Discover the artists of the Simard Student Showcases

A few of our Visual Arts students have agreed to speak to us about themselves and their art.

Khanh Nguyen

Artwork 1: The Irish Poet 

Technique: I bought the wood pieces for the floor and walls and the furniture from Michaels. I used washi tape and cardboard for the painting frames. I also used cardboard for the books and magazines. I sewed the pillows myself.

Size: Height: 8"; width and length: 10"

Year: 2022 

"Aestheticism movement in 19th century literature and art: Oscar Wilde’s bedroom.

Paintings on the walls are from the Aestheticism movement, the subjects of which dominate the muse of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Jane Morris.

Wilde was accused of homosexuality and this room represents the night before his trial. On the floor are letters he wrote to his lover and literary works from the movement such as The Picture of Dorian Gray, and Marius the Epicurean. Copies of the Yellow Book, the leading magazine in Britain in the 1890s, scattered over the floor, emphasize the value and message of Aestheticism."

The Irish poet
Main hallway on the first floor, Simard Hall.

About the Artist 

I am a first-year student in the Bachelor of Fine Art program and I’m from Vietnam. I enjoy drawing, reading, painting, making miniature models and scrapbooking.

Description of your creative process

The model was inspired by the Aestheticism movement in the 19th century and the philosophy of Aestheticism. I started off researching the leading figure, Oscar Wilde, and his life. Since Jane Morris was the muse of many painters that would later influence the Aestheticism movement, I included many paintings of hers on the wall. I wanted the piece to be mysterious, so I did not create a figure to sit on the chair but the books, letters and magazines surrounding it suggest that someone is sitting there.

If you could meet any artist dead or alive, who would it be?

I would want to meet Enrico Casarosa, the concept artist for the Disney movie Luca, because I adore the lighthearted movie and the art style.

How has the Department of Visual Arts helped shape you as an artist?

The visual arts department has helped me learn to appreciate more forms of visual art, but the art of photography has stood out to me the most. After experiencing many sessions of the long process of film and print development, I learned to appreciate an old film camera, as it requires a number of skills, patience and commitment to creating good contrast black and white photographs.

 

 

Jackson Duxbury

Artwork 1: Sketchlook

Technique: Performance art resulting in a piece that incorporates mixed fabric, liquid and dimensional acrylic paint, markers and ink stamps.

Size: 22” × 53”

Year: 2022

Sketchlook is a collaborative performance art piece in which I, along with several helpers, invited passersby to create art. From the experience was born a unique handmade jacket with all the marks made by others. Some are silly, some are kind and some are the result of shooting an artist with a paint-filled water gun. 

Sketchlook
Main hallway on the first floor, Simard Hall.

About the Artist 

I am a BFA student focusing on media arts at the University of Ottawa. I fell in love with alternative arts and media arts in my first year and have spent my second learning about video art, public art and installation art.

Description of your creative process

The piece was made in a public art class in which I learned how to make art for people and public places. For this experiment, as students walk by, they were invited to create on me, the “artist,” blindfolded, without judgment, now standing in as the notebook. The artist is now a canvas and facilitator but also engaged in interacting with those who have been made co-artist in what is often a solitary creation process.

If you could meet any artist dead or alive, who would it be?

I am not one for meeting people, as I am awkward and unsure of social interaction, but I have admired work by YouTuber, filmmaker, visual artist and all-around strange human PJ Liguori for years.

How has the Department of Visual Arts helped shape you as an artist?

I grew up very technologically inexperienced, and while I had an interest in video making, I had no idea of how to achieve that goal. Here, I have learned not only about painting, sculpture and the media I expected, but also have gotten to learn about media arts. Because of the program, I now want to pursue a medium I never thought was even offered in art school.

Karen Miller

Artwork 1: Life in a Bubble

Technique: Textile Art

Size: 18” × 18”

Year: 2018

One day late in winter while out for a walk with my young son, I noticed our reflection in a bubble in a frozen puddle. The scene in the bubble captured the togetherness that we had, and reminded me that he would soon be starting school and it would not always be this way. At the same time, the bubble reflected back to me my desire for some independence and freedom from the weighty tasks of mothering. I hope that this piece resonates with all mothers as they make their way through these complicated dualities of the motherhood journey.

