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Art is more than just a career choice

by Ashley Fish Robertson October 23, 2018
Art is more than just a career choice

Why one fine arts student chose to pursue his passion

If anyone knows that the creative process takes patience and time, it’s Spencer Magnan. As a first-year fine arts student at Concordia, Magnan is studying drawing and painting with a minor in French. He was captivated by art from a young age, but it wasn’t until three years ago that he decided to pursue it as a career.

“I wanted to make it more of a career choice than just a hobby,” Magnan said. After deciding to study art, he relocated from southern Ontario to Montreal, where he began his studies at Concordia. His classes have allowed him to improve his skills as an artist as well as learn new techniques, he explained.

“I feel like my drawing class is helping me a lot by making me step outside of my comfort zone,” Magnan said. Although he was creating art long before he started at Concordia, Magnan’s classes have encouraged him to take on bigger challenges.
As busy as school gets, Magnan still makes time to create pieces for himself when he’s not in class. His inspiration seems to strike when least expected. In fact, Magnan’s latest bouts of inspiration are drawn from a unique source.

“Most of my recent paintings are based upon dreams I have had,” the artist revealed. “It’s kind of weird; I will have a dream that I feel is symbolic or important, and I paint it into a visual representation.”

Magnan’s love for abstraction and hyperrealism have greatly influenced his boldly minimalist approach to creating art. “I definitely draw inspiration from Salvador Dali or Frida Kahlo,” he said. “I love that their art has to do with themselves, and I make most of my art with the idea of who I am.”

In relation to his series of dream inspired art, Magnan admitted that he loves Sigmund Freud’s work, especially his theories about dream analysis.

Thinking back to his childhood in southern Ontario, Magnan recalled that teaching and learning art was not emphasized nearly as much as it is in Montreal. “We had subjects like AP English and science, but art was not a big thing,” he said. “Not many people wanted to do it or even recognize it.”

After becoming more familiar with Montreal, Magnan finally felt he could focus on expanding his skills and take on new challenges. He has been experimenting with new themes and mediums in an effort to branch out of his comfort zone.
Magnan said he recognizes the importance of art and believes it is just as important as any other academic subject. He noted that popular career paths and degrees are typically math and science related. Magnan said he believes there is still progress to be made in terms of highlighting the benefits of studying and practicing art.
“I feel that artists are becoming more valued, but not to where they should be,” Magnan said. “I think it has to do with the mindset of people and their beliefs that, with science or math, you will come out knowing more and being more prepared in life.”

Magnan notes that the importance of art is often devalued, especially in a competitive world where a high salary and practical job are deemed necessities. He believes that art is universal in nature and is something to be experimented with.
Although still young in his pursuit, Magnan’s unwavering drive to experiment and create is a reminder that the world of art has many opportunities for those who wish to pursue their passion. He urges fellow artists to experiment with different mediums and themes until they become more confident and comfortable.

“Art, to me, is more than just a career choice,” Magnan said. “It’s a way for me to channel my creativity. Creating allows me to explore myself, not just as an artist but as a person.”

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