A Canadian painter risks everything to break into New York’s art market | Fisk: The New York Opening

A Canadian painter risks everything to break into New York’s art market | Fisk: The New York Opening

(honk) – When I was younger, when I was in school, I had a hard time. I didn’t fit into the stream. And I got kicked out of schools, expelled, suspended… I don’t know how many times. So what I needed, thankfully, was some sort of way
to define myself, give myself an identity. Fortunately, my mother
put me into lessons when I was, I think, seven. I always say that
if I didn’t have my art, I’d probably be in jail. (laughs) Which is probably true. You can be very poor
and struggling but there’s also
the opportunity that, with the right circumstances
coming into play, a bit of luck, hard work, that you can get
to astronomical heights of personal success. – This is the first solo
exhibition in this new space. We have basically everything
riding on this show. So, we need to sell a lot of
Fisks to keep the ball rolling. – Frank Bernaducci Gallery is giving me the opportunity to show the best work
that I have done to this point in a major market. And I’m incredibly optimistic about what this opportunity
presents. – You know, it’s a gamble.
We are gamblers. This is his first show
with our gallery, period. So, he has no track record
with our clients. So, he’s kind of starting
from scratch. (♪♪♪) The show runs through mid-May. It’ll be up for the auction a week when people come
from all over the world to be in New York
and look at art and that will help us. And he’s got clients
coming down from his hometown,
in Toronto, and other clients in Canada will be here. The best-case scenario
is that people will say: What is going on in Canada? How did we miss this? Why do we not know about
these Canadian painters? The worst-case scenario is that he would be
totally ignored. That no one
would write about it, no museum interest,
no critical attention. That would be a disaster. I think his work is long overdue
to be seen in New York. Now, Will’s prices,
in my view, are low relative to what goes on
even just on this block. We have David Hockney’s work
opening across the street. His work sells
for millions of dollars. And he’s literally two hundred
meters away from the door here. Will could not be better situated. Like, he’s in the heart
of the heart of Chelsea. (hammering) – OK, good! – Let’s go. – Fantastic. – William and I have been
together for a long time. About twenty-two years. William is someone who needs to paint. And I think
because I was similar when I was dancing, I needed to dance, I understand that about him. I’ve never questioned why he needs to come out here
to his studio, six, seven days a week. And if he didn’t,
he couldn’t be a good father, he couldn’t be a good husband, he couldn’t, you know,
pick the kids up from school, because he would be unhappy. And I understand that, because I have experienced
that as a dancer. (paper rustling) (♪♪♪) – The scariest thing
is to know that you finally
have gotten to this level, that I’ve always strived
to attain since I was fourteen years
old… Um… and there’s a possibility that, you know, it doesn’t all work out. You know,
that it isn’t all perfect once you get to this… the most… the uppermost echelon. This is my favourite. And the time invested in it,
obviously, to me, was worth it. And this one took four months. And I worked on it…
I didn’t take a break. I worked on it straight through
for four months. Every day, seven days a week. I’m not an easy person to live with. Because, you know, I’m married
to my work, in a way. But your partner,
your wife or spouse, is completely understanding
that you need to do that to be the person
you want to be. And that’s
an incredible gift. – Let’s say,
if we sell everything, it’s like a quarter
of a million dollars. If we sell them all. And the artist would get… $125,000… And, let’s say he took out
a second mortgage for what, 300? So, well, he’s getting closer
to getting his house back! (birds chirping) So, the show opens
at six o’clock. It’s two hours from now. We kind of stress out
between now and then, but basically, we’re ready. And people are coming in.
Are we open? OK… All we need is the artist. So, I’m trying to reach Will, except he doesn’t have
a cell phone. (busy chatter) I have “Will Fisk”, but it’s actually
his wife’s number. Let me see what happens. (♪♪♪) – I’m ready! (indistinct chatter) (♪♪♪) (indistinct goodbyes) Donald, good to see you. – Pleasure.
– Pleasure. This is the same
expert sienna… – This is a return to the great tradition
of having skill, in Renaissance,
Baroque, whatever. The subject matter
is totally different, it’s completely different, but it’s very
meticulously made. Just the way
William is talking about the paint
he’s applying, etc., the colors
that are underneath, it’s extraordinarily
subtle art. And that is something quite unusual. This is the most complicated, brilliant abstract work
that I see being made today. This is a brilliant passage,
right here, stripe painting. It’s like you’ve covered every
dimension of abstraction, so to say. – I’m quite after Kelly,
and then, there’s Newman… – You’re better than
they are, frankly. So, just from a purely aesthetic
point of view, I think they’re quite unique. In my experience,
I look at a lot of art, I’m a great admirer
of something really subtle, ingenious. – I’ve been back home now for about a week
since the show opened. On purpose,
I’d started a new work before I’d left for the opening, so that when I came back, there wouldn’t be too much
of a disruption in my work schedule,
if you like. I could come back
and go right into work again. It’s not about
the success or failure of a show of this level. It’s, you know,
there’s the realization that the world still spins, the sun comes up
and goes down, my kids still have
to go to basketball practice. You know,
there’s a way, for me, to put it in perspective that you just
got to let it go. You have to just… focus on going forward and creating these things
that I want to see made. That is the most
important thing and that is my life. (crickets chirping)


