Chronicles of a novice entrepreneur and her dream to change the world through art. PC: Tai Moir 

Date: 14/2/2018 8:00 AM EST

February 14th. Today, words like this get thrown around: "You complete me." "My other half," or "My better half." I am not a cynic, I promise. But these words are utter horse s#it. I am a complete human being with or without a significant other. Life is a solo journey with many visitors. And I am so grateful to meet those who come into my life and choose to stay.


Photo by @zjzade. Skyline art @avemariabell.designs.

We live in a world where we idolize the idea of fairytale love, and so on days like today, we attach certain meaning to it which in fact, is so meaningless to many.  Don't get me wrong, I love valentines day. It is wonderful to spend a special day expressing love to one another. BUT of course society has turned it into a heavily commercialized day, having us worship the glorified, romantic, fairy-tale love. Instead of celebrating the idea of love for another person, can we celebrate the idea of just love itself? Isn't that more important? In today's society, why do we feel the need to have someone in order to be complete?  Why not celebrate the love we have for ourselves, because there is no greater relationship than the one you have with yourself. The fact that there might be a significant other in our lives, should just be a bonus!


Today I am celebrating ME. Me as a complete, wholehearted human being who is unafraid to give love to others, because I am so full of my own love. Today I am celebrating love itself. Love for my art, my passion, my calling. For me, life is a never ending love affair with living a creative life. A love for art. A love for inspiration. A love for spirituality. A love for connection. Any other love I have to give; whether it be to a lover, a friend, my family, is all a bonus.

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Photo by @zjzade. Skyline art @avemariabell.designs.

To all my other girl bosses out there who every day choose to love themselves first, despite a world that bombards them with picture-perfect fairytale love: Happy Valentines day.




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Date: 12/1/2018 12:00 PM EST

My art is a series of minimalist, city skyline designs. Inspired by the geometry and colour palettes of the traditional shoji screen, my designs look fabulous in an interior setting with Japanese or Scandinavian inspired home décor. The simplicity of it, has allowed me to explore not only different applications, but has also made my art easily customizable.  In this blog, I will share with you some of the custom graphics I have created, and the different mediums they can be applied to.

One of my very first sales on Etsy was a customized Toronto vinyl wall decal. My customer wanted to add cursive words, "I'm coming home...," with font that evokes a "dream-like," quality. The combination of the words and the skyline is exactly the concept I hope to inspire through my art; travel is important, and having a sense of belonging to the city you love, is also equally important.

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Representing your love for the city you live using Toronto's area code  "6," was made poplar by rap artist, Drake. As a result, you can find many local Toronto companies adopting slogans, logos and graphics with, "6ix." The design below was first requested by a close friend, and soon became a popular custom request on my online Etsy store.

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If you follow my work, you will have seen some of my laser-cut skyline art.  What was at first a wood-working experiment, has become one of my best-sellers! This piece is easily customizable, which can include or exclude some of my standard skyline graphics. DSC_0558


The piece below was a birthday gift from Mr. Short, to Mrs. Short. The brief was to create a custom wooden piece with their last name laser-cut, and landscape etched into the wood to symbolize their love for the outdoor environment. As they are originally from Calgary, I used the Rocky mountains silhouette to create this graphic, and the birds are laser-etched into the birch wood. After sanding the birch, I stained each piece in a different cherry shade to give the illusion of depth in the landscape.




This custom laser-cut piece was for a close friend whose niece's name is similar to mine: Aeva Marie. The brief was to take the graphic of the sun from their country's flag, and abstract it - as a subtle nod to their proud Filipino heritage. The wood is layered on to the lid of an existing jewellery box. Each piece was sanded and stained by hand, prior to assembly.20170721_121000.jpg


Custom designs are my favourite part of being a local artist and maker. It is an opportunity to bring to life an art-work that is unique and special to one individual. To enquire about a custom piece, drop me an email today at I hope that I can design a one-of-a-kind piece for you, or for someone you love!








