Visual and Digital Arts graduates showcase April 5 at L Space Gallery Visual and Digital Arts graduates showcase April 5 at L Space Gallery
The Visual and Digital Arts program is preparing for its graduation art exhibition to showcase students’ selected work. The show opens Friday, April 5... Visual and Digital Arts graduates showcase April 5 at L Space Gallery

Photo credit: Gian Lorenzo Villanueva

The Visual and Digital Arts program is preparing for its graduation art exhibition to showcase students’ selected work. The show opens Friday, April 5 at Humber’s L Space Gallery at the Lakeshore Campus.

The exhibition is called Ouroboros.

“The symbol of Ouroboros means the destruction of art, but the recreation of art after the fact,” says student Labrini Fotos.

“We want to make sure the audience is aware that no matter what happens, we will always create art.”

Fotos says a lot of the themes in the graduation show tie to everyone’s personal experiences.

“A common theme among our art was the cycle of life and reflecting on our childhood as adults. I think that cycle reflects very well in Ouroboros,” Fotos says.

As their second and final year comes to an end next month, students share their experience at Humber and their journey as artists so far.

Emma Smith

Photo credit: Divyang Taluja

“I think there’s another layer of always having to be creative because you’re not always inspired,” says Emma Smith.

Smith, a self-acclaimed huge reader and writer, takes a lot of inspiration from classical literature—Sylvia Plath and Oscar Wilde. But she says she also turns to music for an extra hand in her artwork, from musical theatre to a diversity of genres.

“I just love reading and getting ideas and expanding on them with my own to make them my own stories from my own experiences,” she says.

Smith is shown sitting next to an abstract piece that was inspired by a dinner she attended at a fancy restaurant.

“I want people to look at it and feel as though they’re experiencing it too,” she says.

Smith says she has learned that being proud of every piece is not a realistic expectation to have.

“I know you always want to do your best, but sometimes there will be times where you can’t be your best,” she says.

Smith says she has enjoyed getting to know everyone within her program, and her last two years at Humber have been wonderful.

“It took me a really long time to come out of my shell, but I do wish I had started engaging with people more right from the start,” she says.

Smith says she hopes to use her love for writing and painting to eventually write a book and illustrate it.

“I really do love creating, and I have been doing it for a long time, so I am ready to move onto the next creative process,” she says.

Scott Tran

Photo credit: Divyang Taluja

“Once I start reading more, having more conversations, going outside and getting ideas, is really when it all comes together,” says Scott Tran.

Tran only began oil painting at the end of last year, but he says it has been a journey that has only given back.

“It’s difficult to only get ideas from your own mind, you have to go and perceive the world around you,” Tran says.

Tran’s work includes portraits and he says his recent inspiration stemmed from the professors within the program.

Tran is shown sitting next to a portrait that he hopes people will be rather confused by.

“I want to confuse people. I want them to form their own perspectives,” Tran says.

Tran says he is grateful for his experience at Humber and meeting all kinds of artists has been very rewarding. He also says he isn’t set on a post-graduation plan, but he wants to keep pursuing creative outlets—photography being a potential contender.

“I am focused on improving my skills before I begin to only think about the future,” Tran says.

Labrini Fotos

Photo credit: Divyang Taluja

“Don’t be afraid to make garbage,” Fotos says.

“We are our own biggest critics and the practice of overthinking—artists and creative people have mastered.”

Fotos says she fell in love with sculpting when she took her first course for it, but she has truly loved it since she was a kid.

“Michelangelo is my inspiration for when I paint for sculpting,” she said.

“But I think one of my favourite painters is JW Waterhouse. I love his paintings so much, and I try to embody his style.”

Fotos says she also loves film and special effects—a possible future endeavour.

“Quite a lot of the films I watch, I just am so fascinated by what these people create,” Fotos says.

“A lot of my practice is remaking props from horror movies.”

Fotos says she made a sculpture of the head of the Minotaur from Greek mythology, based on a story by Jorge Luis Borges called The House of Asterion. She says a lot of her current work surrounds the innocence of childhood incorporated with Greek mythology stories.

“It’s about how essentially the Minotaur doesn’t know any better because he’s just a child, so I wanted to capture the innocence in his eyes,” she says.

“I want to start a conversation about the misunderstood characters of mythology that serve as reflections of the world. Despite how they’re portrayed, the major thing we can take away from them is that they are just flawed.”