  • CBC Docs says:

    His paintings are so detailed, you'll think they're photographs – https://youtu.be/AAuxglzfrDM

  • The Urban Shaman Osceola says:

    Great projector work

  • Jammy joe says:

    To put yourself out there takes courage and sacrifice. Congrats on your Exhibit!

  • J T says:

    4:42 7 days a week? Girl that man sounds like a workaholic, which is good…but bad for the family when he can't apply himself. Get that checked.

  • J T says:

    8:52 Guy taking a pic with the Iphone just proved he doesn't HAVE to buy any painting to have it. Just take a pic of it.

  • Daniel Jean-Baptiste says:

    Great technical skills, not sure about the subject matter, just a lamp, just a chair, what's the point?

  • fritz4345 says:

    Great stuff!

  • Alien : Sky says:

    Please man. This is YouTube. Those paintings are sold.

  • Lucipherous de Illuminati says:

    His work shows skill…..and? What else? What he paints i can take a picture of. Its boring and mundane. Big whoop!

  • Kostas Neboisa says:

    ,GOD-ART-ARTIST. ,.. in his case —!!!???$$$?

  • Billy onairre says:

    If this is considered art nowadays, then I don't want to be called an artist.

  • Audio Pervert says:

    Market… A late-stage empire and its art decay …

  • Artarr says:

    I don't get it what is the high risk he is taking ? and how did he break into the art market in the first place ? that's the question, so many skillful artists out there.

  • aaron j says:

    Me: Fisk, show me what is in your soul!
    Fisk: paints rotary telephone
    Me:…Ok, now that you've got that out of your system, dig deeper.
    Fisk: paints handheld hole-punch

  • Frank J. says:

    What was the big risk he took? Sounds like he already had a gallery that agreed to show his work. Every show every artist has is a risk by those standards. The paintings themselves are well-composed and I imagine look pretty nice in person.

  • Dennis Halterman says:

    I made it to 5:49 listening to these people drone on and on about art while simultaneously missing the entire point of art. If this is a stealthy piece of performance art where that is the point then bravo, well done!

    Cool paintings either way.

  • Benjamin gszy says:

    "Better to be hated than to be ignored"? You won

  • Kantu Michael says:

    I like that easle he is using. Where can I find one.

  • Kantu Michael says:

    The work is too goood. So real., the paintings are realistic. Pure. And basic things we see every day. He has made them special. You can't imagine his country has never seen him

  • Sarah Parkes says:

    love his work

  • TheB antique says:

    "this is the most complicated, abstract work…"~` 9:58 , you see monochromatic camera with lenses, but you see abstract …wrong definition, and wrong people.

  • charlotte rodriguez says:

    A hundred years from now, future generations will look back at these paintings and learn the essence of these items created in this era.

