Kevin Deforest, B.F.A., M.F.A.


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My love of art started with...

My father, an architecture professor, always had lots of paper and pencils around for his kids to draw on. When I began my studies in Environmental Studies, I was drawn to the history of art and architecture thanks to a great teacher named Bob Madill at the University of Manitoba.

I never had any art education before university, so my early art influences were comics, psychedelic posters, and the satirical drawings of Mad Magazine. Their movie caricturist, Mort Drucker was one of my early heroes.

I wanted to teach because...

Giving back to the community. I've always been lucky and had at least one inspirational teacher in every post-secondary program I've taken. Without them, I doubt I would have been motivated to carry on with my art. The "what" then is my attraction to the process of higher learning. To contribute to a more thoughtful, reflective approach towards life and art.

The most exciting place I think I've ever shown is...

A gallery right next to the Duomo in Milan.

My style of teaching can be described as...

Supportive but critical. You will be in a comfortable space. I won't make you cry, but you'd better be able to handle criticism.

A brief Professional History...

I've studied across Canada and abroad including stints in Banff, Kyoto, and Amsterdam. I show mostly in the parallel gallery system, which is now a Canadian institution that (hopefully still) values experimentation and alternative viewpoints to the Lowest Common Denominator. I've shown in Holland, Germany, Canada, Japan, the US.. my hybrid mandate also has me curating, writing critically, and working in a variety of media.

My personal achievements are...

Numerous grants from the Canada Council, Manitoba Arts Council, Conseil des arts et letters du Quebec.

The work I'm currently developing is...

I'm making a new body of video installations about living here in the prairies.

My educational background...

I've studied in Holland and Montreal under notable artists such as Marlene Dumas and Lani Maestro. I've done residencies in Banff and Japan.

My aim for my students...

To be fearless. To realize how connected you are to the rest of the world when you take on art making. To respect yourself and those around you.

Kevin Deforest