15 Inspiring Female Creatives in Toronto
Maggee Day is a visual artist working predominantly in the medium of oil paint. She studied at OCAD University in Toronto, ON where she received her BFA (2016), and completed her MFA at Emily Carr University in Vancouver, BC (2020). Day’s work challenges traditional conventions of representational painting by exploring new ways to utilize tools in our contemporary painting world. She combines traditional painting techniques, rendering approaches from the digital realm, and loose vandalizing brushstrokes to create complex paintings that oscillate between illusionism and autonomous abstraction. Day has exhibited across Canada and was awarded the 2018 Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant in painting.
A piece of advice I would give to my younger creative self would be…. “This was strange to write because I am an emerging artist and still have a lot more to accomplish. Nevertheless, I have learned a few things that I didn’t know when I was starting this journey that I am happy to share.
Having a career as an artist is possible. For context, when I was in highschool I didn’t really know that being an artist was a possibility. I grew up in the country (20 minutes outside of London, Ontario), I never went to museums or art galleries, and I didn’t know anyone who was an artist, let alone in the creative field. My dad was an IT guy at a bank, and my mom was a nurse who occasionally painted. I went to art school blind and not sure what my future would hold. While I was there I reached out to instructors who were professional artists and learned about different avenues for creatives: You can be a commission artist, a gallery artist, an art instructor, be in design/ illustration, an artist assistant, some artists even live off government art grants.
Keep making work! I think one of the hardest obstacles for any artist is the drive to keep making work and pushing yourself artistically and critically. It is surprising how many people stop making work after art school. You have to make work for yourself that you want to make and not just for a project. One of my favorite artists Kim Dorland talked about how he locked himself in his studio and told himself that if he focuses on creating the best work he can, good things will happen. So I believe the work should be the top priority. Make work you are interested in, make work about your life/ your interests, make a list of artists you like and can relate your work to (relating your work to another artist will make it stronger; nothing is original).
Get the most out of school and mentors. This was told to me by my painting teacher Greg Ludlow at Beal Art, right before I went to OCADU. Most people want you to succeed, and every instructor you have will have their own knowledge on how to make a painting, how to be an artist, and how to navigate the artworld. Being polite, asking questions, and going to shows they recommend will be extremely beneficial. Being a student you are in a very fortunate position where the school wants to help you and wants you to succeed.
Being an artist, you wear a lot of hats. As an artist you do a lot, it is basically starting your own business. Artists have to learn how to: talk to clients, be professional/organized, build/update a website/social media, look and apply for opportunities (shows, grants, awards, residencies, how to approach galleries), write about your work, professionally document your work, and how to do tax. You do all this while maintaining your studio practice and keeping up to date with what artists around you are doing. This is not to discourage but to keep you aware of things you would want to learn when starting out.
There you have it, my rant to my younger creative self. Being an artist is not easy, but if you feel like art is something you want to do, I hope this helps!