Fotos says she would like to continue to pursue her passion for horror movies and eventually go into film special effects after graduation.

“I love learning, but I am also looking at everyone my age and I am thinking ‘everyone is getting jobs, having children, buying houses.’ I am trying to learn that I shouldn’t hold myself to what other people are doing,” Fotos says.

“I want to get into film, and I want to do so many things, and I am not going to stress myself out about it.”

Alina Ponce

Photo credit: Divyang Taluja

“I think something that I would tell myself is ‘Don’t try to play it too safe.’ When I first started this program, I felt like I had to stay in a box,” Alina Ponce says.

Before enrolling at Humber, Ponce graduated from MTM College of Animation, Art & Design for computer animation.

“I wanted to expand my skills when it came to drawing before I went back into the animation industry,” Ponce says.

Ponce says she loves children’s animation and illustration. She has previously worked on the second season of Dino Ranch—a Canadian animated children’s television show.

“I feel like a lot of the stories that we learned in our childhoods stick with us and I still find a place of comfort within that as an adult,” she says.

Ponce says her passion for children’s animation always seems to lurk in her artwork, even when that is not her intention. For instance, she says her classmates helped her recreate Artemisia Gentileschi’s iconic Judith Slaying Holofernes painting.

“I didn’t try to make it seem like a children’s storybook, but everybody kept telling me that it looked like it,” she says..

“I want people to be taken back to a simpler time even with the print’s nature.”

Ponce says the creative freedom in the program shocked her, and she says the program’s supportive community tied it all together.

Ponce says she hopes to continue her career in animation, and she says she would eventually like to publish a children’s book.

“I thought I had to follow a very strict path, but I learned that was not what this program was about,” Ponce says.

Diana Harris

Photo credit: Divyang Taluja

“I completely understand myself and why I do art—more than when I started the program,” said Diana Harris.

Harris says she is amazed by the variety of art mediums she has learned in the program. But she says she truly sees her artwork come to life when she oil paints, despite only working with it once she started in the program.

She also says she takes a lot of inspiration from the techniques used in Gothic art—a style of medieval art.

“I love the techniques they used in the gothic era of painting,” she said.

“I will constantly try to reuse other techniques, it helps me mold ideas, visualize them, and cohesively map out the stories I want to tell with my paintings.”

Harris sat beside one of her first oil paintings that she has been gradually adding to since the start of the semester. She says she hopes for people to connect with it deeper than the surface level.

“I want people to be able to look at it and try to find at least a little quarter of themselves in it,” Harris says..

As graduation gets closer, she says she wishes her first-year self would have believed in herself a little more, especially with the anticipation of what her next creative endeavour holds.

Harris says her long-term goal is to open a community center for visual and general arts.

“When you think about a community center, you usually think of sports or whatnot,” she said.

“I want to create a community center where you can do music, you can do dance, or you can do visual arts. I want to make it accessible to the community.”

Tamara Garraway

Photo credit: Divyang Taluja

“I’ve been stepping out of my comfort zone because when I first started, I was only into using safety colours—comfort colours,” Tamara Garraway says.

Garraway says she wasn’t sure what she wanted to pursue in college, and it wasn’t until the pandemic that she figured out art was her calling.

“Now that I’m in my second year, I’m more developed with my skills. In my first year, I was kind of just trying out new art mediums to see what I’m really good at,” she says.

Garraway says Nick Thomm is an inspiration to her current medium right now—textured abstract art.

“He [Thomm] mostly uses neon colours, so now I am really into neon paint and lean towards adding those to my work,” she says.

Garraway says to always pursue your dreams and passions, even if there are people who will doubt you for your choices.

“I do want to apply for more fellowships and galleries, so by the time I am 25, I at least have a few pieces out in the world that people recognize,” Garraway says.

“I am only 19, so I want to keep making a name for myself.”

This month, students also plan to have an art booth at the Lakeshore campus to further showcase their passion and skills.

“There will be art installations on campus, and we are also going to have a booth where people can come and get something drawn for them,” Mariia Kostian says.

Kostian says this exhibition has been the only thing that’s been on her mind in the last couple of months, and she hopes every person can find something to enjoy from it.

“I hope it inspires other Humber students and informs our community of the endless expression that there is around campus from all sorts of different people,” she says.

“We are working on making this show accessible to everyone because anyone can appreciate art.”

Alexa Duarte Mendez