  • goshmargo says:

    I had that exact blue clock radio as a kid. So strange to see it quietly alive. It is subtle. Maybe his art is the definition of subtlety. I found myself resisting then liking it. Subltle;)

  • fascinatinglist says:

    We all could learn a lot from Van gogh, it doesnt matter if you never sell a single painting so as long as you know your self worth. This man is a genius, money shouldnt define your talent.

  • bbqlumpia says:

    He "sells all" his art at the show for "$250,000" and would get $125,000 for 2 years of work, at best, with a $300k 2nd mortgage (insert gallery owners laugh)…so tell me how does an artist benefit being with a gallery?

  • John Brocato says:

    A reformed man

  • hallobaaaby says:

    If I didn’t “have my art” I still wouldn’t “have been in jail” because I had my inner awareness to guide me about not hurting others or myself. If you don’t have inner awareness your art may be crap posturing anyway. Talking about posturing, this all looks/feels like a bunch of Posters.

  • EMSVEN13 says:

    This is excruciatingly relatable. I too hope I can achieve success in the creative field- Something I've wanted since I was 15.

  • KNH says:

    Craft is not a bad word, unless you call it Art. He is 40 yrs late for super realism and 30 for pop realism. Definition of craft is to take a material and use a technique to create an aesthetic. And he is a very talented craft painter, but his work is not showing anything new or adding anything to the history of art.
    So many painters push paint around, without thinking about it, like a potter spins clay to create functional/non functional objects. There is no content or concept to make his work historically relevant. He answers the question what? but not why or what could it mean, other than look how nice I can paint.
    If he is ok with creating craft, then great – if not, he needs to find a way to take his painting talent and push it farther to ask himself and others, questions that can not be summed up in one short sentence. I like craft and impressed with what they can accomplish, but I would not call it art.

  • Joseph Charles Colin - The NEW FACE of Art says:

    I'm that Other Canadian

  • sonny corbi says:


  • Roa Arte says:

    I prefer the art of Jhoan Roa or Salvador Dali

  • Baby Irene says:

    Wish the work was interesting

  • Doug G says:

    By the look of his studio, he does ok.

  • shenanigans says:

    It's great to be optimistic aboot opportunities

  • M A says:

    Artists are so mistreated, it’s disgusting

  • Timothy Evans says:

    What exactly did he risk? His house via a second mortgage? Why did he need one? He's obviously been painting for years so why now did he need a second mortgage just to show in a NYC gallery. This headline doesn't make any sense, and the corresponding write up is utter pretentious nonsense.

  • mediumstudio says:

    beautiful work!

  • David Garde says:

    Good skills ,but creativity is missing!

  • David Garde says:

    Good skills ,but creativity is missing !

  • hugh oliveiro says:

    WITH ALL DUE RESPECT…..In a vastly changing, and modern world of advanced technology, and techniques, particularly in 'PHOTOGRAPHY' one is tempted to ask…..Why???

    and 'WHAT'??? is to be revered here…patience, skill, ???……all that a click of the finger will achieve in a flash, with a camera. Surely painting is more than that.

  • Ken Young says:

    What a sad video. They hardly talk about the work. Only the art critic can say something about it but I doubt he bought one. Perhaps his independence is compromised anyway. Four sold would bring in 80K to 180K which is probably barely breakeven for the gallery. And for the artist it probably means another year on minimum wage and little scope for another show.

  • Tim Young says:

    I can't understand why an artist would reduce his 'artistic' moment (choosing what he will paint and why) and increase his dull technical time. What does he need to prove? Is there truly more value, in these days of the workshops of Hirst and Koons, of him doing this himself? Is his art the masochistic activity itself?

  • La'Mar Alexander Owens says:

    He’s highly talented! But yes, like some of his reviews, I want to see his own innovation, like see his entire creator on the canvas! His details are 👌🏾! Highly meticulous.

  • John Stark says:


  • NIRMALA N says:


  • Bruce B says:

    The gallery owner said he was bringing down his clients. What? Why? Can’t the Canadian clients buy the work in Canada? All these gallery owners are only after the artist’s clients.

