Community

Community shown through illustrators eyes

CBC Toronto Illustrator Project shines spotlight on local area artists

CBC Toronto Illustrator Project shines spotlight on local area artists

(Illustration by Elyssa Padillo)

CBC Toronto commissioned local artists, each with their own unique style, to create an original illustration depicting what Community looks like in Toronto, and across the greater Toronto area. 

Over the last year we've met the artists behind the design, and learned the stories behind their work, and how they found a heightened sense of community. 

From supporting local retail, exploring nearby parks, to finding connection through gardening.

Elyssa Padillo

1) Tell us about yourself (in terms of your artistic/design background)? 

I'm a graphic designer/illustrator residing in the GTA. I've always drawn since I was a little girl. My inspiration comes mainly from childhood memories and the colourful environment that I grew up in back in the Philippines. I graduated with a BFA in Image Arts - New Media at Ryerson University - a program that honed my storytelling skills, which impacted the way I express my thoughts. My main focus as an artist is to bring some colour and vibrance to the everyday mundane things.

(Provided by Elyssa Padillo)

2) How did you approach the design process for this community inspired illustration representing Toronto and or the greater Toronto area?

It was so easy to brainstorm for the theme of this project. We all know that this past year took a huge hit on local businesses due to the pandemic, so it was absolutely inspiring to see how communities such as my own in Oakville showed their support by choosing to purchase from locally run businesses. I'm really proud to belong to a community that believes in supporting each other - so I wanted that feeling to be reflected in my artwork.

3) Name another Toronto-area artist whose work you admire.

I absolutely admire Jenn Kitagawa's work!


The Illustrator Project Artists

(Provided by Erika Flores)

Erika Flores

@inkscrpt

1)Tell us about yourself.

I'm a self-taught Filipino-Canadian illustrator and lettering artist with a modern and minimalist style. With no formal design or artistic background, I developed my artistic skills through constantly experimenting with different surfaces and mediums, drawing inspiration from my passions in heritage and culture, sports and athleticism, and youth and marginalized communities. You can find more of my work on her Instagram, Etsy Shop or website.

(Illustration by Erika Flores)

2) How did you approach the design process for this Toronto and GTA community inspired illustration?

This design was inspired by a question I've always wondered: "What makes it the 'Greater' Toronto Area?" What makes cities like Mississauga or Markham so intimately connected to Toronto that they're considered the 'Greater' Toronto Area cities? For me, the shared experience of commuting truly represents and highlights the essence of the GTA: the sense of belonging and togetherness, along with the appreciation of the diversity of people you come across during the commute. Commuting is what truly connects cities to Toronto in both a literal and figurative sense, making it the 'Greater' Toronto Area. That is why in the design I included a train background/window and diverse line art individuals - to showcase the theme of connectedness, diversity, and community.

3) Name another Toronto-area artist whose work you admire and why

A couple of Toronto artists I admire are Briony Douglas @briony and Bryan Espiritu @bryanespiritu. I love how they always think outside the box and constantly experiment on unique surfaces and mediums - something I've always tried to incorporate in my own work! 


(Illustration by Alannah Margaret )

Alannah Margaret

@am.illustrates

1) Tell us about yourself

Illustrating was my dream job as a child and something I've always enjoyed in my free time. With more time at home this last year it has allowed me to turn my passion hobby into a small business. For more of Alannah's work click here.

(Provided by Alannah Margaret)

2) How did you approach the design process for this community inspired illustration representing Toronto and or the greater Toronto area?

This last year, I've grown to truly appreciate the city's parks. Even when visiting the park alone, you really feel part of a greater community. I wanted to capture the various ways in which we enjoy our parks and include some tokens from different parks around the city.

3) Name another Toronto-area artist whose work you admire.

Emily Taylor @emily_illustrates makes really beautiful floral patterns and colourful prints.


(Illustration by Ziibiikwans)

Ziibiikwans

@ziibiikwans

1) Tell us about yourself

My name is Ziibiikwans which means Little Stream in Ojibwe and I am an aspiring interdisciplinary artist specializing in digital illustration. I am bear clan and from Wallaceburg and Walpole Island First Nations. Currently I live and work in Toronto with the urban Indigenous community with a focus on youth well-being and culture revitalization. My passion lies in expressing and exploring my identity as a young, urban, biracial, Indigenous (Ojibwe) woman through art. 

(Provided by Ziibiikwans)

2) How did you approach the design process for this community inspired illustration representing Toronto and or the greater Toronto area?

I approached the design process for the Toronto and GTA community inspired illustration from my working experience with the Indigenous community in Toronto. My job focuses on cultural revitalization with Indigenous youth and we spent a lot of our time at Evergreen Brickworks learning from an elder that taught us about Indigenous medicines and plants and how to use them. Evergreen Brickworks became a very powerful place for me and the community I worked with, while also affording us much needed green space to spend time in. I wanted to pay homage to this special place and to also mark awareness for other Indigenous peoples about the knowledge and cultural components available there.

