How I Became An Artist

2003: Picking up where I left off in portraiture. My first oil painting.

2003: Picking up where I left off in portraiture. My first oil painting.

Looking back on my years as an artist, I sometimes find myself asking “How in the world did I end up here?” or “What decisions have led me to this point in life?”. Though I’m unable to recount every decision or detail up to today (besides I promised myself that this would not be a long post), I would like to share with you some of the more influential moments which have started me on this path. I believe that we are all born with artistic ability. People laugh when I say this, but I honestly believe this is the truth. Children are proof of that ability. The first thing children do is interpret the world they see, through song, dance, drawings, role-playing you name it. They create stories and are eager to share their discoveries with the people they love. It’s how they learn and express the things they see. So what happens when we get older? Who knows, life happens, but little by little we put away such things. Not all things are “childish” or should be put away. If a child has a strong desire to build or create, then it’s a matter of nurturing their interests. Maybe the child is a musician, a painter, a poet waiting to come of age. And when they do, a paradigm shift may occur, influencing future generations.

What’s the point of living if you can’t do the things you love?
The person who said this to me years ago did so only in passing, but it stuck with me. When I think of this statement I’m reminded of why I chose to be an artist. However the path isn’t easy. Becoming an artist seemed like a natural fit. But the biggest hurdle on this path was me. From a very young age my artistic interests were encouraged mostly by teachers and some family members. I excelled in visual arts in high school, but I never set out to be an artist. Being able to draw and paint was just a part of me. The thought of not creating didn’t cross my mind.  However upon graduating high school in 1996, my family couldn’t afford to send me to art school or university for that matter so I took out student loans and went to college to study business administration, graduating in 1999. Like so many people, life happened. I couldn’t create – With the pressure of paying off the student loans, bills etc. I was working to survive. During those years it felt like a part of me was lost. That was until the year 2000 when I picked up the paint brush and started painting.

Hello, is it me you’re looking for?
Painting again was like being reunited with an old friend – surreal at first, but eventually you pick-up where you left off. One day, with encouragement from my grandmother, I submitted my works to the Human Rights through Arts Exhibition to be juried and was accepted. My reason for participating at the time was that it seemed to be a worthy cause – to bring human rights awareness through art. On the opening night of the exhibition, people observed my paintings, asked questions and were positive. Viewers added their own stories and interpretations to the work. It was wonderful! I felt a sense of euphoria. And it was in that moment that I knew this is what I wanted to do. Realizing this, I felt reborn; I had finally found (or more like re-discovered) my fit. In the years that followed I painted vigorously, with a sense of urgency, experimenting with several art media, styles and subjects.

I eventually signed-up for night courses at Ontario College of Arts and Design (now OCADU) and when I reached my course limit I enrolled in the Fine Arts program as a mature student. Enrolling as a mature student actually worked to my benefit, because I had a better appreciation of the experience, also since I was working; I was able to pay for the entire program myself. 

L-R: 2003: This collage was a study in non-objective art. 2003: Meanwhile outside of school I was experimenting with. 2004: An early school assignment.

2003 – 2004: I experimented with several styles and mediums from collage (left), to digital painting (center). But I had an interest in capturing a person’s emotions in portraiture (right). All were studies completed while at OCAD.

The wonder years
Between work and school I submitted my paintings to several galleries and juried shows. I was one of the few students in my class exhibiting. I figured it’s better to start approaching galleries while in school that way the transition to the art world would be easier after graduating. I think a lot of students fail to realize the importance of setting up contacts while in school, making the transition to the art world more difficult upon graduating. An instructor even advised us that if you don’t start exhibiting while in school you’ll never do so after graduating especially if there’s the added pressure of finding work in order to pay off students loans. There is certainly truth in what he said. By graduation in 2007 I already had a steady network of galleries and public spaces to show my artwork.

2004-2005: (L) A school assignment. I was starting to experiment with abstracted landscapes. (R) One of the last portraits I did before moving into landscapes and abstractions.

2004-2007: I was starting to experiment with abstracted landscapes (left). One of the last portraits I did before moving into landscapes and abstractions (center). A two-panel piece or dyptych that was accepted in the COLOURblind? mask-themed exhibition (right).

