention:
JT: Sandra Brewster, also a former student!

C20: Name woman author who keeps you on your toes:
JT: Writer and designer Edith Wharton.

C20: Name a woman who would leave you star-struck:
JT: British suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst.

C20: Name your favorite hidden gem in Toronto for arts and culture:
JT: The newly opened TD Music Hall.

C20: Give us your best advice for getting over creative block: 
JTJust get away from the studio!

C20: Name an art gallery or museum that's on your bucket list:
JT: Hong Kong Palace Museum.

C20:  Name an artwork you wish you had created:
JT: Lydia Ourahmane’s video installation, Tassili.

C20: Your most recent source of inspiration:
JT: Composing music on my computer.

C20: Your most memorable career highlight:
JT: Joining Carmen Lamanna Gallery in 1982.


C20: Walk us through a day in the life. What does your creative process look like? 

JT: I’m an early riser and try to get correspondence and shopping taken care of in the morning. Then I go to work in the studio which is conveniently located where I live. Like Cindy Sherman, I don’t have assistants; I prefer working in solitude. I sometimes listen to music or podcasts or I’ll play my guitar at breaktime. I only paint in natural daylight, so around 6 pm, I’ll head to the computer for some music composing, or reading. Afterward, my partner and I will relax with a glass of wine while preparing dinner.

C20: With a career spanning nearly 5 decades, what obstacles are you most proud to have overcome?  

JT: There’s no freedom until one has financial security. I was fortunate because I’ve had incredible support over the years - from family, galleries, museums, and collectors. This allowed me to persevere in my artmaking career, and eventually to own my studio, which really is a luxury today. I am grateful.  

C20: If you could transform one aspect of the art world with a snap of a finger, what would you change to improve the experience of women artists working today? 

JT: Due to the long history of patriarchy, there is still a disproportionate ratio of male to female artists. I would like to see artworks judged more on the basis of merit, not gender. And generally, women’s artwork sells for less than men’s. I’d like to snap my fingers and have parity in that department.

C20: Joni Mitchell wrote her song "Both Sides, Now" at age 21 and famously re-recorded it when she was 56, with much more life experience under her belt. Is there a project or painting from your past that you're itching to revisit from a renewed perspective?  

JT: In the past, I made paintings that were pointedly critical of racial prejudice and inequality, and sometimes the subject was dealt with in an ironic manner. However, the sincerity of my intentions could be misunderstood today. Society is much more complex and there are more boundaries. In all likelihood, I would not even make those paintings now. I recently gave a lecture for the Senior College at U of T called The Death of Irony. I think that sums it up.

C20: We are big fans of The Great Woman Artist podcast. At the end of each episode, Katy Hessel asks her guests, "If you could meet any woman artist living now or from history, who would it be, and what would you say to them?" We'd love to hear your answer. 

JT: Rosa Bonheur bravely repudiated the societal norms of the mid-1800s. She was a lesbian, smoked, wore men’s clothing, and went to the horse markets to sketch. I love her work and would like to tell her that she inspired me as a painter. It would be fascinating to discover how she managed during that era in spite of her radical lifestyle.