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Date: 29/12/2017 12:29 PM EST

In the lives of successful entrepreneurs that I have studied, there is one recurring practice that has also made a huge difference in my own life. This practice is the act of being grateful – Every. Single. Day. I make it a daily habit to note down the things that I am most grateful for in my life – from the seemingly mundane moments, to the extraordinary. When you have a lot of gratitude in your life, it makes it difficult for stress and anxiousness to persist. Although all of my gratitude notes are often done in the privacy of my journal, every now and again, it’s nice to be able to shout from the roof tops the things the I am most proud of. In this blog, I share the top 10 highlights of 2017 that I have achieved in my small art venture; Ave Mariabell Designs.


  1. Over 100 sales on Etsy, with 10 x 5 Star rating reviews!
When I first made my Etsy store live last year in March, I remember always refreshing the page, wondering when would the day come that I'd see the hundredth sale come through. This month, I received the first sale over 100 on Etsy, and I couldn't be happier! When this is totalled with my offline sales, the numbers reach beyond what I could have imagined when I first started!


  1. Working with Square Inc.
To kick off my business, it was essential to have a payment platform to enable credit card purchases during outdoor markets in Toronto. I started using Square which provides a card reader, that inserts directly to you cell via the headphone jack. This has revolutionized small businesses by empowering them to make transactions on the go. I never imagined that I would one-day work with Square Inc. directly! I started working with Square early 2017 to design their staff t-shirts that incorporates their logo with my Toronto Skyline in an abstract way. Watch out for the final product by following my Instagram page; @avemariabell.designs.
  1. Love Toronto Collaborations
Love Toronto is an Instagram account dedicated to sharing the creative content of talented individuals in our community. They support emerging artists, designers, photographers, and entrepreneurs by providing them a platform to share their work. I have been so fortunate to work with Love Toronto - not only as a featured artist on their Instagram page, but I’ve also had an opportunity to collaborate with them on their latest apparel; check out our YYZ code tee below! Follow them and keep an eye out for more of our collaborations!

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  1. Meeting like-minded local artists.
Through their Instagram platform of over 100,000 followers, Love Toronto has allowed me to meet many talented local artists. I believe that one of the steps to creating a name for yourself in the community, is to cultivate relationships with other local artists who are also establishing small art ventures. I love networking with locally established businesses, because it is an opportunity to seek guidance and create friendships from those who are on the same journey as you.


  1. Love Toronto and Friends Pop-up
With the help of Love Toronto and other local Toronto artists, 2017 was the year that #LoveTorontoandFriends pop-up markets came into fruition. Since starting my art venture, I have joined as a vendor in many Toronto art markets such as City Fest, Waterfront Artisan Market, Withrow Market and even smaller charity markets such as the Holiday Arts & Crafts market by Toronto New Life Wellness Place. However, I’ve always wanted to organize my own local market and Love Toronto has made that possible. We plan to organize more #LoveTorontoandFriends pop-ups soon, so keep an eye out!


  1. Airbnb Installation
During one of many local Toronto markets that I participated in 2017, I was fortunate to connect with a local Airbnb owner who requested my biggest wall decal order yet – a Toronto Skyline decal spanning 9 feet long and 3 feet high. This was installed in a chic, Canadian-themed apartment in downtown Toronto. I am so happy to show case my work right in the heart of Toronto.

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  1. H-Bar Art Installation
A good friend and fellow artist, from @Studio324 connected me with the owner at the trendy “H-Bar,” located at 859 Queen Street West in downtown Toronto. The owner is an art enthusiast, who supports artists by allowing them to display and sell their art on their walls. My laser-cut wooden skylines, fit so well with their rustic décor and solid timber walls, and they have been on display there since October 2017.  If you happen to be out in the nightlife of Toronto, make sure to drop by and have a look!


  1. Arts Market – Voted Best Unique Gift shop
I am a proud to be apart of the Arts Market team since November 2016. This year, Arts Market was voted in Now Magazine’s – Best Unique Gift Store category in their Readers’ Choice poll! If you are looking for an in-store location to sell your art in Toronto, without the burdens of owning real estate, I highly recommend Arts Market. Arts Market gives artistic entrepreneurs a permanent place to sell their wares at the most affordable rent possible.


  1. Project City Love Launch
This year I officially launched the Project City Love fundraising campaign which aims to raise funds to send volunteers to help build homes in villages around the world. A portion of all proceeds from Ave Mariabell Designs has always funded the #ProjectCityLove campaign. However, because the business is only growing, often those proceeds are limited and need to be invested into the development of product and services. This has made raising funds difficult, which is why I made the decision to launch #ProjectCityLove on the GoFundMe platform, and I am so excited to see it’s growth in the year ahead!