  • Jeroen de Sterke says:

    I've had many exhibitions myself and believe me – the days leading up the opening is the most energy-sapping time you can imagine.
    There are the so-called 'vanity galleries' in NYC. You simply put your money down (loads of it) and they'll set up a show for you. I've had this one such gallery chase me for some years now and every time I send them packing. Unless i missed it, can someone tell me why he had to remortgage his house? Was the gallery THAT expensive to hire?
    I noted almost every parasite hanging around, posing with their coterie of little friends, drinking the booze and not being interested in the slightest what's on the walls.
    NYC is notoriously difficult to break into. I wonder how De Kooning, Rothko, Kline etc would have fared today?
    Regarding his rotating easel – check out the internet, otherwise just make one yourself. Easy peasy.

  • Julian I says:

    I've learned to distinguish between artist and aestetic creators. This guy is an eastetic painter. Advanced decour, the meaning is the eastetic itself.

  • Quincy Logie says:

    Great skill…boring as hell though.

  • Michael Park says:


  • David Platt says:

    Great doc. Great paintings.

  • Jim Franco says:

    That title is click bait. He wasn't risking everything. Fisk had a gallery show in NYC. Hardly living on the edge.

  • Edward Edward says:

    I’m surprised he only sold 4 this is really good work.

  • Redd Nacpil says:

    he didnt just copy those, he composed the details to look how he wanted. there is a subtlety to his work. it might seem boring cause its in a video, and you might feel like youve seen a million other photo realist out there, but theres always something different and grand when a person pays attention to so much detail not the detail of what he is painting but the detail of the image he is creating himself

  • John Kimble says:

    The cameras are beautiful

  • allison anderson says:

    Of course another profile on another male artist.. what about all the WOMEN who gave everything and have went unnoticed.

  • attila antal says:

    these are just painting and not art

  • Bintang Perkasa says:

    Poetic feeling to see when a camera is painted in photographically-superrealism way. Irony I'd say…

  • Watches and Art says:

    Impressive talent…

  • JazlDazl says:

    Enlightening that great art is truly only as good as it's marketing

  • airmark02 says:

    the subtitles at end of this self indulgent Doc. ( Crickets Chirping ) kind of says it all ~ lol

  • Anders Liljevall says:

    Art for fetishists maybe. Pretty pointless. If you like perfection, buy a Bolin tiara or a Faberge egg)(if you can afford it, good investment too!)

  • Michael says:

    “Williams work is priced low, there are david Hockney’s across the street” hmm, okay, so by that logic, if I show next to David Zwirner, I should sell my work based on the most expensive work that another gallery sells their end of career artists who have established primary and secondary works for? Wow, did not realize that is how that worked…

  • Michael says:

    That art critic said he was better than barnett newman and Ellsworth Kelly…hahahaha two pioneers of an entirely new genre compared to fisk who is doing derivative work that has already been done better by robert bechtle, richard estes, ralph goings, etc…etc…you should compare apples to apples…

  • lambent ort says:

    His subject matter is super banal but really quite intriguing. There is a cold sharpness to it all… as if he's trying to match the superb engineering inherent of the original objects. Composed to show off their design, framed against icy white backgrounds, emblems of mid-20th century materiality, things that symbolise past glories… meticulously made things, but long past their prime. Cameras, clocks, watches. It's not just photorealism. It's an homage to a kind of obsessive perfectionism. It's about the death of something.

  • Samuel Mitchell says:

    Great !
    I wonder what easel he used

  • Alfred Rivera says:

    The glasses painting would look good in an optometrist’s office.

  • marino patti says:

    this is art?

  • Winona Wins says:

    Beautiful!! N to risk invest everything like this goes to show what a thorough artist he is….. From one artist to another my sincere prayers n wishes for Fisk to be successful n well known. ☺👍👍👍

  • Reid Sheftall says:

    a good photorealist.. not risking anyting.. just got a NY show. Good for him.. I like the blender the most..very good.. Good luck!

  • Jon Xenos says:

    Everyone wants to come o the US for the money taking away US citizen's opportunities…. stay in Canada with your super health care system & bow to the queen….

