Artists – emerging and in some instances established – are always looking for opportunities to showcase their talent and increase their audience pool.
When close friends Georgia Fullerton and Sonia Farquharson learned that a Brampton arts gallery, Beaux-Arts, was seeking artists to produce seven murals, they jumped at the chance.
“We are on a mailing list and when we saw this opportunity, I knew it was perfect for the two of us,” said Fullerton. “I told Sonia we are going to enter the contest and we will be among the seven artists whose works are chosen.”
Fullerton, whose art expresses the connection between human nature and the visual dialogue, was right on target.
They nailed their murals that represent visual arts, music, theatre and dance. Each artist submitted a small painting or drawing of their planned mural.
“In my piece, I wanted to represent all of the arts and I wanted it to be quite dramatic,” said Fullerton, whose recent paintings show different postures and expressions that provoke emotion and embellish the mood of the viewer.
Her passion for visual arts was inspired by her mother, Lucille, a talented artist and educator.
“For me, family is the strongest root and that has always been my mainstay,” she said. “My mother and other relatives have always provided me with the encouragement I needed and that has kept me going.”
The second of four children, Fullerton came to Canada with her family in 1967 and settled in Edson, a small town in west-central Alberta about 119 miles west of Edmonton. Her parents – retired educators residing in Jamaica – made the move at the time because there was a need for teachers in the province.
“We were one of two Black families in the town and I think that experience helped me because I am now comfortable in and around any cultural group,” she said. “I was able to come out of my comfort zone at a young age.”
After specializing in printmaking at Red Deer College, Fullerton moved to the Greater Toronto Area in 1986 and completed a Bachelor of Arts at York University. She worked as a graphic designer, production artist in the apparel industry and a digital pre-press specialist and recently completed a self-employment program that provided her with some of the tools she needed to establish “Just Georgia” which offers art instruction, expression through art workshops, healing art consulting and fine art sales.
The official launch takes place next month.
Farquharson felt very comfortable entering the mural contest.
“I love all aspects of the arts and I am very diverse with my work,” she said. “The mural I put together reflects my interpretation of the theme (The Arts) and it’s focused on music.”
Born in England and raised in the Greater Toronto Area, Farquharson started painting at age 10. In junior high school, she painted murals and took part in art contests before selling her first piece to her English teacher in 1983 and winning the art awards in Grade 12 and 13.
The emerging portrait and visual artist work centres around people and diversity.
“As a young child, I took magazines and sketched faces,” she said. “I just love drawing people and showcasing diversity through my work.”
Though she works with oil, pastel and pencils, Farquharson’s preference is acrylic and her work has been featured at the Royal Ontario Museum and the New York Art Expo.
After graduating from York Memorial Collegiate, she attended The Ontario College for the Arts part-time where she received an editorial illustration certificate.
While fashioning a visual artist career, Farquharson also enjoys modelling and is registered with an agency.
In 1989, she enrolled in a cosmetology and fashion course at Humber College with the aim of becoming a model. The euphoria of graduating was however short-lived when the then 5’ 9” 140-pound Farquharson found out that models back then were expected to be pencil-thin.
Four years ago, she won the People’s Choice Award with 282,467 online votes in the inaugural Canada Plus Size Model Search contest. One of 10 finalists and the only Black selected from nearly 4,000 entries from across the country, she was the oldest finalist at age 43 with the second oldest being 28.
Fullerton and Farquharson, who has a full-time job and is a part-time student at Humber College, are working round-the-clock to complete their murals by September 27, the closing date. They will each receive $1,000 for their work.
With the exception of Fullerton whose mural is 6’ x 6’, the others are 7’ x 7’.
“My mural is smaller because there is an electrical unit that takes up a foot on the exterior wall where it will be placed,” Fullerton said.
Beaux-Arts has two spacious galleries and a functional classroom/workshop on the ground floor in the Robson Black building in downtown Brampton.