  1. Winning the Nook Start Competition
One of the biggest milestones I achieved for my art venture this year was winning the Nook Start 2017 competition. @NookStart is an exciting 10 week, online, entrepreneurial competition to help aspiring artists to sell their products beyond an arts and craft market. 4 winners of the Nook Start competition won free retail space for a whole year! I am so proud to be one of four very lucky candidates who against a total of 30 applicants, came out on top! In September 2017 I set up my space at the Design Nook location, and I am so grateful to have the opportunity to continue to grow my business with the wonderful Nooks team in the year ahead.



Stay tuned with the @AveMariabell.Designs blog and social media pages on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest - I predict a big year ahead!



Ave Abellanosa

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Date: 21/12/2017 6:11 PM EST

With Christmas fast approaching, we often get caught into the heavily commercialized, hyper-consumerist culture that we live in. This year, I have resisted and bought only a total of 2 gifts. Both items was even bought at an amazing discount from a friend who runs a local business! This year, rather than spend a ridiculous amount on gift-giving, I’ve decided to refocus on the true reason of the season. I think that the following holiday to-do list by @JennaKutcher, a podcast host for @goaldiggerpodcast really sums it up.  


Jenna suggests, “let's go through this holiday season with a bigger purpose, a larger mission.” For me, that purpose and bigger mission is to become an internationally recognized artist so that I can spread the message that my art holds. I believe it is my purpose in life to share my ideas about the importance of travel, and how it can contribute to the evolution of our souls. Sounds kind of heavy? Maybe it’s all fluff to you? Ah well, screw it, I’m going to do it anyway!

Large missions always require small baby steps. I start small by sharing my art with friends and family. Small little gestures that encourage the idea of travel through a simple memento item that reminds friends and family that travel is important.

A Paris skyline for my niece’s new laptop, who has just started high school.


A New York wall decal for my parents who have travelled to the US, and dream of going back again.

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I also share my work with social media influencers at little or no cost. Allowing them to select a skyline of their choice so that they can also inspire their followers to one day travel to the city of their dreams, or to simply allow them to share their love for the city that they live in.

Below are some photographs of my art by various bloggers and content creators who I have collaborated with over the past year. As part of the spirit of the season, I want to show some gratitude for these influencers who have been great advocates for my work.  

@mylittlesecrets_ca - Natalie is a Toronto lifestyle blogger, and her HOW-TO blogs are perfect for the DIY obsessed! She has kindly included my skyline coasters in her most recent blog. 2112-2017-0936349526208660571

@tiffanyc_ - Tiffany is a Toronto vlogger and aspiring stylist who has a wardrobe to die for! My hand-printed Toronto and Paris skylines fits perfectly with her chic home decor.18888848_288549921607078_8652558432106184704_n (1)

 @lichen_ - Elsie is a marketing strategist for small businesses - she is fuelled by good company and positive vibes! I created this Singapore skyline for her laptop so Elsie can be reminded of her home. 24838723_1467535410012269_158483623207501824_n

@thecityismineto - My skyline coasters have found the perfect home with Mili, a blogger whose content is inspired by delicious food that can be found in this wonderful city called Toronto. IMG_2464

@tiny.grayfox - Roxy is a blogger based in Los Angeles, creating beautiful flat-lay imagery. Roxy and I share a common love for art that has varying shades of gray, white and black.18381876_1103360879763411_6747995286804627456_n

@ciarasalloum - Ciara is a Toronto blogger whose content continuously creates a fun space where people can come for inspiration - particularly if you are looking for the use of the colour pink! 2121 - Paniz is a Toronto blogger - her love for coffee and food creates drool-worthy, brunch inspiration that can be found in all corners of the city!18879109_1931801863743137_7289872412684845056_n

Don't get too sucked into the heavily commercialized, hyper-consumerist culture that is driven by an overwhelming and almost suffocating image of Christmas. Take a moment to re-focus on what the holiday season should really hold. Let's find new ways to give beyond just wrapped gifts.

Share an idea.

Share your art.

Choose gratitude, instead of gifts.

