Hello Fans of My Work! I have received some e-mails from you and decided to answer some of your most common questions here in this section. Thank you for all your correspondence. Enjoy Reading!
You stated that your parents did not want you to become a painter, so why did you continue to paint?
"Being an artist is in my blood and I cannot escape it. My love for painting is too strong so I have to paint as I have to eat. However, I was always a good girl and I never wanted to disappoint my parents. Their lives were hard enough. I disappointed my father once when I declined my acceptance into the Architecture program at Ryerson University in Toronto and I always felt guilty about it. So I studied different disciplines because I thought that, that was what my parents wanted me to do and that obviously took time away from my painting. Nonetheless, I thank my parents for my education. Without my parents I probably would have never been as educated as I am today - in so many diverse disciplines. I believe that my diverse education has actually helped me become more creative."
"I actually think that my parents were right to push me to become educated in a more concrete discipline because I don't really think that I needed the degree in Visual Arts in order to be able to make the paintings that I make today. I would have been able to make these paintings without the degree; however, in our society you need a degree for everything. In the end it all turned out well. I was able to satisfy my parents by becoming very educated and I ended up painting anyways."
Your parents discouraged you?
"I guess my parents did not really discourage me from doing art, they just did not encourage me and not encouraging can be discouraging enough. When you are young, it helps a lot when your parents encourage you to do what you are doing. However, I think that for me, the lack of encouragement from my parents only made me work harder because I was constantly working harder to get their approval. When I was young my teachers were always telling my parents that I am talented and that I should continue to draw, but my parents felt that I should be educated in a more concrete discipline. They thought that the perfect profession for me was architecture because architecture would allow me to make a living and also to be creative. At the same time I could continue making my art on the side. I know that my parents wanted what is best for me and you should never blame your parents for wanting what they think is best for you."
So what made you want to continue to paint?
"I knew at a very young age that I was very talented because of how many people have expressed their admiration for my work. They really let it be known that they like my art. So in combination, my love for painting and having so many people admire my work encouraged me to paint."
When did you first become aware of your talent?
"I knew I was talented at a very young age. I can recall many childhood instances of people being absolutely mesmerized by my work. In every class my work received a lot of attention and admiration. But the first time that I became aware of my gift was when I was hanging out with my grandmother at a coffee shop and her friends were making a big deal about this cowboy that I drew. The second time was when I was in grade two; my grade two teacher used to show my works of art in my sister's class as an example; my sister is 5 years older than I. Then I recall this one instance when I was ten years old when my mother made a big deal about a drawing of my friend that I did. And then my grade school teachers, and then I just got used to it. I recall these instances of people admiring my work because of the fuss that they were making over my work and I was really surprised about it. The older I became, the more people became impressed with my work; I think it is because with age I was getting better at it.”
“In university, I was told by many professors that if I choose to continue making art then I will become big. Truthfully, as much as I enjoyed the compliments that my artwork received, during my rebellious young adult years it bothered me that nobody had never asked me whether I actually enjoy painting; I felt as though I was expected to paint just because I was good at painting but nobody cared whether I actually liked to paint. While the people who admired my work pressured me and almost expected me to paint, the people who knew that I loved to paint (my parents) expected me to do something else with my life. I felt really divided. I used to tell my professors that I don't have any intentions of becoming an artist. I later realized that I was only saying that because being an artist was not what my parents expected of me. So at the same time as I was fighting my desire to become an artist, I continued to paint because that is what I loved to do; this was my passion, something that I could not get away from no matter how hard I tried to tell myself that this is not what I want to do.”
“Finally, one day when I was in the process of doing my minor in philosophy I read Saint Augustine’s Confessions. In his confessions Saint Augustine asked God: "Who has anything that does not belong to you God?" After giving this some thought, I realized that if I cease to create art I will be taking away from people something that was intended for me to give to them. My gift which came to me for free came to me for a reason. In the end, people are not great just because they were given a talent and an advantage, people are great only when they share their talents to make other people’s lives more enjoyable, and at the same time they use their talents to make the world a better place.”
What is the hardest thing about being an artst?
"Being an artist can be a hard profession for some. It is a profession that is not easily understood by many people. Many people don't see the work of an artist as work. I am currently making a video about one of my collections to show people just how much work it actually takes to put on a show. Additionally, the life of an artist is hard because you literally live on canvas. For many hours you stare at the canvas and you go between what is in your mind and the canvas. When I am working on a collection of paintings, I can spend up to 16 hours per day, day after day, painting. So is that a life? If you are so isolated from this world then do you really have a life or live at all? What kind of life do you have on canvas? In real life you connect with people and with the outside world, but in the world of an artist you are often stuck in your studio. Most people work and after work they go home. An artist never goes home, and artist goes inside his own head and paints and then he paints what is in his head on canvas. But being isolated is not the only hard thing about being an artist. For many hours, day after day, you are often stuck sitting or standing in uncomfortable positions, either sitting on your legs or you are hunched over. The smell of turpentine and paints often gives you headaches. The time that it takes to clean the mess and paintbrushes is annoying. Paints and painting materials are really expansive. Sometimes you just cannot take a day off because once the paints dry too much you cannot get the effect that you wanted to get. Sometimes I ask myself “Why did I ever start painting again?” But asking myself this question is a waste of time because I simply love to paint."
