February 12, 2009

Jerry Waese's expressionistic Toronto neighborhood

bathurst at dundas

Jerry Waese is a painter and software programmer based in Toronto. His art has a distinctive expressionistic style. He uses intense colors and bold strokes to capture buzzing urban scenes in the Canadian metropolis, the largest of the country. He shared some of his sketches of Dundas Street on our Flickr pool and fellow painter Isabel Fiadeiro asked him some questions.

From looking at your work we can see that your subject matter is the human being, specially their faces. Why did you start drawing Dundas Street and how long have you been doing it?

Our two girls grew up, so we thought we might sell our house and try something else. My wife wanted to design clothing and run a store, so we chose Dundas Street as a developing neighborhood to get into.

We bought a terribly dilapidated semidetached two-story shack-type store —one that had burned several times— and purchased it, got an architect, and two years of fighting with the city later we had a permit.

I had built houses in my youth, so I figured I could manage the construction myself and did that while holding down my job writing and supporting software, which I still do, so multitasking did not destroy all my relationships.

We moved in in December of 2007, which was scary as the heat was not connected up yet, but it was terrific for us.

We are active members of the business association and totally love the neighborhood. I have been drawing Dundas Street views since we moved in, and actually have quite a few from the construction period as well.


All your sketches are very strong. Bold lines and color are used achieving great images with very simple strokes. Have you always drawn this way? What or who inspires you?

I was initially inspired by Hokusai and the Group of Seven (Canadian Painters), and by M. C. Escher, but my doodles were mostly just ink until the early 90's.

That is when I got into oil pastel and acrylic, and became a painter. I learned composition from an abstract expressionist, Sam Feinstein, and how not to fear the paint, and how to experience the rectangular field as my body.

This is like synaesthesia, extending the mind into the canvas (or paper) and being that body.

After moving to Dundas I started sketching as my painting area was not (still is not) set up. I sketch as if I am painting, and I keep trying to simplify what I do more and more.

• Jerry's art on Flickr.
• Jerry's Dundas Street.


zhenia said...

wonderful story and a true inspiration in this pictures! I use oil pastels more and more lately, great to see somebody else's work done with similar materials. thanks a lot!

Richard Câmara said...

Great Flickr Fave to read. Really interesting interview and pictures. Congratulations!

patrick said...


Sharon Frost said...

Love the flow of these Jerry..

Lok said...

Big fan of Jerry's work - very powerful, and whimsical at the same time.

memi said...

So exciting to look at!
The sheer pleasure is contagious!

veronica lawlor said...

These are very positive and exciting!

Don McNulty said...

These are a visual delight, wonderful color.

Asnee said...

great expressive colors and composition, just love your works

Laureline said...

What wonderful drawings! Thanks to Isabel for introducing Jerry and his art to us!

jerry w said...

thanks for visiting me on Flickr

bettyfromtexas said...

So much excitement and energy!! It gets to the soul of what urban art is all about!!!

4ojos said...

I´ve been following Jerry´s work on Flickr for a long time and I´m glad he´s here with us. The freshness of his work is truly inspiring to me. Thanks for sharing it.

Sara said...

I just found this and your work on flickr -- the energy is so contagious! Fantastic. Thanks for posting and also for your comments on my blog. Looking forward to your future posts!

lilasvb said...

very nice draw