Choose creativity, instead of over-consumption.

Until next time.. Happy Holidays!




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Date: 13/11/2017 4:40 PM EST


I have been fortunate to meet many talented artists and designers in Toronto. In this blog, I'd like to share a few artists in particular. Together we made the first ever #LoveTorontoandFriends pop-up Art Show; a market place showcasing ALL-TORONTO merchandise. MADE by Torontonians, FOR Torontonians! Next month on December 3rd, we are back for a Winter Fair event, where we hope to provide some of the best gift ideas for this holiday season! Below is a short bio on each of these artists, as well as a sneak peak of the guest vendors.

Featured Vendors:

  1. Love Toronto
  2. Tyleen's Art
  3. Studio 324
  4. NA Stock Company
  5. Ave Mariabell Designs
Guest Vendors:  


Love Toronto

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Meet the Artist 2.jpg


Studio 324


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Guest Vendors:

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So there you have it! From your staple wardrobe pieces to unique chalk carvings, the #LoveTorontoandFriends pop-up Art Show has it all! Definitely a must-go-to event, if you want to find a unique Toronto item for that special someone this holiday season!

Stay tuned for more updates on the latest creations by these artists and designers!




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Date: 6/11/2017 8:30 PM EST

2017-10-31 Coaster Flat 3

In case you haven't already heard; Ave Mariabell Designs is fundraising for a volunteer trip to help build homes in villages around the globe!!

We are an online retailer, and an advocate for life-changing travel and volunteering abroad. When you purchase a skyline memento from Ave Mariabell Designs, a portion of all proceeds go to our #ProjectCityLove campaign. However, because we are only a small business, often those proceeds are limited and need to be invested into the development of our product and services. This has made raising funds difficult, and so far have only raised enough funds for ONE volunteer to travel to Costa Rica in April 2018.

Please help us raise funds for MORE volunteers from the Toronto art community, to join our mission, and help improve the built environment of communities in Costa Rica.  Villages are often the closest form to a “City” for developing communities, and have limited access to metropolitan environments that we are privileged to live in. We aim to make this an annual initiative and help a new village every year.

You can help by making a donation directly to this volunteer trip for April 2018; OR visit our online shop: Not only will you contribute to a great cause, but you can also take a piece of the city you love home with you.

Below are some images of the latest and greatest products now available at Ave Mariabell Designs. For every product purchased, 10 to 25% of proceeds go to volunteer abroad programs.  (Click images below to access the product listings at our online store.)


Check out our new coasters! Your favourite cities etched onto birch wood coasters! Cut by machine, sanded and finished by hand.

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We are always coming up with new city skyline designs. Check our latest Sydney skyline! (Custom designs also available - send an email to, to request a specific city.)


Our Toronto skyline prints are hand-printed with love. Check out this hand-print mounted on a wooden frame!

If none of these designs interest you, don't worry! You can still make a difference and donate directly to this link: In case you would like to know EXACTLY where these funds are going to, see the break down of costs below:

Build Abroad Program to Costa Rica:

1 Week Program for 2 Volunteers = $1370 USD = Approximately $1,800 CAD

2 x Return flights from Toronto to Costa Rica = Approximately $1,200 CAD

Make sure to follow our adventure on:




Ave Abellanosa





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Date: 26/10/2017 10:42 PM EDT

Dealing with FOMO and the subtle art of not giving a f*ck.

I make it no secret. I dream that one day I'll be an internationally recognized artist. Although I have no idea of how I will get there, I know that I am on my way.


Just wing it. Life. Eyeliner. Everything. PC @zjzade

**I aspire to be someone that someone aspires to be. (Kenzie D)**

You are probably wondering where I get all this certainty from a whole lot of uncertainty?  I believe that all experiences: good and bad, creates an opportunity for self improvement. As long as I am a better person than I was yesterday, the destination I am going to, has to inevitably, be a good one.


Sometimes we get so caught up in the everyday hustle, that we forget to stop. Take a moment. And appreciate the little victories; ones we may not even acknowledge as a victory, at that given moment. We live in a culture where if you're not busy, and constantly on the hustle, then you are not striving for success.

Although I also find myself caught up in the cultural epidemic that "crazy busy," is good, now and again I find my inner yogi and take deep breath. I let go of my ever-growing to-do-list, and just count my blessings.



