History is witness to the gross underestimation of brilliant artists. A century after Van Gogh’s demise, Don McLean sings praises of Starry Starry night, a view from Van Gogh’s asylum window. Not much has changed in the past century. What sets a mainstream artist apart from an indie artist is exposure and lets face it, we know little about the indie painters in our own backyard.
Meet Raymond Nylund. Born in Toronto in 1962, Ray has been painting for the past 20 years. He calls painting a “natural instinct” and every stroke of his brush marks the hardship he has had to endure in life.
Growing up, Ray moved from one foster home to another in various small towns in Quebec. At the age of 11, Ray went back to live with his mom and sister.
“It wasn’t easy. I was aware of a reality that did not belong to a kid,” says Ray.
In 1988 when his mother committed suicide, Ray resorted to writing as a way to express himself. Without any real guidance he kept writing poetry but did not succeed in getting it published.
“I always had hope and believed in destiny. I always felt there was more than was visible to the naked eye.” Ray studied religion for two years and found solace in the knowledge that there was something bigger than the misery and pain he had been exposed to throughout his life.
As an attempt to expose what was not visible to the naked eye, Ray started painting in June 1992. “I had merely $250 in my pocket and I decided to buy the tools to paint. I learned about the ingredients needed to paint on my own.”
Ray believes there are six ingredients that mark his work: originality, colour, optical balance, texture, movement and identity. Ray’s work is highly influenced by the events taking place around him. His painting “Lost in Japan” is about the recent Tsunami in Japan that claimed the lives of over 15,000 people. He calls the tsunami “spectacular, tragic and baring all the elements of evil in a society.”
“I can’t believe the solution lies to man. I don’t see the goodwill in people. Each time a man gets power, greed takes over and it always means bad news for the people.” Perhaps, it is time to prove Ray wrong. Perhaps, it is time for us to show that there is still goodwill left in us. We are capable of caring and appreciating talent in each other in our lifetime.
Raymond Nylund will be showing his work for the first time ever on Friday, October 28th at his studio at 3421 Durocher. I strongly urge you to come out, look at Ray’s work and show support.
“I am not a quitter” – Raymond Nylund.
Photos by Chris Zacchia