3) Name another Toronto-area artist whose work you admire.

Another Toronto-area artist I admire is Mo Thunder. They're a wonderful artist that I have had the opportunity to connect with and learn from with regards to navigating the Toronto art scene. As a fellow Indigenous artist, I also appreciate that their art reflects a lot of Indigenous values and teachings. Mo is very raw and dedicated to her work and I have a lot of respect and appreciation for them. I hope that I can work with them more in the future.


(Illustration by Patrick Hunter)

Patrick Hunter

@patrickhunter_art

1) Tell us about yourself (in terms of your artistic/design background). 

Hi! I'm an out and proud 2-Spirit, Ojibwe artist from the bush! More specifically I come from a small mining community in north western, Ontario called Red Lake. I studied graphic design in Sault Ste Marie, ON - which I miss terribly - and I've been in Toronto for 10 years! All three of the places I mentioned are places I love to call home for different reasons. 

I started out as an artist not thinking to dream as big as what I've been able to accomplish so far in my career. Some of my favourite things about the role that I have is getting to use my artwork to connect people visually to important causes through collaborations with some of the biggest businesses in Canada. Another, is having virtual paint classes with folks and organizations all over Canada, inspiring people to pick up a paint brush and try something new that feeds their spirit. 

I also just got a puppy!

(Bliss Thompson @blissthompson_)

2) How did you approach the design process for this Toronto and GTA community inspired illustration?

One of my favourite places to visit in Toronto is the Island. The trees are so beautiful, and being next to water for me is fundamental to my happiness, I've discovered, as I navigate my 30's. Island + trees led me to think about the island we all call home, Turtle Island. It's what the Ojibwe, and other Indigenous populations call North America. I think it's important to put Indigeneity / Iconography into the mainstream culture because we are a population that's been excluded from it, except when it's a negative story, or we're needed to bolster a political agenda. We're more than that. Our culture is beautiful, and important. The intention behind the work I'm doing and the role I have as an artist and entrepreneur, is to put more Indigenous thought and artwork into the public realm for people to enjoy and ask questions, and ultimately become better allies. 

3) Name another Toronto-area artist whose work you admire and why. 

I really love the Mitchell twin, artist duo called @born.in.the.north on instagram! Not only are they super nice guys, but they put their artwork onto really cool products. I also really admire the way they're representing their culture through social media and the things they put their work on. I'd love to do a collab with them! 


(Amanda Mac )

Amanda Mac

@amacxtnsn

1) Tell us about yourself (in terms of your artistic/design background). 

Hi! My name is Amanda and I just graduated from the health sciences program at the University of Ottawa. I grew up in Markham, ON and have always loved art. I started to get back into drawing when the pandemic began as a way to de-stress. Art has always been an important mental outlet for me and a way to just be creative. I also love being able to work with others on pieces and see their ideas come to life. I'm really glad and grateful for the opportunities that I've come across and the other artists I've met through sharing my work on Instagram - thank you for following along and I hope to continue sharing my art journey with you! :) 

(Provided by Amanda Mac )

2) How did you approach the design process for this community inspired illustration representing Toronto and or the greater Toronto area?

One of the many things that I love about living in the GTA is the diversity - you're able to meet so many people from different communities and have the chance to try new food, experience different cultures and explore various neighbourhoods. Toronto is a city of neighbourhoods, and a gathering point for many unique communities. I aimed to capture the beauty of this diversity in my design. While I was not able to draw a panel for every single community in my design, I chose to highlight 3 neighbourhoods that I visited often while growing up: Little Italy (West), Chinatown (Central) and Greektown (East). 

3) Name another Toronto-area artist whose work you admire.

I've always loved @shuu_creates! Her designs and illustrations are so calming to look at and I love how they remind us all about the importance of self care. I think something really great about art is how it not only allows the artist to exercise self care, but it often also reminds viewers to care for and prioritize one's mental health. I think Shua expresses this beautifully in her pieces.


(Illustration by Alanna Cavanagh)

Alanna Cavanagh

@alanna_cavanagh 

1) Tell us about yourself (in terms of your artistic/design background) 

I'm a Toronto based artist and Illustrator. My style has been described as whimsical and I've created work for clients including The New York Times, Neiman Marcus, Crane Stationery, and Penguin Books. My silk screen prints are a favourite among interior designers and have appeared in many decor publications.

(Provided by Alanna Cavanagh)

2) How did you approach the design process for this community inspired illustration representing Toronto and or the greater Toronto area?

A garden illustration immediately came to mind as I myself am a member of a community garden in Cabbagetown. The setting also allowed me to include a diverse set of people... plus it was nice to draw something very springy after a long Covid winter. 

3) Name another Toronto-area artist whose work you admire.

 Jamie Bennett @jamiebennettillustration

 

now