Breathe. Keep it simple. PC @zjzade


I have found that, the less worried I am about what is next on my long list of hustle items, the more things just go my way. I believe it is because I purge anything on my list that feels like, "I should do this," and I prioritize anything that I just really want to do. Let go of everything you don't. No, that doesn't mean I just binge watch a season of The Walking Dead, instead of getting to work. (Because I really, really do just want to do that some days!!!)  It means that I prioritize anything I am passionate about, anything that makes me excited to see in existence. Things like an artwork idea I've had for months, or organizing a pop-up market with other local artists. These are the things that make me excited about my day, things that I don't need a to-do list for, because I know that I would do them anyway.

Brene Brown says it best when she describes that sometimes, our choices are based on "the fear of missing out."


This is ultimately a subtle message to all my fellow creatives and entrepreneurs to start the subtle art of not giving a f*ck. Stop being busy for the sake of being busy. Don't get caught up in the daily grind and forget what you are working towards. Unless something is bringing you one step closer to a life you've always imagined... then don't do it.

I say BURN your to-do list. Start a fresh page.








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Date: 4/8/2017 3:23 PM EDT

Have you heard of the butterfly effect? The butterfly effect is the concept that small causes can have large effects. This blog illustrates why my interest in Japanese architecture has eventually amounted into the aesthetics within my art, Ave Mariabell Designs. 

Japanese Influence.jpg

As an architectural graduate, I have come to appreciate well designed spaces, in particular minimalist interior design with both Scandinavian and Japanese influence. When I was a student, I was very interested in Japanese-influenced designs, studying architects such as Shigeru Ban, Tadao Ando, as well as traditional Japanese architecture. If there has been one element in traditional Japanese architecture that I appreciate the most, it is the Japanese shoji screen. I love the consistent, linear lines of the shoji screen, paired with natural materials of wood and paper. In fact, it was the Japanese shoji screen that was one of the first items that I bought when I first moved to Toronto.


The den in a small apartment in downtown Toronto, become by first "bedroom," when I moved to Canada. My girlfriends and I used a shoji screen to divide my space from the living room. Although a quiet shonky solution, it allowed cheap, shared living for three travellers on a budget. The shoji screen became an elegant feature of the apartment. When I finally moved into housing where I had an actual room, the screen remained as a feature in my home decor. I had the shoji screen in my mind, as I started to map out the beginnings of my Toronto Skyline design on my bedroom wall.


The shoji screen and my design draw two main similarities, which have ultimately translated into many of my product creations. These similarities are:

  1. Linear, bold, geometric lines.
  2. The use of natural materials and textures.
For example, on my hand-printed art, I use textured paper which contrasts against the black geometry of my skylines designs.

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You can also see the use of linear geometry and natural materials in my laser-cut skylines mounted on wood canvases.

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Finally, many of the wall decals I create are often mounted on a clean, bright, white wall. The contrast of black lines against sheer white, is definitely reminiscent of a traditional Japanese shoji screen.


My interest in Japanese design as a student became the ultimate influence on the design of my Toronto Skyline graphic. Japanese architecture will  continue to impact my designs, and eventually it will amount to an art empire!

I believe Japanese design has been the, "butterfly effect," on my entrepreneurial life. What aspects of your life, do you believe have a "butterfly effect?" Would love to hear about it!







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Date: 15/7/2017 6:18 PM EDT

The truth is, I have no idea what I am doing.

I'm making this all up as I go; life, art, love, and even my daily routine is fragments of what I think 'adulting' should look like. But honestly what is the fun in life without some unpredictability?  How boring would life be if you are sure of the outcome?


As I venture into my second year as an artist and entrepreneur, I feel compelled to share my experience. Rather than brood over whether I'm doing life right, I focus on the good stuff. Like finding that although I have earned less as an artist, I am happier than when I was earning more as an architectural graduate. The pursuit of a creative life can often be filled with uncertainty, and I've learned to love it. Life after all, is so much more fun with that element of surprise.


Although I am perhaps a lot happier, the entrepreneurial lifestyle does not come without some sacrifice. When you are an entrepreneur, often you want to make a dollar stretch a mile. Heck, you want that dollar to run around the block a few times!  Currently I am building awareness for #ProjectCityLove and investing some of my own finances into this fundraising campaign. To do this, I make small sacrifices that help me to save and invest when I need to.


