Celia Lees (b. 1996) is a Canadian artist born and raised in Port Stanley, Ontario now residing and painting full time in Toronto. Celia has a Bachelor of Design from Toronto Metropolitan University. Although her education provided her with the fundamentals of design and colour, ultimately Celia is a self taught painter.
How did you get into art?
I have always been into art and creating of all sorts. There is a certain satisfaction I get when creating physical objects with my own two hands. I was studying fashion design at school where I hoped my creativity had found a place where it could be used in a practical sense and provide me with a career. I never thought painting would be an option full time even though I liked to dream of the idea. Throughout school I was unsatisfied with the creative expression in my program so I turned to painting abstract on the side. Once I lost my job in fashion, I focused solely on painting and finally decided to take a risk on it full time.
How would you describe your style? What makes your art special?
I would describe my style as free and gestural with loose semiotic references. It is predominantly abstract with vague suggestions of subject matter. I enjoy using my body as my main vessel to illustrate paint onto the canvas, allowing my movements to dictate what the painting becomes. I believe there is a certain organic and ethereal feel to my work. I like to paint things that have a sense of familiarity but also something in which hasn't been seen before. I strive to have each painting feel and look different from the next.
How do you go about developing your work?
The way in which I develop my work is very instinctual. It is an additive method of applying marks to the canvas and intuitively selecting what mark would next compliment the piece best. Repeating this process over and over. Sometimes subtracting instead of adding. It is a combination of being loose with the paint most of the time and critical and refined with it once it starts to lose control. I very rarely start with a plan, I find my best work comes when I am totally present with the canvas and unleash what I am feeling inside, letting the painting and the moment guide the way.
Who or what influences you?
My main influences are my experiences and emotions. I paint about my experiences and emotions because often I feel there is no other adequate way for me to articulate them. I will never be able to find words that accurately depict what I am feeling inside the way I can with colour and form.
What are you planning to do next?
Currently I am working on a series that will be on display at Crybaby Gallery in Toronto starting October 5th! It has been a while since I have done a collective body of work so I am looking forward to it. I also have some special projects going on which I can't reveal yet but will be shared very soon!