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February 12, 2009
Jerry Waese's expressionistic Toronto neighborhood
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.