  • Jose Blanco says:

    Apple should buy it all.

  • john ryman says:

    He's an illustrator, his work has no emotive quality and shows nothing of innovation or creativity, "newness". If this was 1969 ? They can be made by machine, why bother? Is it professional careerism, or career professional?

  • jaduvalify says:

    Elegant. Articulate. Subtle. Perfect. Elite. Maybe Japan will be next.

  • Don Bailey says:

    You should get yourselk a good camera , it dont take four months to take a picture. Could have saved yourselk a lot of time.
    Then just put a few brush strokes here and there and call it a mixed
    What to you mean, iam makeing fun of modern art? Ok so iam.
    When you can tear up a sheet of newspaper drop it on a Museum
    Floor put a clear plastic box over it and call it art, i think Rembrandt
    And a few others are rolling over in their graves from shame.

  • gloobnord says:

    Why not just take a photo? Sparnaay has already shown that an egg will sell. These guys are technicians, but are they artists? Is this what their lives are like? If it is I feel sorry for their kids. I have a blender, but it certainly doesn't inspire me. It's an electric tool. It's like a cave painter thousands of years ago only painting a stick with a stone tip over and over and over again. Wouldn't tell us anything about what their lives were like.

  • Amaresh Pereira says:

    Awsum work, my best wishes Wiilam!

  • Paul Drake says:

    I am not into photo-realism but they are very well done. I am an artist so I know what it's like before an exhibition so I wish him all the best.

  • Gavin Yates says:

    Key West

  • Gavin Yates says:

    Risking everything? Pay to play is more like it and him just being a C+ artist Trump's and a plus artist they can't afford to pay to play. Thanks a lot New York.


    I want your adjustable easel! By the way, where can i find the chair?

  • Cameron Peterson says:

    This art is amazing. Photo realism. 4 months on that painting ??!! I would self promote. If it means a lot to you than keep it, I wouldn’t even compromise on the price

  • smartalec 88 says:

    Beautiful work William. I wandered through Chelsea last year (2018) and saw a lot of your work in a gallery. I only know this now because i remembered seeing those miid century items, and now I know who made them. Congrats on getting your work into the New York art market. That alone is a monumental feat.

  • josh posh says:

    back in the days of Gustav Courbet it was taboo to paint such bland everyday subject matter as a Funeral or workers breaking stones…. or an exposed woman… yet that art is eternal and so is this

  • Ekaterina says:

    He's so lucky he can do that..I'd like to do my artwork too but don't have time for that as I have to look after my husband who's very poorly but I'm blessed I can look after him.
    Wonder if his life has changed in one second, like mine did, what would he do. Wishing him lots of happiness.

  • Marcel Moonen says:

    The painting with the lenses is interesting and really stands out.
    The other subjects are too dull, maybe if he would find some more interesting subjects.

    Tittle is clickbaid by the way.

  • technosteed says:

    2:29 When you're at a gallery and can touch a piece because you're the artist.

  • technosteed says:

    9:59 I thought he'd spill coffee all over the painting.

  • Walter Carter says:


  • Elisabeth Thunderberry says:

    He should get paid more!!!?

  • Elisabeth Thunderberry says:

    Four of the twelve were sold

  • Robin Lindberg says:

    ❤️🙏Can I move in with you, I'd LOVE to learn from you please🙏. -Kidding you,… (sort of, yes I am but…) Really LOVE your work. Beautiful. Fits right in with my art aesthetic. 😀. Congrats to you, and much success.🙋❤️

  • Rose Agaatsz says:

    Incredible 🖼 such a unique artwork !

  • Tsetsi says:

    Very well made but he spends too much time on each piece

  • Debra Moss says:

    Breathtaking, jawdropping art. Incredible. Thank you for sharing this.

  • blinkinglightbeacon says:


  • Dan Pearce says:

    Desperately boring paintings…

  • Craven Moorehead says:

    Hyper realist? Isnt that the 80’s?

  • balcon says:

    Nathan Walsh painting behind Frank Bernarducci is beautiful.

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