It’s another New Year and I am so excited to be back at a job I truly enjoy. Perhaps it comes with the timing, perhaps it’s simply that I’m getting older and reminiscing, but I was giving a lot of thought today about the path I have traveled and the people and places that have defined who and where I am today.
One such place was Chetham’s school of Music in Manchester, England. My attendance there was to study ‘A’ level Art, a ‘side project’ while I studied full-time to become a professional dancer at the Northern Ballet School. This is where I first met Mark Weighton, a contemporary British Artist who was at that time Chetham’s ‘Artist in Residence’.
One tumultuous year later, I made the difficult decision to leave NBS and give up on my dream of becoming a dancer. Although dance was the reason I had left my home for Manchester, it was Art, the influence of Mark, and the space I was able to utilize, (the former hospital chapel built in the 1420’s, a gorgeous space with stained glass windows and stone arches) that would become the reason to stay. I spent my second and final year in Manchester working a couple of part time jobs and creating awkward, teenage art in a space where I felt content. Free from the extreme discipline of dance and the watchful eye and frown of the NBS faculty.
Fast forward to the next 3 years at the Creative Arts School in Edinburgh, where I shared my life and apartments with my partner, David, and various musicians and friends from a local Music College. Student life was wonderful both in school and out, and the people I shared those years with remain dear to me today.
At this time I was creating mostly figurative works, yet I was also dabbling in sculpture, photography and metal work. My graduation exhibition was attended by the man who would later become my husband, a Canadian I had met in Corfu while traveling in Europe during my final year of college. Again, people and places, shaping me and my life.
In the past 15 years on the West Coast of Canada, from Vancouver to Powell River, there are many people and places that have paved the path that have led to this moment. From my husbands step-father, the well known and incredibly talented artist Drew Burnham, to the award winning Duncan Weller and Lisa Shaskin, my drawing buddies from North Van, to local entrepreneurs Amy Sharp and Karen Skadsheim who coordinated my first exhibition back in March 2009.
And now, here I am, working in a job I love, at home for my kids when they return from school and among scenery that takes my breath away and gives me endless subjects for works. I am supported by my husband, family and peers, and feel thrilled to be working among artists both young and old who have carved out successful careers and continue to provide inspiration and challenge.
For a while there I thought my art was ‘all about the moment’. I even had a plan to blog about it. But as I sit here and reflect, and work on pieces for my first solo exhibition , I realize my art is so much more than that. It is a melting pot of people, places and connections that have brought me to where I am today. And how very thankful I am for it all.