Nga Dinh, Ode to Lawren Harris, acrylic on canvas, 56 x 71 cm
Upcoming exhibition: By the Pound at Goodfellas Gallery
1. Tell us about the artwork you have in VAM 34. Give us an idea of the conceptual framework you used in creating this piece. What inspired it? Why did you choose to use that particular medium? Why that particular perspective, set of colours, subject matter, etc
This piece is one of two that I had submitted for a Canada Day show in Toronto. I reworked parts of the painting to update the piece with a new style I had progressed to recently. In tone with the theme of Canada Day, I wanted to pay homage to the great Canadian artists of our past. Lawren Harris has always been my favourite from the group of seven, he was the easiest choice. The girl in the painting is modeled after myself. I wanted to put my own spin on Harris’ piece. I choose Lake and Mountains 1928 to contrast against the composition of the photo I had chosen.
I want the viewer to focus on the vivacious female therefore I painted the background in black and whites with the vibrant colours showing through in her hair and clothing. The skin was kept white for a negative space element which helped to bring out the colours further. The focus now is in on the girl and the vibrancy she brings into the painting. But you also revert back to the background, clean in Harris’ technical skill. It’s as if she brings the painting to life.
2. How would you describe your creative process? What medium do you use most often and why?
I daydream a lot. Things tend to just pop into the mind when you let your focus go wild. When I see elements of colour, pattens, images that I would like to see in my own work, I use them as inspiration. Currently I have been working with two strong elements, the female face and background images. The female form is so glamorous and endearing to render. My new works reflect the ideas of Lucid Dreaming, being conscious and aware of what you day dream about. I choose a strong female figure and depending on the series, the background reflects the proposed theme.
I paint mainly on canvas with Acrylics. It’s easy to carry around since I’m often painting where ever I am.
3. How would you describe the Mississauga art community? What excites you most about it? Why should art lovers from Toronto come visit? What can you do to ignite the Mississauga art community? How do you think the AGM can ignite the community?
The city is a combination of new age and old town humbleness. Mississauga has vast amounts of space, creating many different art communities. We are a city with many talented artists and a supportive community. There are always art shows and fairs going on in the city for an artist to display and buy work. Mississauga is so close to Toronto that galleries are easily accessible by highway. I consider myself an emerging artists still defining her craft but I am very proud to be a citizen of Mississauga. For myself, being a young adult, the art community is divided into older adults and teens/kids. I don’t feel there is a place for young adults to grow as artists and feed off each others energies. It would be nice to know of more young adult artists in the city that are working to refine their skills and talents.
AGM is great at acknowledging the talent the city has to offer. There is variety in the exhibitions each year both culturally and artistically. The gallery is run on donations, and like most galleries are intimidating to the public outside the art community. Connecting with residents of Mississauga would ignite and make the art community grow. People just need to be aware of the great things happening in the gallery. There needs to be more available means to get through to the public and not just members; forums, online projects and word of mouth. There has to be energy and force to ignite a flame.
4. Art should be accessible. Agree or disagree? What does “accessible” mean to you? How can galleries make art accessible even to people who’ve never been to an art gallery? If you disagree, why?
Art should be accessible. Art is made to be seen, not hidden. But plagiarism and art theft is a major problem in this technological age therefore it should also protected. Some people are not able to access works due to a disability or even being half away around the world. Galleries could have online tours and/or paintings highlighted and discussed every week which would enable art to reach a massive scale. If galleries had exclusive tours and insight on pieces exclusive to their gallery, they in turn would get more hits to their websites. Galleries can be very intimidating, having these online exclusives would help easily introduce art to the general public.