Toller Shalitoe Montague Cranston, (April 20, 1949 – January 24, 2015) was a widely acclaimed Canadian figure skater and lifetime painter, who always considered himself an artist first and a skater second.
Toller Montague Cranston (1949-2015) had the distinction of being an internationally acclaimed Canadian painter and Olympic athlete and a Member of the Order of Canada. As an athlete and artist, he was disciplined, focused and committed to excellence.
Inspired by stories, legends, magic and destiny, Toller’s works are rich in Russian, Mexican, and Canadian images and influences—-floating skaters, –exotic courtesans, and extraordinary settings. The vivid colours and fantastical creatures are drawn from Toller’s imagination. His original works are sought by international collectors and his paintings have been featured in more than 250 exhibited around the world. He also designed huge metal and glass chandeliers, woven rugs and upholstery fabrics. Toller’s formal art education was halted due to the rigorous demands of his training and competition schedule, but he always considered himself an artist first.
As a figure skater, Toller revolutionized the sport and impacted generations of skaters by expressing new dimensions of artistry and emotion. He was the six-time Canadian National Champion (1971-76), World Bronze Medalist (1974), and Olympic Bronze Medalist (1976). He was named Skater of the Century by the European press and is a member of the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame.
Toller expressed his artistry in his lifestyle, and as a writer, raconteur, decorator and television personality. He shared his knowledge of art and art history by introducing fellow skaters to museums and galleries as they toured major cities throughout the world. He held painting workshops for Mexican youth, to teach, inspire and empower. He shared his studio in San Miguel with aspiring painters, supporting and encouraging them by buying and exhibiting their work.
Toller Cranston passed away at the age of 65 in his studio in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. His tombstone in San Miguel simply says Toller, Artist, 1949-2015.
Artworld represents the Toller Cranston Estate Art Collection.
“My paintings are exactly like my skating. Very me, good or bad. Very decorative, good or bad. And very unusual, good or bad. I am a painter first and a skater second.” Toller Cranston