Wade Kotelo held an Art Show last night at Estevan Art Concepts with many people in attendance. Kotelo was showing his "Fiercely Canadian... Sorry!" Painting Collection.
Read the exclusive interview below:
Question: You put a beloved Canadian icon in the painting, how do you feel about this?
Ketelo: I love Alden Nowlan and I painted a couple of Alden Nowlan and the more you kinda dig into. None of these guys are off the beaten path, they're highly regarded in their fields but I think they kind of slip away, they’re all dead. They kind of drifted out of our consciousness and so all of them touched me in some way, you know, as I was growing up and as an adult, they’ve made connections with them in different ways. It’s personal but they’re also very public so I think it’ll connect to a lot of people, whom I guess is age-appropriate as I say or my age group.
Question: How does it get from a poet and Stompin Tom to actors like Bruno Gerussi?
Kotelo: These are all artists in that one broad sense. I was just thinking about again people or characters that you know Nick Adonis and Larry King as portrayed by, that affected me and kind of represented the best of Canadian ideals. Learned a lot from Larry King, helping everybody out and sometimes at his own expense, as we learn through the life of his television program, likewise with Nick Adonis does. These are small-town guys who did the best they could with what they had and still found ways to give and rise above. They made mistakes along the way and in terms of the real guys, Adonis was a model of Canadian resiliency. He had a very challenging life out East, an unforgiving family and minor education at best until he took care of it himself. There’s nobody more Canadian that’s Stomping Tom, you know he never performed a show outside of Canada and sent back all his Juno's in protest and he's got landmark things that are unforgettable. Part of it is how they look, as a portrait painter, they got a look you can kinda grab onto you and that fuelled the idea.
Question: Are portraits your favorite type of artwork to create?
Kotelo: I’m a painter first, I do a little bit of drawing but everything that sorta moves out is paint and so I’m working on my strong suits. I’ve been painting people and portraits and dealing with portraitures as a concept for a long time. So I kinda know what it means to paint a portrait of somebody, it lifts them up, it doesn’t matter if it’s you or me or a celebrity it changes their status in a way and it might just be a feeling. Someone’s taking the time to change the way people look at you and so that’s happening a bit here. I haven’t in the last month or two remember when somebody has talked about Bruno Gerussi or Alden Nowlan so it's kinda sharing in Canadian history.
Question: how do you want people to react/want them to think about your work?
Kotelo: Well just what’s happening to me, I dropped off the last couple yesterday to Teresa and they were all lined up along the edge getting ready to be displayed and I just can’t wipe the smile off my face. I think they feel good, it’s a neat look and right off the bat despite the repetition I think it’s an overwhelming bit of variety. There something kinda unique and interesting happening but I don’t know who feels positive to me.
They’re all painted independence so I had the same starter system and I don’t look from one to the other so they all have their own little nuance to them that some of them seem to take on. One of them has a greenback has a sort of intensity to him a little more gravitas than the others but that’s kind of the fun of it. Everybody has all those different sides and that’s a very common thing we all have different selves that were shown to different people at different times and maybe that’s part of that too.
Question: Any ideas good you going to be working on on the set?
Kotelo: To me, this is an open-ended set the idea of working with the Fiercely Canadian already has me thinking ahead to who else could be represented with the notion of being Canadian first. Then again you think about Stomping Tom never playing a show out of Canada and you think about noteworthy Canadians or worthwhile Canadians like Michael J Fox. I don’t know if he ever played a Canadian his start was a young man on TV and was directly into America and now he would challenge, I’m not saying he’s not Canadian he’s just not as Canadian as Stomping Tom and so there's so many out there but I don’t watch much TV anymore but I think it’s a nice open-ended set.
Question: What is your process?
Kotelo: I sit alone in a room for a long time and I’ve got a method where approach, doesn’t matter the subject matter every painting the same and as I am working through I have a painters process. In terms of doing the research and starts and kind of learning a bit and doing the composition, I’m looking for source material that works for me. So I'm using technology and then its old school again