Life in a bubble
Main hallway on the first floor, Simard Hall.

About the Artist

I am a contemporary textile artist and I use my work to create conversation around the consequences of motherhood on women’s identity, perceptions, relationships and value. I am currently enrolled in the BFA program on a part-time basis and intend on pursuing graduate studies at uOttawa this fall.

Description of your creative process

My creative process often begins with my own photographs. I then sketch the image from the photo onto my backing fabric. Using the technique of traditional rug hooking, I pull up loops of yarn through my backing fabric to create the final art piece.

If you could meet any artist dead or alive, who would it be?

I would love to meet Eva Hesse. Not only because of her use of textile-based materials, but also because of her emphasis on experimentation as a key component of her practice. I think that it would be invaluable to watch her creative process, and to gain insight into the creation of large-scale installations.

How has the Department of Visual Arts helped shape you as an artist?

The visual arts department has been a wonderful place to gain support and advice with regards to my artistic practice and my goals as an artist. In addition, it is extremely beneficial to be a part of such a community of artists and like-minded people.

Orion Peters

Artwork 1: Weapon of Destruction

Technique: Acrylic and permanent marker on paper

Size: 20” × 20”

Year: 2022

A bright pink triangle featuring a person in a school uniform pointing a banana like a gun to the ground. They have spirals on their cheeks and are surrounded by lines marking their place in the space.

Weapon of destruction
Main hallway on the first floor, Simard Hall.

Artwork 2: Having a Bowl

Technique: Digital media

Size: 15.5” × 15.5”

Year: 2022

A person sits in a pipe that ends in a bubble and that is filled with fish. They stare at the spectator like a kid at a fish bowl.

Having a Bowl
Main hallway on the first floor, Simard Hall.

About the Artist 

I am a queer artist from Ottawa who likes to experiment with anything and everything. I am constantly on a search for meaning and for new feelings. I wish to see and explore as much as possible in the life of a person.

Description of your creative process

Painted in a week, after a long time brainstorming, Weapon of Destruction started as a draft for a panel in a comic book but after hearing of more anti-trans laws it shifted from an action to a reaction. The first draft is still on the back, where there were far more colours, but once the figure was painted, outlines and accent lines were added. 

If you could meet any artist dead or alive, who would it be?

Simon Vega or Emerson Barrett, as I am a lover of the work of both, for different reasons. Simon Vega’s use of recycled material and his subjects are definitely an inspiration of mine, as are parts of his philosophy. As for Emerson Barrett, I grew up with his art and the music his band makes and to have the chance to meet him would be amazing.

How has the Department of Visual Arts helped shape you as an artist?

The visual arts department of the University of Ottawa has shaped my knowledge of technique and structure, as it has my knowledge of the history of art.
 

Erin Szturm

Artwork 1: Salmman 

Technique: Ink, soft pastel and charcoal drawing on paper

Size: 30” × 36”

Year: 2022

Salmman is a playful emergence of the natural and unnatural from nothing. The juxtaposed meat incites wonder as to which body it came from and the meaning ascertained from its space overlaying the scene. 

Could there be a folk tale, or urban legend, hidden between the lines? 

What is the setup for this visual punchline?

Who is to say?"

Salmman 
Main hallway on the first floor, Simard Hall.

About the Artist  

"I am an artist from Northern Ontario. Jumping to Ottawa for my BFA has been an interesting exploration allowing me to take what I love (the natural) and interject it with the unnatural, the strange, be it historical/archival (regarding research gathered from other disciplines, museums or galleries) to experiential (dealing with situation and relationship to the world around me). I hope to continue to adapt and evolve and one day support myself with my art, show in galleries and pass along my skills.

Description of your creative process

This work emerged from play: from splatters of ink and imprints of bubble wrap and inside jokes with friends emerged this wonderous salmon, a hybrid counterpart and the curiously juxtaposed meat of either or both.

If you could meet any artist dead or alive, who would it be?

