Artist of the Week – Matthew Mancini

May 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

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Matthew Mancini

 

 

Growing up, art has always been an integral part of Matthew’s life – that and dreams of one day playing professional baseball. During his early teens Matthew spent his summers on house league and competitive teams, but as it started to get more serious, the fun seemed to slip away. The fun from drawing all his favorite comic book characters, however, never did. Although making millions of dollars batting a ball around was attractive, playing with pencils and paints seemed to take precedence.

Was it the right choice? Probably.

After attending an arts high school Matthew Mancini went on to study in the fine arts program at the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto. However, after his first trip to Italy, it became clear that traditional figurative and landscape work was something he wanted to explore. OCAD leaned more towards the conceptual and abstract aspect of art which did not appeal to him.

Upon his return, he left OCAD after completing two years to pursue a more classical realist approach that led him on a six-year study at a private atelier in Toronto of the techniques used in the 19th Century ateliers of Paris, France; those of which are based on trade secrets handed down since the Renaissance. Much of his work seeks to return to the archival craftsmanship of the old masters, as well as the humanist principles found throughout past movements of art. Most influential to his work are the paintings of John Singer Sargent, Joachim Sorolla, Zorn, Ilya Repin, Kramskoi, Rembrandt, Monet, and Annigoni to name a few, where the techniques of each combine to find their way into his own paintings.

Having a foremost interest in portraiture, landscape painting has become increasingly of interest. With Matthew’s spouse getting work in Minden, Ontario, in 2011, the move has given him ample opportunity and inspiration that Toronto can’t offer in the same way. The Canadian landscape is some of the best in the world and with formal portrait paintings taking anywhere from 1 to 3 months, the immediacy of landscape painting is quite satisfying. Becoming part of the Fleming College community in the fall of 2011 has been a great experience for Mancini as well, teaching workshop courses, and soon to be joining the talented roster of the Visual Arts Fundamentals: Drawing and Painting instructors.

This summer he will be attending ‘Art in Action’ in London, England: an annual event in which artists set up their studio and work while onlookers interact with them. Artists travel from across the UK and, in celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s diamond jubilee, from commonwealth countries, as well. This event attracts more than 25,000 visitors over four days, and Matthew will have the honor of representing Canada.

Matthew’s days are spent learning, painting and teaching, as well as preparing works for upcoming events.

He can be reached via his website at http://www.matthewmanciniart.com/

Matt will be teaching summer art courses at HSTA, as well as courses at the Peterborough campus in the fall:

Painting – Design & Composition, July 9-13

Figure in the Landscape, Aug 13-17

Portraiture Workshop, Oct 27th, 9am – 5pm, Peterborough Campus

For more information on the courses including course descriptions, please go to http://flemingcollege.ca/school/haliburton-school-of-the-arts#course-calendar

Artist of the Week – Cassandra Hincks

February 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

Cassandra Hincks

Art: it inpsires, it thrills, it liberates, it shares, and of course, it makes us feel. Feeling does not always come when you’re an observer; occasionally, art does not move people at all. But most often, it moves people differently. Three people all looking at an apple see the apple in very different ways… But, when you’re looking at a painting of an apple, what do you feel then? The awe and wonder the artist has for such a delicious and beautiful fruit? Do you understand the loathing for a healthy snack, forced on the artist for years by health-conscious parents? Or perhaps, there is no feeling at all: a lifeless, wonderless piece of art?

This week’s Artist of the Week, Cassandra Hincks, offers to the viewer a true bevy of emotion. She evokes everything from whimsical fancy, to adventure, to the very stuff of a coulrophobe’s worst nightmares. The emotional journey this emerging artist can inspire is breathtaking… But how did she start?

Her journey began with horses, her first subjects, at a very young age. Their grace and majesty filled pages in her sketchbook as she was drawn into the world of art. “It then grew into a sort of therapy for me and helped me to forget about the world for a bit,” she explains. “It was something I could get lost in and just become completely focused on and I loved it.”

Needless to say, her focus was worth the effort, as her passion grew so, too, did her skill. She began to explore the minutist details of nature: water droplets on a leaf after a rainfall, a misty morning in the woods, the tufts of hair on a beloved cat. Her eye for detail became ever more attuned to the world around her. And what catches her eye serves as inspiration. It allows her the freedom to choose various subjects, to try new things and to explore the limits of what can be transferred to a canvas or a sheet of paper.

