Each month, we feature an artist who caught our attention. They could be in theatre, film, music or visual art. The point is we think they’re kick ass and you should know who they are.
August’s artist of the month is painter, stickerer and creative up-and-comer Shanna Van Maurik. Shanna is known for her bright works of art, utilizing neon colours in a groundbreaking and eye-catching way. Her works have shown in galleries and exhibitions in Toronto, Montreal and New Jersey. Shanna has been recognized as the “Untapped Emerging Artist” by the Toronto Artist Project in 2012. Shanna’s other accolades include the Donna MacLean Award for Life and Portrait Study (2011) and Av Isaacs Award for Contemporary Drawing and Painting (2010). Shanna is currently completing a residency at Northern Contemporary which will culminate into a show of works on September 2nd, 2016 at 1266 Queen St. West in Toronto.
Shanna Van Maurik
5 things you can’t live without:
All the colours in the rainbow
Being able to create
My family and friends, duh
What’s the best show you’ve seen recently?
You’re probably expecting an art answer for this but I go to way more concerts than I do art shows. The last show I went to was the Coathangers at the Silver Dollar and it was unreal. I find so much inspiration in the colours on stage and how they shine on the performers and crowd. Going to dirty venues to watch bands play, seeing the people who go to the shows, and checking out the bathroom graffiti influence me just as much as art shows.
What are your plans for the rest of 2016?
My plans are to always keep making art and trying to spend as much time as I possibly can at the studio.
If I’m not at the studio I’m usually working on other stuff at home like drawing and making buttons and sticker packs while watching weird horror movies. Keeping up a creative momentum is really important to me because I believe that’s the only way you can grow as an artist.
Most memorable moment of your career thus far?
This year I made the transition from working out of a home studio (which I did all through university and for 5 years after) into working in a shared studio space with other artists. I’ve found that being part of a community is really important to my creative process. I feel like it keeps you connected, motivated, and it’s really cool to be surrounded by positive, creative energy.
What would you be doing if you weren’t doing this?
If I wasn’t making art, I would have so much free time and my house would definitely be way less messy. I’d probably be hanging out with my friends, going to shows and have a bigger beer belly. That being said, I would never trade my studio hours. It’s so rewarding to convey what you want to see in your own work. For me, making a good painting is like being on a cloud, the feeling is totally priceless and makes everything worthwhile.
What advice do you have for people who want to get to where you are?
I don’t exactly know where I am because I’m still working towards where I want to be. My only advice is if you want to be an artist just keep working on it – Make something every single day, look at art and think about art every day. The more you make, the more you grow and eventually someone will notice. Even if they don’t, at least you’ve got a bunch of sweet artwork, and if your work makes you feel good that’s the most important thing.
Industry shout out – who does it go to?
Erin Enns is the most talented designer I know, I feel like she knows how to perfectly merge art and design and creates such beautiful work that I really admire, we’ve also collaborated in the past. Some other sweet Toronto based artist buds of mine are Meghan Monaghan, Stella Cade, Elly Smallwood, Christina Mazzulla, Mike McDonnell, and Erin Loree. They’re always making great work, check them out!