Three years ago, Dani Cooperman walked into an open house, just for kicks, and ended up buying the 19-year-old property two days later. "It was an impulse buy," admits the South African-born, Toronto-based art director, who was sold on the surge of natural light brightening the interior. Today, she shares the home with her husband, Evan, and their three children, reserving a bedroom for artwork she creates apart from her day job. More than a hobby, her large-scale, photo-based compositions took top prize last year in a Sony-sponsored photography contest hosted by The Artist Project. This year, Cooperman is hoping that lightning will strike twice when the annual contemporary art fair's next instalment unfolds at Toronto's Better Living Centre Feb. 19 to 22. The four new pieces she plans to present draw inspiration from the stream of sunlight flooding her home, including the living room, where some of her pieces are already on display. "It looks grown-up, but it's a kids' room – a very open, warm and welcoming place," she says.
"I got these Heller Arco Bellini chairs from Design Within Reach. They are see-through and I love how they dissolve into the view [behind them], adding to the airy quality of the room."
"This is the first large piece I created as part of my hybrid photo/paint-based series, Exposure. This piece is called Concrete. But it is really anything but. Whether as a result of the natural sunlight or the remote-control dimmer on the LED panel, the light quality of the piece changes throughout the day. It is never the same image twice."
"The vintage Pentax camera and Soligor lenses belonged to my grandfather. He was a very talented photographer and I have wonderful childhood memories of photo-safaris with him across my native South Africa. My grandmother was an artist and their home was filled with creativity. These pieces are nostalgic reminders of my roots."
"My husband and I purchased the vases on our honeymoon in Thailand. Somehow they survived three weeks of travel."
"This custom ottoman is from GH Johnson in Toronto and forms the base of many imaginative games played by my older kids, like Speedboat, Volcano and Space Station. It also stores art supplies and electrical components for my own pieces."
"This is based on a story of sisters overcoming race and gender issues in post-apartheid South Africa. Their hair is a collage of mirror, textiles, acrylic paint, photos and textiles from my travels there."