“My inspiration comes from many things, but mainly thoughts, experiences, and just random ideas that pop into my head. I’m pretty much just exploring everything that I can and trying to find myself as an artist as well as a person.”

No stranger to a small-town atmostphere, Hincks understood she was never meant for the “big city”. Raised in Nippissing, it was the quiet presence of nature that first drew her to the Haliburton School of the Arts: the intense dislike she feels for the fast-paced environment of city-life was not the ideal headspace for her…

While attending her program, Hincks explored the connection between fibre and painting, weaving the mediums together into intriguing compositions. “[At] school I learned so many things, it made it really hard to find a medium I absolutely love; I enjoy little things about them all so I combine them a lot  and switch back and forth. Right now, I’m exploring graphite on raw canvas and embroidery.”

And her explorations are certainly poignant: although the experience might differ for every viewer, there is no question that every viewer will certainly feel something when they experience Hinck’s works.

Cassandra can be contacted via email at cassandrahincks@hotmail.com .

To view more of her work, please go to www.cassandrahincks.weebly.com .

Artist of the Week

January 28, 2012 § 1 Comment

Ian Turner

“There’s a photograph of my sister and I, taken when we were still quite young, as we painted watercolour masterpieces along the shoreline of our family cottage on Georgian Bay. The photograph, as well as the painting that I made that day, have been perpetually preserved, laminated side-by-side into a placemat. On the underside is another watercolour I made around the same age:  a copy of a Tom Thomson waterfall from the McMichael Canadian Collection. The placemat is sort of faded now; bits of dry macaroni and cheese give it a rough texture. It doesn’t look like much, but thinking of it now, it represents the foundation of my artistic life.”  Ian Turner

I graduated from high school a year after my classmates, following a botched attempt at becoming a professional cyclist. A fresh start and new direction were required: I jumped the first freight train headed for Vancouver, intent on studying science at Simon Fraser University. Perhaps not quite so intent after all, as alas! I spent too much time on sketching trips in the mountains and not enough time studying chemical formulae… They sent me packing, needless to say, precipitating my return home to Toronto, now somewhat rankled and directionless. What seems like an obvious conclusion to my apathetic state was much less clear at the time, when I hesitantly – to put it mildly – signed up for a few art courses in the city. I was lucky and had good teachers; I met with positive feedback and encouragement.

I came to the Haliburton School of The Arts – Fleming College last fall with a desire for a thorough grounding in drawing and painting: to be beat over the head with the fundamentals, like an apprentice in Michelangelo’s studio. What I greatly appreciated about the school was the friendly intimacy and lack of pretension that might have turned me away from a larger institution, much like a young Claude Monet turning a cold shoulder to the Académie.

I don’t imagine any artist can ever ignore or escape from the influences of their childhood, even if they wanted to. The work of men such as Tom Thomson, Lawren Harris, and J.E.H. MacDonald, will always hold a special place in my heart, and rightly so. But, as I have grown and my creative vision and personal awareness have widened, I have felt the need to stretch. My inspiration as an artist comes from a wide appreciation of artists throughout history and in my current practice I am exploring styles from the Renaissance to the Abstract Expressionists, in order to develop a more intimate relationship with art history. With so much information available to us, with the evolution of the Internet, our shrinking world, and the greater availability of books and publications, we, as artists, have access to more knowledge and inspiration within our field than ever before.

Presently working out of a studio in Toronto which, in a former life, was best known as my sister’s bedroom – one of the perks to having a sibling studying out-of-province – I am applying myself with my characteristic conscientious enthusiasm, haunting the halls of the Art Gallery of Ontario, and slowly laying waste to my bank account with open studio life drawing/painting sessions across the city.

This coming Fall, I will begin my studies in Art History at the University of Toronto, questing ambitiously after my Muse. Though in all due modesty, I find myself less and less prone to chancing upon a book touching on art or an artist that I have yet to read.

Look out for me at Exhibitions in the near future. In addition, I, like many of my illustrious apotheosized forbears, am always grateful for commissions.

A handshake in thought,                                                                                                                                                                                      Ian Turner

Interested parties may contact Mr. Turner by phone at 416 423 5526 

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