Could you give us some background information about yourself?
I grew up and lived in and around small rural areas near Sussex New Brunswick with a big part of my youth spent in Penobsquis. Both my parents have artistic abilities and I was drawn towards drawing and illustration at a very early age. My roots in drawing as a kid, focused replicating the things I loved such as comic book characters and portraits of people. While I’ve diverged into many other mediums over the years, those roots still pull forward in many pieces I create today.
Where did you get your education concerning your discipline? Are you self-taught?
Aside from my talented high school art teacher, Alice Whitney, I’ve educated myself through books, self-experience, practice and most recently with the bevy of art educational resources available online.
What is something you wish to accomplish in the next 5 years?
I just completed a “100 paintings in 100 days” challenge I gave myself and I’m currently on an “Art a Day for a Year” project that encompassed something newly created every day for a year. Currently on Day 109. Along with expanding my overall body of work, I have a sculpture series planned and a graphic novel based on my childhood in Penobsquis that are my short term goals in that 5 year period.
What are you inspired by?
I get inspired by my family and the world of New Brunswick around me. I love unconventional people and they often become muses for me in my work. My favorite source of inspiration is talking to people at events when I’m live painting. Seeing what pieces move them or what things they’d like to see. It’s an endless source of creative drive.
What made you want to stay in your community? NB?
New Brunswick and it’s people are my home. It’s a pace of life that just feels right. I first saw Fredericton as an 11-year-old that came here on a school trip and fell in love with the city immediately. I always told my parents I wanted to live there and I still love taking in the city when I come from the North side to the south side and see the whole tree covered city laid out before me.
Have you found the resources provided by ArtsLink NB to be helpful?
I’m fairly new to the ArtsLink NB community as I wanted to connect with many of the talented artists we have in the region and make sure I was aware of upcoming events I could take part. In that regard it’s been an invaluable asset.
What is a highlight of your career so far?
Just after I had finished my “100 paintings in 100 days” challenge I went to an event with several talented local artists to see their work and meet them. While I consider myself very new in trying to become a part of the greater Fredericton Art community, it was thrilling to me that even though I was there to meet them, when I told them my name, each of them had heard of my challenge and gave me kudos for the undertaking. It was very rewarding to hear.
What is a quote you try to live by?
My favorite quote and the one that drives me is by Stephen King. I have lived my life inwardly as an artist… but I did most of my art for myself and family without putting in effort. I frequently throughout my life have been told I was talented… but Stephen King’s quote put it all in perspective for me. “Talent is Cheap… it’s as common as table salt. The only thing that separates the talented from the successful, is a lot of hard work”. My goal now is to put in that hard work every day to build my own version of success.
Where are some of the coolest places you’ve been with your art?
I’ve been fortunate enough to travel and get to sit and sketch in China, Mexico and Scotland.. but that was just my alone time with a sketch pad. My favorite so far has been live painting at the Garrison Night Market this summer interacting with the patrons as they visit the market. It’s incredibly stimulating and inspiring.
What is a challenge you’ve been faced with and how did you overcome it?
My life as an artist changed for the better this year when I friend asked me to paint at a local art battle. Up until that point I had never painted. I had 2 days’ notice to prepare a painting I could do in 20 minutes in front of a crowd of strangers. I could have easily declined, but I worked out a design and practiced for 2 days straight. I ended up winning my round. This was a catalytic point that I believe has changed my life. I had thought, for a large part of my adult life, being a full-time artist was never going to be within my grasp. That while I dreamed as a child of being an animator for Disney, I would be relegated to doing the odd pen and ink sketch for a family member here and there. Facing that challenge and seeing what it brought out in me changed everything. From that event came my decision that if I wanted to learn to paint, I needed to to a lot of work to develop the skill. That gave me the inspiration to do my “100 paintings in 100 days” challenge. I gave me the courage to put my work out there. To meet the great people in the Fredericton Art community and join different groups in the city. I made me want to take every opportunity I can get. Even though I work a regular 40-hour work week… I still am creating every evening, I’m live painting once or twice a week and my brain is constantly racing to the next challenge. Never let yourself believe it’s too late. Don’t dwell on the time gone. Look at the time forward. I, for one, can’t wait to see what’s next.