Charlotte Durnford-Dionne lives in a city full of characters — that she drew to feel at home

She hasn't been in Toronto that long — so she's made it her own space by grafting her drawings onto it.

She hasn't been in Toronto that long — so she's made it her own space by grafting her drawings onto it

(Charlotte Durnford-Dionne)

Charlotte Durnford-Dionne sees the world her own way. When she spent time in India, she coped with being in a new place by drawing the people and places she saw around here — then, she drew her own world into those spaces. Now, she's been doing the same thing in Toronto.

Watch the video:

Charlotte Durnford-Dionne's illustrated world


2 years ago
Wherever she goes, Charlotte Durnford-Dionne makes it feel like home — by drawing her characters into her real world. Filmmaker: Hugh Durnford-Dionne 4:49

In this video made by her brother Hugh Durnford-Dionne, you'll follow Charlotte through a pretty normal day. You'll meet her at home, where she'll tell you how her interest in drawing began: "I think when you're a child, it's so easy and encouraged to pursue your enthusiasm — whether that be dance or drawing or theater or whatever — and then you get to a certain age and a certain point where there's so much pressure to only pursue skills that will in some way advance your career or be for profit. And I think drawing has been one of the few things that I've been able to kind of keep sacred and be able to go back to that state of play."

Then, you'll follow her as she bikes to a café where she debates the merits of the Instagram art world. And, most importantly, you'll see the characters she draws into the city along the way. She says, "Once you spend a long time looking at a specific object or space, you end up feeling connected to it. And in a weird way, drawing the CN Tower as a UFO and these flying creatures outside of my bus stop has, I think, made me feel like Toronto is more of my city and made me feel a lot more connected to the space."

Follow Charlotte Dionne-Durnford here. Additional camera work was done by Sam Iannicelli and the music for this piece was composed by Jacques Greene.

(Charlotte Durnford-Dionne)
(Charlotte Durnford-Dionne)
(Charlotte Durnford-Dionne)

Stream CBC Arts: Exhibitionists or catch it on CBC Television Friday nights at 11:30pm (12am NT) and Sundays at 3:30pm (4pm NT). Watch more videos here.


Lise Hosein is a producer at CBC Arts. Before that, she was an arts reporter at JazzFM 91, an interview producer at George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight and a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto. When she's not at her CBC Arts desk she's sometimes an art history instructor and is always quite terrified of bees.