Andrew Stelmack is a man of many talents. You may know him as a writer, an actor or as a visual artist. Taking inspiration from Rothko and Klee, Stelmack's works remain his own exploring light and tone with bold, bright colours. Our Behind the Canvas feature this week, introduces you to Stelmack, one of the newest artists on our roster, and one whose flowing creativity is hard to keep defined in one box.
AP. Give us a quick bio or background on yourself as an artist. Where did you grow up? What or who inspired you? What are some of your proudest achievements?
AS. I was born and raised in the culturally vibrant city of Winnipeg, and now live in multi-cultural Toronto. I often travel back and forth between these two art embracing, and very similar cities. The first half of my artistic life was solely as a professional actor and singer in theatre, TV, and film. It was a successful career that has enabled me to see and experience virtually every major city in this beautiful country. I was lucky to be involved in almost a hundred different projects, including some truly special performances in The Lion King, Beauty & the Beast, Sweeney Todd, Les Miserables, Seussical, and Fiddler on the Roof.
One of my proudest achievements was to finally pick up a paint brush for the first time in 2005, after a lifetime of 'thinking about it'. After The Lion King, I took a break from the stage and committed to six months of seeing what might happen with paint and canvas. By kicking open that door my life changed completely and now I get to juggle this new artistic expression along with my others! (Although, admittedly, my artwork is taking more and more precedence).
AP. How would you describe the type of art you create?
AS. The best way to describe my art is "finding the calm within the chaos". I like my cubist influenced work to be abstract and bold. I want it to be the "wow" in a room or space, but at the same time calm and relaxing.
AP. What project(s) are you currently working on?
AS. I am presently working on two different series: Manitoba Magic, based on my hometown province and the city of Winnipeg, as well as Aquations, my attempt to share my love of water.
AP. Where can people find your art? How can they purchase a work?
AS. In addition to Art Perspective, my work can be found in numerous galleries in Ontario: St. Germaine Gallery, and PI Fine Art in Toronto; Stax Gallery in Hamilton; After Stonewall in Ottawa; and Trias Gallery in Oakville.
I have also had numerous solo shows in other galleries in Toronto, such as at Petroff Gallery, Qlix Gallery, The Gladstone, Hangman Gallery, and Gallery Arta. I also participate in many Toronto area art events like The Artist Project, The Toronto Art Expo, The Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, Queen West Art Crawl, and the Riverdale Art Walk. I have also recently joined a collective with four other abstract artists. We call ourselves 'The Abstructionists', you can find us online at www.abstructionists.com our goal is to bring art to you, rather than you to a gallery.
AP. If you didn't have to work what you do with your time?
AS. Exactly what I am doing now! The only thing I would increase would be the amount I travel, there is so much more yet to see!
AP. What is your favourite journey?
AS. To kick open an unopened door and see what lies behind it or take that path less travelled. I love the saying "risk all or gain nothing."
AP. Do you have a favourite piece that you have personally created? What is it?
AS. The very first piece that I ever signed and put up on my wall is definitely my favourite. It is called Red House-White Door. It let me believe “Hey, maybe I CAN do this!” and made me confidently move forward and trust myself. It is the one piece that will never be up for sale. It hangs in my home to this day.
AP. What are your thoughts on the influence of fashion and music on visual arts?
AS. I am not sure how strong a correlation there is between them to be honest. I haven't really given it much thought. At the same time, they probably do intersect. This is good food for thought. I guess I need to explore this more. I do think an art show with a theme they all explore together would be a cool idea.
AP. Who is your favourite author?
AS. Stephen King ranks up there, there are so many to choose from.
AP. Where do you go for inspiration?
AS. The is inspiration is all around me, everywhere I am, so I don't have to 'go' anywhere. If there was one special though, it would have to be my family cottage at Victoria Beach on Lake Winnipeg. It lets me escape the fast world we live in and makes me reconnect. Being there helps me see clearly again.
AP. What is your greatest achievement in life so far?
AS. To have been an artist all my life, to have never had a second 'day job', and to be so blessed to do what I love.
AP. What is your favourite colour?
AP. What is the one thing you want to share with everyone who is reading this?
AS. Live life and go for it! Be happy! Life is too short, and there are many things we are capable of doing, so try it all! If you open one door and there is nothing behind it, kick open another, there are plenty of them to explore. Live life, take charge of it, don't just go along for the ride.
Andrew Stelmack lives and works in Toronto, Ontario and is represented outside of the Ontario area by Art Perspective. For additional information on Andrew's available works, or for pricing, please contact us.