Kelly & Sonja

Get to know the partners behind Akasha Art Projects and Otto the gallery dog

By the Get Leashed Doggy style team

Kelly & Sonja - Akasha Art - Get Leashed Mag

We caught up with Kelly and Sonja at Akasha Art Projects on Church St. in Toronto during their #ARTival holiday art festival. When you’re artists, all your friends are artists, and you own an art gallery, what better way to use your space during the holiday season? Kelly and Sonja were sure to inform us that the gallery is usually setup quite differently, with exhibits displayed in a minimalist and elegant style. But for #ARTival, anything goes and the space is transformed into a beautiful smorgasbord of paintings, photography, and everything else that makes a great holiday gift. We loved it and really don’t think there could have been a better time to shoot our Doggy Style feature!

The other awesome thing that Akasha was currently hosting was a wonderful tintype project featuring pets. Otto, Kelly and Sonja’s Dachshund, made the perfect model (check out an image below) and we were totally intrigued by photographer Horst Herget’s work and his historical photo setup (additional images below).

If you’d like to be exposed (pun intended) to the wonderful photography happening in Toronto, Akasha Art Projects is a gallery you should keep your eye on. As well, if you ever need something framed, Kelly and Sonja are renowned for their professional style and personal touch.

We’ll leave it to them to tell you more about the gallery and how Otto the model…err, dog, came into their lives.

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Please tell us about yourselves:

We are practicing Fine Art Photographers who own a gallery and picture framing shop. This allows us to be surrounded by art all day, which is our passion. Assisting and interacting with our clients is the highlight of our day.

A bit about your pet:

Otto is our second Dachshund. There is something so comical and loving about this breed. We seem to gravitate towards them because of their distinct personalities.

What does your ideal weekend look like?

Our ideal weekend would include some downtime spent with family and friends and nice long walks with Otto at Cherry Beach.

Describe your personal style:

Kelly: “funky dandy”

Sonja: “elegant futch” — that’s butch with an F!

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What inspires you?

We find inspiration daily by pursuing our goals and manifesting our dreams into our reality.

How would you describe the look and feel of your gallery?

Our gallery space is bright, clean and contemporary.

A story about Otto:

Otto came into our lives in a very synchronistic and serendipitous way. We were literally in a restaurant having dinner when a stranger asked us if we wanted to adopt a dog and proceeded to show us a picture of a cute Dachshund. We found this to be random at first; however we have now come to understand that this was the universe at work, directing our paths to cross.

This was a very interesting time in our life with regards to pets and their presence in our lives. We were still mourning the loss of our first Dachshund, “Daquel,” and nursing our Cornish Rex cat, Luna, through weekly trips to the vet for chemotherapy treatments for a rare form of lymphoma. We were unsure at first if our hearts could open to a new pet as we were still aching from the loss of our first pet and the awareness that Luna’s illness was going to take her at some point. We found ourselves haunted by the image of Otto and agreed to welcome him into our lives. He is an incredible dog; he helped us through Luna’s passing and his presence in our life brings us daily pleasures and many laughs.