My art has always been rooted in the rural environment where I grew up, and dedicated to my ancestors; no matter where I go or how far away, I carry those places and people with me. The landscapes, family stories and traditions that are embedded in my work represent my ideas of home.
I choose to work with materials that I can shape and form. My ceramic work draws inspiration from my Ukrainian heritage. Researching and exploring the rich culture and diversity of the Ukrainian people has allowed me to develop a better understanding of my own family’s cultural immigration experience. All of these concepts are hand built in clay and then made permanent through the firing process.
My sculpture work is focused on Northwestern Ontario, the place where my ancestors settled, along the shore of Lake Superior. The use of textiles in my work allows me to connect with all those who came before me.
While my great grandparents left their home in Ukraine to start a new life in Northwestern Ontario, they brought their language, traditional recipes, knowledge of farming techniques, and a sense of resourcefulness with them. Through the process of learning to knit, sew, and crochet, I have worked to create a physical link between myself and my family lineage, connecting past and present.
Working in acrylic paint, sharpie and molding paste I hope to capture all different Indigenous people from all different walks of life. Whether they be status, non status, Ojibwe, Inuit, Mohawk etc. I begin my process with an interview with each individual where I get a sense of who they are, what they like and don’t like, and how they see themselves. I begin to understand colors and shapes that are unique to each individual’s personality. At the end of each interview I would ask “what does culture mean to you” which would also be included in my paintings. My intention with these paintings is to show how different we all are as Indigenous people. My art focuses on exploring themes of identity.
In my current works for painting, I use acrylic paints on canvas, although recently with painting I have started to implement thread-work as well. In my drawing practice I use graphite on fabriano paper. I use this paper because it has a good texture for drawing clothing material as it is not completely smooth. For both painting and drawing I always use a reference photo. I find that following a reference photo gives me a clear direction on how to proceed with the work, and if I decide to make changes, I can do that easily.
I begin my work by drawing a grid on top of the reference photo that I am using. From there I grab my canvas or paper and draw the same grid and the image that I am depicting. This helps me to make sure that everything is proportioned correctly.
If I get to a point where I become frustrated with the work, I will often take a break from it for a few minutes, if I am still having trouble then I will leave it, start a new work, and then eventually come back to it. I find that when I come back to work after a break, I can better see what changes I need to make, and how to approach its completion.
In my painting practice, I depict natural landscapes, all of which are inspired by my hometown of Thunder Bay, Ontario. With my paintings I want to encourage people to not only appreciate natural landscapes but understand the importance of preserving it. The thread-work that I have implemented into my paintings is meant to symbolize our land’s fragility and interconnectedness. With drawing, I was always told hands were the most difficult thing to draw which encouraged me to try and master the subject. Hands are fascinating to me because each pair tells a different story, and I wanted to share that concept in my work.
I can’t pinpoint when it clicked that art was my passion. It just sort of crept into my life and now I can’t live without it. My art revolves around dealing with memory loss. By creating as a way of journaling my experiences, I worry less about forgetting because painting and making hand-built forms provides me with something concrete to fall back on once my mind begins to truly fade. Forgetfulness runs in the family, and is something everyone in my life experiences.
The paintings recount some of my daily routines and experiences using mixed media, embroidery, fabric and acrylics. Each one detailing the places I go and the things that I do, and also capture the feelings that I have encountered over the past six months.
The ceramic works are drawn from places in and around my home in Southern Ontario. These include outdoor spaces such as hiking trails and parks that I have enjoyed. Recreating these places using clay is a way of preserving the memories forever.
My Nana unfortunately suffered through a difficult period of memory loss before passing away in 2021. She struggled with the decline of her memory, forgetting names and faces and important things, until everything became a blur. Memories that we all cherish such as time with family and friends, and important milestones just seemed to slip through her fingers. My work is a way of capturing some of the memories and creating a personal history for my future self.
