Creative freedom is important to any artist. However, for Steven, freedom with his academics was also a high priority. Steven is a University of Waterloo third year student in the Honours Arts Fine Arts Studio Practice program. East Campus Hall holds studio space for all Fine Art students, Steven included. When not on campus, he spends his time working at The Art District Gallery in Downtown Kitchener. Creating a balance of school, work, and painting meant that he needed a flexible schedule to accomplish his goals.
For Steven, he was attracted to the University of Waterloo’s Honours Arts program due to its flexibility and range of courses. With spring courses so readily available, it was easy for Steven to create a schedule of only 3 to 4 courses per term as a full-time student, while still graduating on time. As a result Steven can spend more time on his projects and his artwork. He also appreciated taking studio courses outside of his preferred medium, oil. Courses such as FINE 307: Intro to Motion in Sculpture with Lois Andison took him out of his comfort zone through sculpture and installation art. While unrelated to his professional practice, the projects gave him new conceptual ideas to bring back to his paintings. FINE 307: Analog and Digital Drawing with Mathew Carver innovated his approach to his paintings through the usage of tablets to plan out his drawing and coloring process.
Steven also enjoyed the variety of courses beyond the fine arts. Particularly, courses related to philosophy and psychology. With one of his main focuses being on people within his paintings, Steven found it creatively inspiring to learn more about human behavior on the unconscious and conscious levels.
“UWaterloo has a broader program. If you go to a specialized art school, you’re not going to be able to take courses like psychology, philosophy and film and English and I feel like those are sometimes the courses that drive your creativity.”
The Art District Gallery is a not-for-profit co-operative gallery and has been going since May 2015. All artists once accepted, begin paying a membership fee to contribute for rental space. Two years ago, the Art District Gallery moved from Kitchener to St. Jacobs, however, this winter the gallery has returned to its roots. Now down the street from its original location, the Gallery and Steven’s paintings can be found on 185 King St. East in Downtown Kitchener. Only a 10-minute walk from Charles St. Terminal, the Art District Gallery is happy to be home once again.
To learn more about Fine Arts and the Honours Arts program, visit University of Waterloo’s undergraduate admission site. Check out the Art District Gallery’s website for more information about it and Steven.