Posts tagged artists in calgary
Citizens of Capitol Hill: John F. Gerrard
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By Maria Castillo-Stone


If you haven’t already heard - through our blasts on social media or e-newsletters, we have a bunch of new programs ready to launch for the Autumn season. In case you’re still scratching your head, I suggest you subscribe to our monthly newsletter to stay in the loop, plus follow one of our three social media accounts!

Today, I’m introducing you to John F. Gerrard who will be the instructor for our “Seniors Art Class (55+)”.

I decided to have chat with John and hopefully this chat will entice those of you still on the fence about the course, and hopefully have you feeling excited and eager to give your hidden art skills a go.

As a teacher in art college once told me: “No one is born artistically talented, it takes lots of practice, and passion to appear that way.”

Links to purchase tickets and register will be at the bottom of this page. Hope to see you there!




To someone who’s never attended an art class - how would you describe what will happen under your instruction?

Each of the six sessions will be themed and students will be shown some “tricks of the trade” regarding drawing, landscapes, and conceptual art. That being said, if someone wants to work on portraiture, I won’t stop them! Foremost, I want to facilitate a space for people to feel free to experiment, and for people to explore how they want to express themselves visually.

How would you encourage someone who is curious but apprehensive due to skill set, expertise level etc?

You have to be patient with certain ways of making, as it takes time for us to learn certain skills. This can be frustrating, because our taste doesn’t match our ability in the beginning. We all have to start somewhere though! It can be hard to turn down our inner critic, but when we do we allow all sorts of discovery to take place. 

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What will an attendee gain by attending the course?

People who join us will gain a basic understanding of the different ways of making art as well as given the space to explore their own visual voice. What inspired your journey to becoming an artist? Art has been a part of my life in some way or another for a long time. With my visual practice, I am trying to make sense of my environment and my mind. As a kid, I was supported and inspired to pursue this creative life. I am inspired by the variety of ways there are to express yourself. The more I make, the more I’m starting to see themes and connections within the work. This is exciting!

What’s one tip you would dispense in approaching art for the first time?

Keep an open mind and be patient. It takes time for your skills to match your taste! Who or what has influenced your work? My biggest influences have come locally. From relationships at my studio or those when I was studying drawing at art college. Aesthetically, I really connect with the work of Basquiat. My life and journey with mental health inform my work, and I aim to be an ambassador for these issues.

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What has been a seminal experience for you artistically?

One of my favourite experiences as an artist was from a project I did with Branch Out Neurological foundation where I made work inspired by a neurological research assignment. It was fascinating to have access to a neuroscientists perspective. I am doing it again this year, and couldn’t be more excited. 

What’s the three or more essential tool(s) in art, you swear by?

Compositional sensibility, having space between sessions to refresh the eyes, perseverance, and constructive critique.


What is your artistic look on life?

Art is so versatile and wonderful. It can help us bridge unknowns, and serve as a fulcrum for understanding. It can also be a world free from concepts or words. Art for the sake of art is enough, and to me this a great metaphor for life. We don’t need to be useful to have purpose. We are all enough as we are.

Many thanks to John F. Gerrard for taking the time to provide us with this interview and also use of his images.

You can register for the course online or, download and print a form, and pay by cheque.