Alone in the City

Arabella - - NEWS - Lorie Lee Steiner

writ­ten by

Sean Yel­land was born in Toronto in the spring of 1966 to the de­light of his Ir­ish par­ents. It was ob­vi­ous from the be­gin­ning that art was in his DNA. As a child, his favourite pas­time was draw­ing, and he dreamed of be­ing a car­toon­ist when he grew up. From dreams came de­ter­mi­na­tion. Af­ter com­plet­ing high school, he headed straight for the On­tario Col­lege of Art and spent four years in the gen­eral stud­ies pro­gram. He tried his hand at sculp­ture, jew­elry, life draw­ing, pho­tog­ra­phy, illustration – you name it, Sean gave it a try. Ev­ery­thing, ex­cept paint­ing. He even won an award for ex­per­i­men­tal pho­tog­ra­phy in his fi­nal year. The paint­ing urge didn’t kick in un­til af­ter grad­u­a­tion. He re­calls, "I was work­ing in an art sup­ply store, and weaseled a way to get Wed­nes­days off so I could paint. I soon had a good co­he­sive se­ries that I wasn’t em­bar­rassed to show. I hung the paint­ings in a nice restau­rant down­town, where a gallery di­rec­tor saw them and asked me to ex­hibit them at the Painted City Gallery." Sean was still work­ing at the art store, reluc­tantly, when a friend of a friend stopped in. He was a scenic painter and needed help for a few days paint­ing a back­drop. Sean jumped at the chance. "I quit my job so I could help him out. Luck­ily, he had enough work to hire me for more jobs and I worked there free­lance for a few years. My boss, Kelvin Brit­ton, in­tro­duced me to dif­fer­ent types of paint, tech­niques and ap­proaches. When it was slow, he had me prac­tice Chi­nese cal­lig­ra­phy to help with my brush­work. We did back­drops for pho­tog­ra­phers, TV and film; I learned a lot and really got my chops up. Un­for­tu­nately, com­put­ers stole that job."

left, Fetch, oil on can­vas, 60" x 38" right, (Dis)ap­point­ment, oil on can­vas, 36" x 36"

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