“When you love doing something you become consumed by it. For me, I am always living inside a frame. In my head I am always planning my next painting. I wish people could see what is going on in my head. Everything in my life relates to painting…in my head there is this constant production of paintings going on. Keep in mind that before I start to paint, the painting is already created in my head and it does not just appear there all of the sudden, it appears there after a long process of planning and visualizing. When I see mountains, I see more than just mountains. If I hear someone say something interesting…sooner or later it all ends up on canvas. I recently met a musician – a keyboard player - who loves making music as much as I love doing my artwork. We sit beside each other in class but our minds are somewhere else. I know that he is thinking about his music and planning his music because his fingers are moving as if they were on a piano. At the same time as he is planning his music, in my mind I am putting together my next collections of paintings. He lives for his music as much as I live for my art. I am surprised that we are both doing really well in that class because we are really not there; I am in my studio and he is on stage. “
Why did you do all this schooling if you could just sell art and be successful?
"I love art and specifically painting and photography. I live to create and this is why I studied architecture and building, and why I am interested in urban planning. I also love being around intelectual people and this is why I continue educating myself. My education has helped me understand the world. But I do admit, if I had to do it all over again I would be more selective in what I study."
What inspires you to create art?
"It used to be the people who admire my work. The look on their faces when I would see them looking at my art. People gave me confidence. Their admiration pushed me to pursue art; therefore, for them I wanted to create great works of art. However, what inspires me now is the message that I convey to people through my art; if the message is positive, or if my paintings motivate people to be good and do good, to me this is priceless."
“I also receive inspiration from music. I paint to diverse types of music including, Madonna, Britney Spears, Chopin, Vivaldi, Pamela Cioroch, Korn, Afshin, Tarkan, Nirvana, Marilyn Manson, Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez...you name it. Sometimes when I am really exhausted and I am feeling lazy, I admit to watch motivational YouTube videos, or videos of Mother Teresa because she worked really hard and her work was created out of her love for humanity:). I believe in my art and in making this world a better place through my art. Everyone should use their talents to make this world a more loving place. I love people, and I love all kinds of people from all sorts of backgrounds. Through my art I want to raise money for different charities and help make this world a better place. Some people say I am naïve but I don’t mind being naïve if it makes me a better person."
"For those people who have never seen an interview with Mother Teresa, they should really watch some. Beneath are two interviews that I really enjoyed listening to."
"Recently I have also been inspired by the mother of Princess Diana, Frances Ruth Roche, who was also a good Christian and was the daughter of the 4th Baron Fermoy. I admire all good people no matter what religion they are. I admire people who are selfless and help those who are in need - simply people who are kind, good, and are willing to give a smile to those who need it."
How do you go to school, have a career as a painter, and work for the Royal Canadian Navy all at the same time? Isn't this overwhelming?"
"It is very overwhelming. However, an artist is also an addict, an addict who rushes to paint whenever he sees a colour combination that he likes, or admires the way a certain tree looks; I cannot explain this addiction. However, I am learning to balance. I can draw probably better than I can paint, but for some reason by no choice of mine I am addicted to painting. No matter who tries to discourage me, it will never work because my addiction to painting is too strong, it is stronger than I. Something keeps pushing me to paint and it cannot be me because I by myself am not that strong.”
Do you remember the first time you sold your work?
"Yes, it was a painting of lions. I was pressured to sell it. But after some time I became glad to have sold it; that painting meant a lot more to the person who bought the painting than it meant to me. You see, the person who bought the painting was from Kenya, and the painting reminded them of thier homeland. If feels wonderful to be able to produce work that has the ability to make someone feel closer to their home or family."
I read that you stopped selling your work, is that true?
"I had sold many paintings, mostly in Detroit. I am from Windsor, Ontario, so it was easy for me to sell my paintings in Detroit. However, right now my work is not for sale. I will only sell if I can make money for charity."
Why did you decide to stop selling your work?
"I don't know where most of my work that I had sold is. Maybe it is in some home, some banquet hall, or in a trash. But, wherever it is I hope that it brings enjoyment and happiness to people. I don't know who, if anyone at all, sees the work that I had sold. I want to ensure that my next work is enjoyed by many people."