I would be honoured to meet Zdzisław Beksiński. His works draw me into skewed worlds that are narratively ambiguous and fascinatingly monstrous (this coming from a fan of both surrealist art and the horror genre). Other contenders in a different sense would be Pascal Mohlmann or Margaux Williamson. The way they organize composition and apply or build up paint enwraps me in a different manner from figure to object as I wish to understand the mature techniques for myself.

How has the Department of Visual Arts helped shape you as an artist?

The visual arts department introduced me to a broader array of ideas through art history, interdisciplinarity and a community that has pushed me and my work for the better.

To explore more of my work, find me online:
Instagram @ermaybe
Website: erinszturm.wixsite.com/erinszturm"

 

Charles Lin

Artwork 1: Tiffany

Technique: Acrylic paint on wood panel

Size: 24"x30" x 1.75"  

Year: 2022

An abstract piece based on the look of skulls, meant as a representation of death.

Tiffany
Main hallway on the first floor, Simard Hall.

About the Artist 

I am a first year student studying for a BFA, and my favourite medium of art is sketching. I am not that great at working with colours, and I usually prefer to focus on details.

Description of your creative process

I started by painting the impression of a skull in the centre, and then spread out by filling the rest of the canvas with different textures and parts. I tried to make sure the different parts all came together in a cohesive whole and nothing looked out of place, and to bring out a more painterly look that conveyed both gruesomeness and movement.

If you could meet any artist dead or alive, who would it be?

I have no main artist in particular. I think it would be nice to meet any random artist and hear them talk about their craft. As for some Canadian artists, I would like to meet Franklin Carmichael and hear him talk about the flowing landscapes and rich colours in his pieces, and I would also like to meet Alex Janvier and hear him talk about his abstract and incredibly lively artworks.

How has the Department of Visual Arts helped shape you as an artist?

It has helped me extend my experience to multiple different media, such as photography, painting and video editing. I believe my time here has led my skills in those art forms to improve throughout the two terms.

Elias Healey

Artwork 1: Self-Portraits

Technique: Charcoal and pastel on white paper

Size: 21.4"x 26.3"

Year: 2023 

A three-perspective view of the artist’s face, the viewpoints slightly overlapping. Each section that overlaps changes the tonal value that is seen of the artist.

Self portraits
Main hallway on the first floor, Simard Hall.

Artwork 2: Night Study


Technique: Charcoal and pastel over India ink and alcohol marker on white paper

Size: 21.4"x 26.3" 

Year: 2023

A greyscale drawing of a dark bedroom lit by a bright window. The room is cluttered, with objects on and around the desk and bed. The shadows cast by the furniture are stark, contrasting the bright light coming inside.

Night study
Main hallway on the first floor, Simard Hall.

About the Artist 

At the time of writing, I am a second year student who is learning all about himself as an artist. I love creating works with bright highlights and dark shadows, and like creating works if high contrast. I’m very comfortable with greyscale works, and aim this coming year to push myself to incorporate bright colours.
 

Description of your creative process

This piece was inspired by a digital collage of photos made when deciding on a reference for a self-portrait. I found inspiration in the way the overlaid photos interacted with each other’s light and shadows. I left the green sketch exposed, as I thought including my favourite colour in the self portrait would make it more personal.

If you could meet any artist dead or alive, who would it be?

An artist I would love to meet is Vanni Saltarelli. I love his use of bright colours, and his figures, which are often exploding with dark washed shadows. His technique of colour contrast is something I hope to learn in the future.

How has the Department of Visual Arts helped shape you as an artist?

The visual arts department has created a space for me to come into my artistic abilities and learn about myself while receiving lots of advice and feedback. The courses push me to expand on what I’m good at and get better at taking risks in other directions I am less comfortable with.

Isabelle Joubert-Hemish

Artwork 1: Curious 

Technique: Acrylic on canvas

Size: 16” × 20”

Year: 2023

This artwork is a depiction of a tender meeting between a boy and a baby groundhog. By leaning into the use of narrative, it seeks to awaken memories of childhood inner storytelling and narratives from the imagination. 

Curious
Main hallway on the first floor, Simard Hall.

