How did you get into art?
I’ve always been an extremely creative person, though art wasn’t really my go to. I started off with music and my first experience with music was working with a program called the Remix Project. The Remix Project is something in Toronto creatively that’s pretty well known. So it was to be able to have mentors and different people who were already established within the industry, because our Canadian industry is pretty small when it comes to the arts. That was kind of just a learning curve for me. I learned what I didn’t want to be. That was I guess, the face of a brand or the front image, being onstage, having to constantly be vocal about your emotions (I was a singer). I just learned (being) private was more for me.
I guess from there, I’ve done so many things when it comes to being creative, I studied at George Brown for gemology, so I have a certification as a gemologist. I work with diamonds and gemstones and jewelry. That was more, I liked learning about the metaphysics as opposed to the creative part.
I’m in Fine Arts, so I’ve done Art and Design (Foundation Studies) at Centennial. I opened my business as an artist while at Centennial.
Do you like to have a certain level of commentary in your work?
Being creative is one thing, but being an artist is another. I’ve never been a visual artist. I only learned how to draw and how to paint within the last 2 years. So this has just been a self-taught process. I’m not an artist that looks at something and can reproduce it. I can reproduce it in my own way, on an abstract scale, but I’m not a fine artist in that regard. I’m more imaginative. I like to use my intuition. I’m quite spiritual, so I like things to come out and kind of form themselves. Most of the time, a lot of the things I create, I can see, “well that’s when I was mad about that…” it makes sense. So it’s not as abstract or out there that you’re like “I don’t understand that,” it usually has shapes and form.
Do you have any advice for students looking to find their voice?
Always just really be open. I walked into these studios, I worked at a horrible job and I was doing cold calling and I thought “this is not for me.” I was kind of in a bind because I’m a single mom, I need a job, I need my subsidy for my daughter, so it was like “what do I do?” I came to the school and I remember I had two options, it was either Media Communications or art. Coming from a person who doesn’t know how to draw or paint, I really listened to my intuition and it told me do that. I was like, “I’m scared, it’s messy in there, I don’t like that. Something just said do it.” I think when you really face your fears, again you realize the unlimited potential that you have in order to expand on what I had; being creative, and that there is something more for me.
It was do I do something practical or do I take this approach of being an entrepreneur and having to advocate for myself? I think it’s really analyzing yourself, but not on a piece of paper, you just have to trust. Instinctively, I didn’t know it at the time, but I had everything that I needed for that, in order to make that happen.
How did you start in visual art and painting then?
I was kind of dating someone at the time and I was really focused on my gemology. I was into crystals and making jewelery. He worked in construction and he was not a creative person whatsoever, but he painted and he told me I should try it. And I was like “no, I’m not doing that.” We lived in Etobicoke and I would take the streetcar all the way across the Lakeshore. 45 minutes to an hour on a streetcar I would go mental. So I was like, I need something. So I found this sketchbook that he had and never used. So I would just act like I was doing something. From there, just the feeling of having a connection to something.
So a lot of the time people see my work and they automatically know it’s Stephanie’s work because they recognize my style. So I guess just developing that over time in the last two years, I’ve now come to a point where I know my medium. I love black, I love graphic lines. Like I said, I’m not a fine artist, so I don’t just paint something and then it just comes to form. It doesn’t work like that. I’m more into design, stuff that looks more digital.