“I remember clearly walking into the front foyer of Ontario Hall when visiting a good friend who was already going to Queens and catching a waft of that distinctive studio smell – a mixture of oil paint, mineral spirits, ink and what I now know to be oil of winter green. And after having had an impromptu tour of the large and bright studios and meeting some of the professors and students, I knew I had found the art program for me. It was a small, traditional, yet innovative program that had a reputation for excellence. I can say without a doubt, that making the decision to go to Queens was THE best decision I have ever made in my life. During my four years in the BFA program, I had the opportunity to grow incredibly as an artist. I came into the program quite naïve in many ways, but I was quickly immersed in an artistic community that encouraged you to explore, experiment, “dive-in”, and learn not only from your professors, but also from your peers. Furthermore, the BFA program provided many opportunities to become involved outside of the studio walls of Ontario Hall. During my time at Queens, I was a Union Gallery volunteer, Treasurer of the Union Gallery Board, Co-Chair of Cezanne’s Closet, and I was a docent at the Agnes Etherington Art Center. Beyond Ontario Hall, Queens provided so many other opportunities to get involved and I was a camp counselor at ASUS Arts Adventure camp for 2 summers and also worked for Walkhome.
But perhaps it is the pilgrimage I made back to Kingston this past summer that solidified everything for me. Stepping into that same foyer I entered for the first time 15 years ago, that same familiar studio smell greeted me, and I was treated to another impromptu tour of the studios hosted by the one and only, Otis Tamasauskas. Ontario Hall and all the artists and creative pursuits it houses has remained true to its mandate and is still very much the place I called home for 4 years. I was happy to hear that students in 2nd year still enjoy a trip to NYC, and the North Adams Printmaking trip is still going strong for 4th year students. The studios are still as bright, inviting and conducive to artistic productivity as ever. And it’s also great to see that 21st century advances in contemporary art-making such as the new digital media lab is another important achievement forward for the program. I am nothing but proud to call myself a Queens BFA Alumnus, and will continue to be grateful for the incalculable ways I grew as an artist within the studios of Ontario Hall.”
Since graduating from the Queens BFA program with Honours in 2002 in painting and printmaking and then the Artist in Community Education BEd program (which I highly recommend for anyone thinking of art education as a career!) in 2003, I have enjoyed a decade of teaching visual art at the secondary level in both Ontario and British Columbia. I am presently enrolled in the Masters of Education program at UBC in Art Education, and hope to complete my coursework and final project by Spring 2015. My current position at an independent school in West Vancouver has allowed me to teach Advanced Placement courses in both studio art and art history, which has been nothing short of amazing. Renting studio space at Malaspina Printmakers and maintaining a painting practice at home is an important part of maintaining not only my artistic self, but it also inevitably informs my practice as an art educator. Funnily enough, remnants of my 4th year thesis work continues to permeate the imagery and concepts of my current work as I continue to explore ethereal ties to place, memory and nostalgia. A series of paintings, drawings and mixed media pieces I am presently working on, are ones I hope to show soon locally, and they may very well be incorporated into my final project work of my MEd.
Work in Progress - NYC subway car, Oil on Canvas (2013)
Work in Progress - self portrait, Oil on Canvas (2013)