Early in my artistic career my works were accepted into exhibitions, but a lot of times not. Going through this experience was invaluable because I had better appreciation of the opportunities that came my way. The rejections were very hard, but I’ve learned that with something as subjective as art not everyone will like your work. Rejections are not personal. With galleries, collectives, art guilds etc. it all comes down to value systems and fit. What matters is that you believe in yourself. When I started to take myself seriously as an artist and truly believe in my abilities, others started to do so as well. I researched galleries beforehand to make sure my work was a good fit. I sought guidance from experienced artists, curators and other members of the art community. Lastly I slowed down and started to paint with purpose – which is to bring people together through art. Afterwards things began to fall into place. This was when I really started to come into my own as an art professional. Experimenting with different media, challenging myself.


2007-2010: The years when I began to come into my own as an art professional. Work from the The REALM of Belief (left), Terra Forma (center) and Impressions of Kinetic Creation (right) series. I always had an interest in alternative science, science-fiction as well as nature, therefore my works always revolved around these themes, which remains to this day.

Today, I recognize that being an artist is not fleeting, it’s a vocation. As you mature so does your work. Above all it’s a path where you end up learning more about yourself. I’m still learning.

2010 to present: My work today.

2010 – present: My work today.

“13″ – Gallery 1313 Members Exhibit

Thanks to everyone who attended the members’ exhibit at Gallery 1313. It was a good success with approximately 250 visitors on opening night. You can read more about the exhibition on

Here are some snapshots:








9th Annual Canadian Human Rights Through Art Exhibition

Yes it is true, I have been a very “busy little bee” painting away in my corner of the universe as well as learning, studying and creating new experiences and improving my practice.

Just to keep you up to date I have posted two new works in the Figurative gallery on Fullmontague. These works will be on exhibit in the Canadian Human Rights Through Art Exhibition (Toronto, CAN) starting January 31, 2005 at the following venues:

January 31-February 4~ Scotiabank Plaza
February 7-11~ Metro Hall
February 14-18~ Coca-Cola Ltd. Toronto Headquarters
February 24-March 11~ Mooishi Gallery/ Hamilton City Hall
March 14-April 1~ Burlington Art Centre

The official launch of the exhibit wiil be on Monday, February 7, 2005 at Metro Hall at 6:30pm.

Also I would like to thank all those who have visited, emailed or signed my guestbook. Your support is very much appreciated and I just wanted to let you know that I am working very hard to keep the site updated with new and lively works.

Peace and Love !

8th Annual Human Rights Through Art Exhibition

February 2-27, 2004, Touring, Toronto CAN

In celebration of Black History Month, The Canadian Human Rights Commision will be holding their 8th Annual Human Rights Through Art Exhibition featuring the works of both established and emerging artists (such as myself). Organized by the The Canadian Human Rights Commission in collaboration with The Halton Police Services, Scotiabank and Coca-Cola, this exhibit not only celebrates the achievements and contributions of Blacks in Canadian culture through the means of art expression but it also celebrates the human rights and expression of all Canadians.

From February 2- 27, 2004, the works will be rotated throughout Toronto at the location of the sponsors involved in this year’s event.

Opening reception for this exhibition will be held on Thursday, February 12, 2004 at 6:30 pm at The Rotunda, Metro Hall, 55 John Street in Toronto, Canada.

Artist Talk, Valley Park Middle School

As part of the Human Rights Through Art Exhibition and Black History Month I was invited by the communications coordinator Melanie Vendrame of Coca-Cola to talk to the grade 7 and 8 students of Valley Park Middle School who were visiting on location (Toronto, CAN). The students and I discussed how important it is exercise your rights and to be an active participant in the community no matter how big or small. The students were most impressive in their knowledge and questions about human rights and I have to say it was fun spending time with them. They also had questions about my work as an artist and the arts in general. When asked why did I become an artist, I responded that in the arts you have the opportunity to communicate on a different level and if you have a dream then you most definitely have to reach for it. For the sky is not the limit and every voice needs to be heard.

7th Annual Human Rights Through Art Exhibition

February 3 to March 13, 2003, Touring, Toronto CAN

This is my third year participating in the Human Rights Through Art Exhibition. This exhibit in celebration of Black History Month in Canada displays the works of both emerging and established artists in Ontario. Organized by the Ontario Regional Office of the Canadian Human Rights Commission and sponsored by McDonald Block, Scotiabank, Coca-Cola and the Royal Picture Framing Factory, this exhibit not only celebrates the achievements and contributions of Blacks in Canadian culture through the means of art expression but it also celebrates the human rights and expression of all Canadians..

From February 3 to March 13, 2003, works will be rotated throughtout Toronto at the location of the sponsors involved in this year’s event.