Artwork 2: Eagle

Technique: Welded steel, plaster and clay

Size: 25” × 15”x 14”

Year: 2022

This sculpture was a study of an animal I much admire, the eagle. The eagle is often associated with wisdom, majesty, dignity and freedom, and I sought to capture this powerful yet quiet essence through the presentation of this piece.

Eagle
The dean’s hallway, Simard Hall.

About the Artist 

I am currently a third-year student in the University of Ottawa’s Fine Arts undergraduate program. Using paint and sculpture as my main media, I find interest in the representation of humans and animals in their various states of being, and seek to capture their true essence through my art. Aside from art, I enjoy hobbies such as learning new languages, dance and baking.


Description of your creative process

I first started out with a sketch, and then outlined the figures using a darker line. I next began applying the colour, allowing myself to add the strokes freely and broadly, wherever I felt the painting needed it most. I did not seek to obey any particular rules, but rather found myself following a quiet intuition.

If you could meet any artist dead or alive, who would it be?

One of the first artists that inspired me to try visual arts is William Adolphe Bouguereau. He is not as well known as many other artists, but you can find many of his paintings around art museums in Canada, such as the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Many of my first drawings were re-creations of his artwork that I copied from a book I had about him as a child. For these reasons, if I could meet an artist dead or alive, I would choose to meet William-Adolphe Bouguereau.

How has the Department of Visual Arts helped shape you as an artist?

The visual arts department has helped shape me as an artist in many ways. It has been so wonderful to have access to the many artistic tools and labs offered by the department, and to be able to learn new skills such as welding, woodworking and photography. The teachers all offer a wide range of perspectives and guidance, as well, and they are eager to help students forge the best possible path for artistic growth.

Ana Solana

Artwork 1: Self Portrait of a Young Woman Becoming


Technique: Mixed media: pencil, micron pens, marker

Size: 11” × 14”

Year: 2023

This is a self portrait in an imagined Cementerio de Montjuïc, Barcelona. I am in the left corner, and palms are coming out of my head, a Spanish shawl is covering me, fish are swimming in my hair. Beside me are graves. On them lie offerings: bones, beads, herbs, a pineapple. A salamander is crawling down one of the crosses. Jesus is wearing a crown of cowries. Bright yellow and blue feature prominently, inspired by the colours of Mediterranean summer. Purple is used as an accent, I associate this colour with the subconscious and other worlds.

Self Portrait of a Young Woman Becoming
Main hallway on the first floor, Simard Hall.

Artwork 2: Dilara 2

Technique: Mixed media: pencil, micron pens, marker

Size: 7” × 10”

Year: 2022

This drawing is inspired by the work of the designer Dilara Findikoglu, ancient Greek myths and Christian symbolism. It speaks to the subject of our demons, or the difficult things in our minds we have to deal with every day. There is a person dressed in bright red sitting on their bed, the pattern on their pillow is thistle, they hold three dolls. Around them are an okapi, an albino moose and a shield. Spiral motifs feature prominently. Purple hues dominate, a colour I associate with the subconscious. Red is also important, coating the central figure.

Dilara 2
Main hallway on the first floor, Simard Hall.

About the Artist 

I am a Cuban-born artist, currently living and studying in Canada. I am interested in interpreting the human experience through my work, as I live it. In my drawings, human material culture is blended with biological and zoological elements, people long dead from the past are brought back and magic, or sympathetic relationality, is imbued into each symbol. I draw inspiration from folklore around the world to weave new narratives relevant to the 21st century, re-appropriating history to create more diverse understandings of our Earth.
 


Description of your creative process

I always like to begin my drawings with a reference image, and let them expand outwards from there. I work in different layers, a 2H pencil for an outline, a 2B pencil to plan out details. Then I outline, and finally, I add colour with markers. As I am working, I am meditating on the subject of my drawings, my mind is forming connections which I put on the page through the language of symbols. In this way, my drawings become their own creatures by the time they are done, a projection of what is going on in my head.

If you could meet any artist dead or alive, who would it be?

