I found myself in a rut with this blog not too long ago - I was getting a lot of requests to either post things on my blog or do blogging favours for other people, but when it came down to it, the other party always fell through. I shunned the idea of partnering with anyone else for a while, then I got an email inviting me to an art gallery event in the Distillery District. I had met one of the featured artists before, and her publicist invited me to the event with the hopes that I would feature her on the blog. I was so ready to send my "thanks, but no thanks" email - but first, I satisfied my curiosity by going to her site.
That "no" turned into a "yes" with the quickness.
Camille 'Ciel' Lauren is a Toronto-based, Curacao-born visual artist currently studying at OCAD (Ontario College of Art & Design) - her company Art of Ciel is inspired by sea and sand, a nod to her Caribbean upbringing. As the Branding Director for the multi-arts production company Spoke N Heard, she was a driving force behind the creation of the Emanate Gallery Exhibit held at Arta Gallery last month. I fell in love with the art on her site - from her commissioned pieces to her inspired artwork to her live event paintings (yes, she will capture your event live and on canvas), I could see the talent and beauty that radiates from her pieces, and couldn't wait to see them up-close.
I was lucky enough to do a quick interview with Camille where she told me more about her work and inspiration:
On how her love of art was born...
"Art was just my most natural response. It's been a way to express myself ever since I was 4. When I came to Canada, it was a thing I used even more to...maybe like a shield in my younger years. I was very shy, so if I was moving to a new school, I'd always have my sketchbook - and even if I didn't make any friends, art was my way to interpret the world. It just continued - in high school I started painting on canvas, and I loved it. "
On her biggest inspiration...
"My inspiration comes from conversations, stories that I hear from people - they make me want to reach in and depict that. I like to create an eternal moment to share. You can have a feeling about something, and maybe you tell it to someone and they forget. When you paint it, it's there for everyone to see."
How she got involved with Spoke N Heard...
"Three years ago, Spoke N Heard's creator told me about his vision to unite the arts. Over time I found myself doing graphic design and promotion, and then I became the Branding Director. With this show, Celia Wilson (Creative Director & Curator) and I worked really closely to refine the theme, and the team brought it together. We sent out a lot of different artist submission calls on the web, as far as we could go."
What her 5-10 year plan is with regards to her art...
"I'm starting my own business, Art of Ciel, to reach further with my art. It's growing into much more than just art, but I'm taking it one step at a time. I'm looking to art merchandising, and clothing embellishments and design - just trying to broaden it out a bit."
To say I'm happy I didn't decline Camille's invitation is an understatement. Her art really spoke to me with her use of colour, texture, and movement, and it was amazing to see them up-close and personal. It was also wonderful to hear her tell her own story about her inspirations and aspirations - and sidenote: her hair is DOPE. Now...all I have to do is start saving my pennies to get a piece or two!
P.S - Don't forget that I'll be speaking at the Toronto Natural Hair & Beauty Show this weekend! I'm giving away 2 sets of tickets to the show - one full weekend pass and one Sunday pass. Saturday is all about informative workshops (including mine called 'Navigating Natural Hair in the Online World'), and Sunday is workshops + vendors + hair and fashion showcase and more! Comment here and let me know why you want to go the TNHBS - bonus points if you follow me on Twitter and tweet me to say that you entered! The winners will be drawn and announced on Friday!