Victoria Bacnis is a mixed-media visual artist and current Independent Studio artist at SKETCH. We chatted with Victoria on her art, working as a Creative Facilitator, and how a trip to Japan changed her life.
I wear many hats as a proud Printmaker, Photographer and Creative Facilitator. While my earlier works have explored dark themes of death and disconnection, my visual art practice has recently shifted into a new realm of bright, lively colours that analyze the act and value of questioning. ‘What do our individual questions say about ourselves?’ ‘What do our questions say about the world we live in?’ ‘Why do I like asking questions?’
I attempt to engage with these banal, thought-provoking questions by combining a range of different processes such as collaging, relief, screen-printing photography, and as of recently, projection design.
When I’m not busy working on my own artwork, I am a Creative Facilitator at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital where I facilitate art programming for kids and youth with special needs. With my experience at Holland Bloorview, I’ve grown an extensive interest and awareness of the accessibility and communication of art in not just healthcare institutions but other communities that could learn a thing or two about communication and special needs. I quite enjoy the challenges of figuring out how to modify a creative process like screen-printing or painting for someone that may have weak motor skills or use a wheelchair.
The art of creativity welcomes everyone. While I don’t consider myself an Art Therapist, I do very much consider my art practice to be therapeutic–not just for me but for a lot of people that I work with. I hope to finish a series of zines that shares information about the arts and special needs.
I think timing brought me to SKETCH. After I graduated from art school last April I racked up all of my savings from my part-time jobs and took the next flight to Japan. It was the first time I would be travelling outside of Canada to a foreign country–by myself. It didn’t feel life changing at the time, but I can definitely say now that it was.
Victoria’s screenprint revealed
While I was experiencing an entirely different culture and language, I realized that all the opportunities I was busily searching for in Japan were already happening for me, as an Artist, right here, at home, in Toronto.
After three months, something in my gut (and in my wallet) told me I needed to go home and get back to making art. I needed to make art happen in my life without art school. And that’s exactly what I did and am still doing. A few days after I arrived home, I filled my schedule with a ton of workshops, programs and networking events where I eventually met Naty whom I had mistaken for their twin. I had the pleasure of working with Naty’s twin a few years ago at a community-arts camp called Spiral Garden. A few weeks later, I saw the call for the Indie studio program and here I am.
My favourite part about my artistic process is feeling “in my zone”–something I feel that many artists can relate to. This feeling is something that manifests both physically and mentally, sparking a deep creative connection with my artistic process, concepts and materials that I work with. Something that helps me get “in my zone” is listening to music. I love listening to good music while I work- especially with good loud headphones. It doesn’t just help me get comfortable and reach a mindset of concentration but also helps me let go of any mistakes that I might encounter throughout my creative process.
As a Printmaker, I get excited about feeling different textures of papers and mixing inks. As a Creative Facilitator, I love being a part of bringing people together to discover or rediscover the beauty of art. Despite the long hours, physical labour and the familiar challenges of finding financial stability as an artist, I absolutely love it all and don’t know what I’d be doing without art in my life.
Ever since I was a kid, art was always something I knew I enjoyed and was somewhat good at. It was my safe escape to explore and actualize all the weird (or not so weird) ideas that would percolate in my head.
Being blessed with opportunities like the Indie Studio Program, I think Art is currently transforming my life more than ever. Stay focused, stay passionate and the rest will work its magic.
To see more of Victoria’s work, visit her website www.vbacnis.com.