Posted by Laura | April 9, 2015
I am a full-time expressionist painter with a surrealist edge. I paint urban landscapes and personify buildings so they look like the people who live in them.
I like to take an everyday urban landscape and render it with a blend of caricature and idealism. I crowd all the landmarks you want to see in a single scene but can’t capture in a single mind’s eye memory. I make buildings look like living things and use painterly expressionism to create a loose, bright scene that seems as happy as most of us wish we were.
My stylized distortion of architecture often represents the people who inhabit the buildings and neighbourhood scenes. The vivid colours and implied instability create a whimsical and cheerful view of the city. I’ve learned that you can’t control the world but you can interpret it, and I like to emphasize the color and character and electricity of life. There is so much joy and motion around us. My hope is that those who like my work get a jolt of familiarity.
I grew up in a pulp mill town in BC’s interior. My art teachers were often exasperated because I wanted to go by instinct, which means I am mostly self-taught. The stereotype of the starving artist combined with the 80’s recession scared me away from art and steered me towards Vancouver where I got a degree in English and studied practical things like Computer Science, Finance, and Marketing. I still painted but my poor roommates had to put up with a lot of somewhat gothic subject matter over the years. With every new painting I hung on the wall, they’d tactfully suggest that I should get some fresh air and sunshine. Painting was my way of working out frustration at a world I couldn’t control.
I took a temporary corporate job to pay the bills for sixteen years. I painted sporadically and eventually rarely between various systems projects. Eventually, years of traveling in binding business suits and never seeing the sum of my efforts add up to anything more than my bank account made me feel like I was starving in a different way. I was becoming detached and cynical rather than passionate and optimistic and I no longer believed that what I was doing was relevant.
So I started painting again and this time I focused on local subjects and things I knew. I decided to communicate a sense of joy and resilience in every image because there are times when we all need a reminder of that looks like.
In 2008, I made painting my full-time career. I work out of The Beaumont Studios in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia.