Alone in the City
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"