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Lesley Wilkins is the heart (and head) behind The Artist's Page. Here she shares a bit about her love of all things art.
- Interviewed by Lisa Matheson
Q. WHEN DID YOU FIRST BECOME INTERESTED IN ART?
Actually, it was in high school. I went a high school for visual arts. I didn't study visual arts, but I used the halls of the school as my own personal 'art gallery'. I loved wandering around looking at the work the 'real artists' were creating. I found it tremendously inspiring as a teenager.
Q. TELL US ABOUT THE FIRST PIECE OF ART YOU BOUGHT THAT YOU WERE REALLY HAPPY WITH.
When we were living in England, before we could afford anything, we bought a really 'tres cliche' black and white photograph. It didn't cost very much, but it fit on one of our walls perfectly and made us feel good.
Later, when my husband and I actively started to collect art, we bought a crazy piece by Elise LaFontaine. We saw this piece at the Art Toronto show, and it blew our minds. It still does do this day. It hangs in our dining room over a hutch and everyone who walks into the room does a double take.
Quite simply, there is no explaining it.
Q. WHAT MEDIUM DO YOU MOST RESONATE WITH?
I am attracted to bold, abstract paintings most often; however, I also really love sculpture, both indoor and outdoor, and of all sizes.
Q. DO YOU HAVE FORMAL ART TRAINING?
Other than hanging out with budding visual artists as a teenager, no. It's been a very organic process. A huge influence has been our friends Lisa and Frank from St. Catharines. 15 years ago they started inviting my husband and I to events at the Niagara Artists Centre (NAC) in St. Catharines. Lisa was president of the volunteer NAC Board at the time, and she and Frank are uber art lovers and promoters of local and emerging artists. Every time we met a local artist or attending an art event at NAC, our minds were blown. And it prompted us to become active in our own community.
Q. WHAT DOES THE PROCESS OF BUYING ART DO FOR YOU? HOW DOES IT MAKE YOU FEEL?
Well, at a very basic level, art makes me really, really happy. I'm always really excited to get a new piece home and find the 'right' spot for it. I think every piece has a spot. Every piece of art we own creates an 'emotional' feeling in me. And each piece is different. For instance, I have a piece called 'Syria' by Max Kalinowski, one of our artists. For Max, this particular painting was about the two sides of the Syrian conflict – what he saw in his mind's eye. However, when I look at it, I see more global expression of conflict or emotional anger in kind of a graffiti style. And I like the idea that I can hang a piece like that on my wall and have it continue to generate a conversation, both for me and for our guests.
Q. WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO LAUNCH THE ARTIST'S PAGE?
Being involved with the Uxbridge Studio Tour, I noticed that artists find it difficult to communicate and promote their own work. In particular, they don't use Social Media the way they could to increase their audiences. I love art and I want artists to do well. Plus, I'm on a mission to help the rest of the world to see that local art is NOT just crafts. It's not doilies and knitted dish clothes. There are outstanding artists everywhere, in every community, not just in galleries. And, I'm good at social media and spreading the word. So, The Artist's Page is a synchronistic merging of those two things for me.
Q. ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO SHARE ABOUT YOUR LOVE OF ART?
Nope. This is more than enough about me. I'd rather you spend time checking out our artists!