I’m a Newfoundlander, I’m a sister, I’m an eldest daughter, I’m a student, I’m a dancer. For the longest time, those statements were the only things I knew I was, but I always felt there was something missing. Something I sort of knew, but never said much about because there wasn’t a definitive answer. Over the past year, I’ve discovered more about who I truly am, how I identify and what that means to me. With full confidence I can now add to the list and say that I am a queer woman, I identify as a lesbian. I am so proud to be a part of the LGBTQ+ community and I’ve made it my personal quest to incorporate my identity into everything I create.
My practice has majorly been influenced by art history, taking my favorite eras of art making and incorporating it with my identity and experiences.
In my painting work, I am inspired by the old masters of the Renaissance and their pieces about Greek deities, taking mythology and creating a scene through their male gaze. With that, I wanted to flip it around to make works through a female gaze, portraying the limited queer stories involving Greek goddesses. I take the dreamy realism of figures and place them in a brightly colored and stylized background, creating scenes that capture the classic essence of a Renaissance work while adding a contemporary flair.
In my drawing work, I wanted to pay homage to my home province. Looking into pieces of Newfoundland culture, there are some things that can be interpreted in a queer way. With influence from the Pop Art movement and cardstock paper in fun color palettes, I am taking both my heritage and my identity and showing them off proudly.
A lot of my inspiration comes from what is around me. During my time at Lakehead the majority of my artwork has been about my newborn daughter. I started the year with the same concept but decided to try something new. With hunting season around the same time when school begins, I thought I might try to create a series of work around that.
Most of my paintings have a bit of an image taken by a photo or the whole photo recreated on canvas. I edit my images beforehand digitally. This especially helped with my earlier works as my influences are those of the Baroque period and helped to create high contrast and a more dramatic scene.
My recent hunting painting series also explores different styles of painting such as realism, abstract, and elements from Woodland Art. The series I’m working on now is through the lens of my girlfriend and her family hunting photographs.
Interiors of the home and the places which we are familiar with are a personal yet unique concept. In my own life, interiors have offered the comfort of expressing my individuality based on both my interests in vintage pop culture memorabilia as well as my Italian heritage. It is my intention to show these spaces I have created as characterful, yet noble in the people who occupy them. The interiors in which we live have always been close to me, even though my art’s subject matter has shifted over recent years.
I have always been interested in mid-century objects in the home, and recent re-kindling of friendships from my family’s roots as simple, modest Italians living in Thunder Bay’s East End has made me realize not only the similarities of the spaces we both occupy, but the story of where my people come from. My most recent work deals with this idea of interior spaces of Italians, specifically the spaces of Italian Nonni.
I am exploring how these spaces are relatable through the habits of Italians such as reusing plastic bags, displaying old-world and ornate china and exhibiting religious statues in the foyer. These decorations show the humor as well as the relatability of our proud ancestors. My choice of medium is mostly acrlyic diluted with gel as well as vibrant pastel hues on paper. I find that use of these materials allows me to emphasize the mid-century colors attributed to the interiors of the older generation of Italians living here.
I find that these spaces are representative of the theme of family but also that of struggle. All of my father’s family lived in this area a half-a-century or more ago, arriving from Italy with absolutely nothing. Most of them lived in these exact homes, which still stand to this day, with these designs and decorations. They worked difficult jobs, saving every penny, with a kindred spirit and the hope to finally become part of the legacy which built Canada.
I have been living with a form of chronic pain that developed after suffering from an illness years ago. Since then, the mobility in my hands and legs has been reduced significantly. The changes to my abilities also brought feelings of loss and sadness that soon led to a journey of self-discovery and triumph. I was forced to reevaluate my life and take chances that fear kept me from taking.
I use natural materials to represent my choice of a non-pharmaceutical approach to pain relief and use the act of making to continue to battle my mobility loss. Foraging for natural materials such as pine needles, branches, grasses, and roots helps with my leg mobility and facilitates a healthy mental state. I also use cordage making, basket weaving, looming, ceramics, and sculpture to retain my dexterity. Creating art this way keeps my body going and gives me a new perspective and a way to voice the experiences.
Creating for me is a positive journey that is communicated through my artwork.