If I could pick any artist to meet, I would like to meet Salvador Dalí. Dalí was one of the first artists to capture my imagination as a child, and to this day, his work fills me with that same sense of wonder. Through surrealism, he found freedom, no longer bound to the conventions of logic or rationality. Dalí allowed his mind to wander freely, enabling a never-ending creativity that bordered on insanity. I admire his body of work and his form of thinking for these reasons, and I aspire to liberate myself in this way.

How has the Department of Visual Arts helped shape you as an artist?

The visual arts department has given me the resources and space to expand my practice as an artist, and be able to explore many new media. Before I came into the fine arts program, I was a creative person, but I felt stagnant in my art practice. I did not know how to continue furthering my work. Being in this program has given me the opportunity to expand on the work I was doing in drawing, in addition to trying many new media, like photography, sculpture and painting, enabling my evolution as an artist.

Emily Matheson

Artwork 1: The March

Technique: Acrylic and charcoal on canvas

Size: 48” × 60”

Year: 2022

I experimented with contrasting media to create a work inspired by human bodies in motion and perseverance in the face of adversity.

The March
Main hallway on the first floor, Simard Hall.

About the Artist 

I am in my third year of the Bachelor of Fine Arts. I’m passionate about using paint to represent the human form through dynamic brushwork and colour. I enjoy working on a larger scale to communicate my visions.
 

Description of your creative process

In my process, I enjoy working on large-scale work that allows for movement throughout the piece. I try to be bold and confident with my brushwork to allow the process to be seen in the finished work.

If you could meet any artist dead or alive, who would it be?

If I could meet any artist dead or alive I would choose to meet Jean-Michel Basquiat. His work has been a major influence on me as a young artist. The energy and passion behind his pieces push me to be more confident in my own artistic practice.

How has the Department of Visual Arts helped shape you as an artist?

My time at the visual arts department has introduced me to many different people and techniques and challenged the limits of my artistic practice. It has allowed me to explore new media and techniques that I hadn’t considered.

Gabrielle Kaduc-Stojsic

Artwork 1: Emotional Jungle


Technique: Oil paint on canvas

Size: 30” × 32”

Year: 2023

This piece is an intimate exploration of my boyfriend’s confidence and trepidation in embracing his feminine side. So often, men, especially those that society perceives as particularly masculine, are celebrated for their “maleness,” but intensely shamed for any behaviour deemed feminine. He knows that he would be ridiculed if he transgressed outside of this “big guy” bubble that he has inhabited for his entire adult life. For this work, I portrayed him within a liminal mental space, where he is trapped between who he wants to be and who he feels like he has to be.

Emotional Jungle
Main hallway on the first floor, Simard Hall.

About the Artist 

I’m in my final year of a double major with an honours in history and visual arts. Recently, I’ve returned to my love of oil painting, this time with an exploration into historically significant poses and features, combined with stark social commentary of life as I see it.


Description of your creative process

A lot of my interest in art includes the combination of historically significant moments in time, or symbols, with a contemporary understanding of the world and current issues we face. Sometimes this is done with a colour palette, pose, pattern or even items of clothing. At the same time, I enjoy the juxtaposition of delicate with rough, that is, the pretty with the utilitarian. 

If you could meet any artist dead or alive, who would it be?

If I could meet any artist dead or alive, it would definitely be Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun. She was the head portraitist to Marie Antoinette prior to the French Revolution, and it was really her work that got me interested in the symbols that could be within a piece of art. Many of her paintings had political references— propaganda paintings for the monarchy—and she also sought to portray women as they wanted to be seen. Essentially, she provided them some agency over their own image.

How has the Department of Visual Arts helped shape you as an artist?

The visual arts department gave me the opportunity to further pursue art, specifically painting, in an academic setting. Through the feedback from professors and TAs, I gained the confidence to depart from my initial idea for the work and trust that the process would take the piece where it needed to go. This has been an incredibly helpful skill both in my art, and my life.

Bella Laflamme

Artwork 1: Walk That Way

Technique: Acrylic on Canvas

Size: 60” × 30”

Year: 2022

This painting is a self portrait of movement, a mapping of my walk. How people move through the world is so unique and personal to them. It can reflect age, injuries, history and emotions. Movement involves hundreds of micro-actions in the body. Muscles contracting, neurons firing, veins dilating. All of these elements go into the simplest of movements, which can be reduced further to gestural brushstrokes. 