Here are my top 5 troubles and top 5 triumphs that I have experienced being an artist.

Top 5 Troubles

  1. I wear second hand clothes. Instead of buying that hot, new, trendy dress of the season, I often borrow a dress from a friend or pull an old dress from the closet that has not seen the light of day for some time. C'mon girlbosses, I know you all have that one dress that could get worn more often!
  2. My room is furnished with abandoned furniture. Who needs to spend a fortune on new furniture when tones get abandoned every day? Just walk by any major condo on the first of the month (typical rental move-in time) and you will see a lot of unwanted furniture from previous tenants. Often in great condition too! One man's trash, is another's treasure!
  3. I don't have a problem with eating 2-minute noodles. Throw on some spring onions, tofu, and you have a semi-nutritious meal. If you have ever funded yourself through university, you'll know what I'm talking about!
  4. Shared accommodation is not ideal but it is cheap. I live with 4 other people. Hygiene is questionable. Savings is certain. Judge me for my shabby Annex apartment all you want, but tomorrow I'll be able to afford a two story high industrial luxury loft!
  5. I miss my family every day. The ultimate sacrifice has been living on the other side of the world that has a 14-hour time difference and a minimum 24 hour travel from my family in Brisbane city, Australia. This fact alone, makes me more motivated to succeed in my art, so that I can travel freely to and from Toronto to see them!
Top 5 Triumphs
  1. I am more comfortable taking risks. Putting my work out there for people to judge and scrutinize is no longer scary, but instead necessary. This is not to say that I have no fear at all. I am just more afraid of missing out on the life that I could live, should my art succeed in the way I dream.
  2. Your opinion of me no longer matters.If I am at peace with who I am, and I continue to create art I love, the opinion of the haters and the naysayers are not important. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is a great accomplishment."
  3. Creating something from nothing.What was once a personal art project on my bedroom wall, my designs are now the corner stone of my art and business. They are symbolic for my desire to share the journey of celebrating life-changing travel, and for my fundraising campaign #ProjectCityLove.
  4. Earning $1 in profit has been more rewarding than earning $100 in wages.Although profit is always small during the first few years of business, I have found this to be so much more rewarding than any dollar I ever earned sitting behind a desk between the hours 9 am to 5 pm. Why? Because the dollar earned in business was from my own innovation and creativity. The $100 earned behind the desk was merely for my time.
  5. Inspiring others. There is nothing more fulfilling then seeing that my story can potentially inspire others to get creative, and pursue art in their lives.
Ultimately despite the small sacrifices I have made in my journey as an artist, I know that I will still continue to pursue what I love. And this is priceless.




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Date: 17/6/2017 6:44 PM EDT

Life is messy. Unpredictable. Beautiful.  And sometimes our best work can be produced in times of struggle. No matter what life brings to the table, you should always make good art. I often seek solace in the wise words of poets, artists & entrepreneurs who get their butt kicked everyday putting their work out into the world. Naked. Proud. Baring all. Neil Gaiman says it best in a 2012 commencement speech to graduates when he says;

“Life is sometimes hard. Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do. Make good art.”

"The moment that you feel that just possibly you are walking down the street naked... that's the moment you may be starting to get it right."

- Neil Gaiman

A lot of my art has been self taught. Constant & often tedious, trial & error. Sweat, blood & tears. It is these works that are the ones I have been most excited about, & I've never regretted the long hours (or sometimes days) that I have spend on them. Below is a peek into some of these art works & how I put them together.

1) Hand-printed Toronto Skyline. Using block printing ink pressed onto textured craft paper, from a laser-cut rubber stamp.

2) Laser-cut wooden Toronto Skyline. Cut by machine. Sanded, stained & finished by hand.

3) Laser-cut wooden Vancouver Skyline. Cut by machine. Sanded, stained & finished by hand.

My series of skyline designs are minimalist. This has made them very transferable into different home decor and gift items. I have a number of art ideas still brewing in my head & are yet to be tested. However, before I can put it out there to the world, it's time to get back to work! In the mean time, I hope that you are also making good art.



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