The World of MO­HAN ART

Break­ing with tradition? Per­haps. But all that re­ally mat­ters is mak­ing a pos­i­tive dif­fer­ence in the lives of oth­ers

Our Canada - - Showcase - By Ti­mothy Mo­han, Orillia, Ont.

Grow­ing up in a small On­tario town nestled on the shores of Ge­or­gian Bay, I was for­tu­nate and priv­i­leged to have in­cred­i­ble par­ents. Like so many from that gen­er­a­tion, they did with­out a lot of things over the years to raise seven chil­dren. They tried their hard­est and did their best. What more could a child want of a par­ent?

Most of my cher­ished mem­o­ries of youth re­volved around cre­at­ing art­work. My grand­fa­ther owned an is­land in Honey Har­bour and my sum­mers were spent there fish­ing with my fa­ther, swim­ming with cousins and of­ten just sit­ting around look­ing out at Ge­or­gian Bay, draw­ing.

One of my ear­li­est and fond­est mem­o­ries of draw­ing was a pic­ture of Snoopy that I had cre­ated for my grand­fa­ther. I must have been three or four years old at the time. It was also my first com­mis­sion. I re­mem­ber my grand­fa­ther sit­ting at the kitchen ta­ble, puff­ing his pipe, with large plumes of grey and white smoke fill­ing the air as we ne­go­ti­ated pay­ment. We struck a deal whereby he re­ceived an orig­i­nal Snoopy draw­ing from me and I re­ceived two Dad’s oat­meal cook­ies as pay­ment. To this day, I still think I was over­paid, but he was a good man with a kind heart.

In my teen years, I found that mu­sic deeply in­flu­enced my art­work. Al­bums such as “The Dark Side of the Moon” by Pink Floyd and “Sgt. Pep­per’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” by The Bea­tles were mag­i­cal. With the vol­ume turned up to the max­i­mum, I could close my eyes and drift into the mu­sic. Of­ten, im­ages would pop into

my head and I would see the art­work com­pleted be­fore I even started. All I had to do was reach into my mind and grab it. It’s an in­cred­i­ble feel­ing and to this day I can­not cre­ate art­work with­out mu­sic play­ing.

In the ’90s, I found my­self liv­ing in Bri­tish Columbia and was in­tro­duced to Haida art for the first time. It lit­er­ally took my breath away. Be­fore my eyes was an art style that was bold and pow­er­ful, yet had this spir­i­tual feel that re­ally touched my soul. It was the same feel­ing I had when I witnessed a sun­set over the Rocky Moun­tains for the first time. In­spired, I knew at that mo­ment I had found my call­ing—i wanted to be an artist.

Since that time, I have done a lot of solo ex­hi­bi­tions in mu­se­ums and had my art­work dis­played dur­ing the 2010 G-20 Sum­mit in Toronto, but one of my big­gest thrills was when I got a tele­phone call from Warner Bros. Tele­vi­sion in Los An­ge­les. They wanted to rent ten of my Na­tive paint­ings for their tele­vi­sion pro­duc­tion of Nikita.

With all the years of hard work, it was nice to see peo­ple ac­cept­ing my art­work for what it is. Be­ing colour- blind and self- taught, I’ve al­ways been a lit­tle ner­vous about dis­play­ing my work for all the world to see. My fa­ther al­ways told me, “Take pride in the things you do.” Art has given that to me and I treat every piece that I cre­ate as if it’s my last one.

What many seem to ap­pre­ci­ate in my art­work is the way mul­ti­ple vis­ual el­e­ments, de­rived from a va­ri­ety of sources and in­spi­ra­tions, in­clud­ing my Na­tive an­ces­try, wildlife and na­ture, are fused to­gether into a multi-lay­ered, co­he­sive whole. To achieve that end re­sult, I com­bine dif­fer­ent artis­tic medi­ums, ap­ply­ing mod­ern tools and tech­niques to the cre­ative process.

I also try to give back to the com­mu­nity by help­ing out non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tions, pro­vid­ing, for ex­am­ple, an orig­i­nal piece of art­work or a few signed prints that could be used for rais­ing funds. Among the causes I’ve sup­ported so far are Ron­ald Mcdon­ald House, Big Brothers/big Sis­ters, Moth­ers Against Drunk Driv­ing and the Cana­dian Can­cer So­ci­ety—all very wor­thy en­deav­ours.

When you get right down to it, all that re­ally mat­ters in life, or at least in my life, is try­ing to make a pos­i­tive dif­fer­ence in the lives of oth­ers.

More of Mo­han’s art­work can be viewed on­line at http://www.lexy­pub­lish­ing.yol­a­

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