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Winner of the jury prize for ‘The Art of Resistance’ at Nipissing University in 2010, Tony recently was chosen for the OCAD Award at the Artist Project and in 2011 was selected as one of the twenty ‘UNTAPPED’ artists in Canada. His paintings have generally been inspired by events portrayed in mainstream news media, but more recently have focused specifically on political events, the G Summit series, and World Economic Forums. In his opinion these events undermine democracy, disregarding any opportunity for public representation; and how this prevents meaningful change from evolving in our society.
My collection of work started as reflection on the meetings of powerful people (politicians, leadership debates, the Royal family), and how they undermine democracy, often leading to violently disrupting and infringing on the civilians and cities in which they are hosted. These well-publicized events highlight an opportunity for world leaders and corporations to bump elbows, share anecdotes and discuss economic philosophy, disregarding any opportunity for public participation or representation. For me these events resemble a gathering of the animal powerhouses from the financial and political jungles where only the wealthy survive. I chose to replace the faces of these leaders and corporate representatives with those of animals that I felt reflected a truer sense of their character.Over time I expanded out into other well known and influential people, including icons from music, television, sports, and business.
I've often wondered what we're capable of as human beings. When the norms and structures of society are taken away, and we return the the animal spirit inside of us.
It's that wonder that drives my work, to see the true representation of a person, and their place in the animal kingdom.