Walk That Way
The dean’s hallway, Simard Hall.

Artwork 2: Cronkle 


Technique: Acrylic and Oil on Canvas

Size: 24” × 36”

Year: 2022

This painting explores light and luminosity in an ambiguous space. Viewers are confronted with objects that are, at once, familiar and uncanny. Plates, forks and plastic bottles are set together, creating a blown-up setting of domesticity. Domestic clutter becomes a site of interest, objects placed absentmindedly together, candidly interacting with each other. Small areas of reflection and transparency are caught and exaggerated, creating tense moments of light and dark. Overall, the painting adds a dramatic flair to a monotonous domestic task

 

Cronkle 
The dean’s hallway, Simard Hall.

About the Artist 

I am an Ottawa-based artist currently studying for my Bachelor of Fine Arts. My practice is primarily painting, with a focus on abstract objects, machines and grotesque architecture. I am inspired by the visuals of mechanical objects and the buildings, both new and old. I reconstruct these elements into new “simulated sculptures” that explore themes of gentrification, change, chaos and memory. Inspired by the visuals of a rapidly changing Ottawa, I hope to pair feelings to these expansions.

Description of your creative process

This piece was an investigation into mapping movement. Inspired by the depiction of motion in Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase, I took a video of myself walking, and then broke it down frame by frame. From there, I mapped out the gesture of my walk and compiled this into one image on the canvas.

If you could meet any artist dead or alive, who would it be?

I would like to meet the members of General Idea. After seeing their work at the National Gallery last year, I have become very interested in their range of artworks and, especially, how they incorporate humour into their work.

How has the Department of Visual Arts helped shape you as an artist?

The visual arts department has given me the tools needed to maintain creativity. From painting techniques to alternative materials, I now have a range of visual language at my disposal. In addition to this, I now have conceptual tools to use when I hit an artist’s block — ways to disrupt my own practice for the better, so that I can keep creating without fear.

Moise Yanga

Artwork 1: Souvenirs pour vos âmes (ou Mémoires à vos âmes)

Technique: Réalisme 

Size: 30” × 40”

Year: 2023

"This piece symbolizes the memory of lost souls in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, where the genocide continues. My piece depicts a hand holding a white flower that’s turned red because of the blood spilled. The three colours represent the Congolese flag. The black background evokes the mourning and despair of the region’s inhabitants. 
The little red stripe symbolizes the disinterest of the international community, which has seen the blood flow without acting.
Death is a respite for souls that have suffered for many years."

Souvenirs pour vos ames
Main hallway on the first floor, Simard Hall.

Artwork 2: Look at Me

Technique: Réalisme 

Size: 36” x 48”

Year: 2023

Look at Me is a work that invites each individual to question themselves and observe how women are treated in our modern society in the face of sexual harassment. It comprises five faces with different expressions, with the central face connected to the viewer’s gaze.

Creating one of my artworks was a complex process because, as a man, it was challenging to address the subject of violence against women in society.

Look at Me
Main hallway on the first floor, Simard Hall.

About the Artist 

I was born in 1998 in Mbuji-Mayi and spent my childhood in Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of the Congo), on 10th Street in Limete. In 2017, I received a DEC in multidisciplinary plastic arts from a fine arts institute. In 2019, I completed a certificate program at La Cité, in Ottawa, before starting a bachelor’s in visual arts at the University of Ottawa. I’ve already taken part in a digital tour event in Ottawa.

Description of your creative process

My artistic process, painting, is up front; it’s my first passion. My inspiration comes from what I see and experience daily in the face of nature, which I represent in a figurative style. I’m also fascinated by my culture, which colours my landscapes. In my work, I seek to blend plastic and digital arts. I’m continually exploring. I express my style and aim for my work to not be repetitive. The value of a work of art lies in its originality.

If you could meet any artist dead or alive, who would it be?

Jenny Saville

How has the Department of Visual Arts helped shape you as an artist?

I’ve had some wonderful encounters and I’ve managed to have some professors who’ve taught me a lot.