Painting outside the lines

From studying science to building a business as a thriving artist

If you have visited Cafe Pyrus Outpost in Kitchener or worked out at Husl + Flow in Uptown Waterloo you have seen the murals of Trisha Abe (BSc ’18). Heavily influenced by female portraiture, Abe’s signature continuous-line illustration style with splashes of bold colour, can also be found at Shopify, Inkbox Toronto and in Communitech office spaces.

A career as a full-time artist is much different than the career path her science degree was steering her toward. During her health sciences studies, she found inspiration from a variety of places. Among the most interesting was the time spent playing on Waterloo’s varsity tennis team.

Abe says Warrior tennis coach Pat Craton was an important mentor who taught her many lessons, skill-building techniques and the importance of discipline and habit, as well as the mental strength and strategy required not only for the game of tennis but for life in general.Trisha Abe

“Pat was honest and quick to provide constructive criticism, but also extremely supportive and gave praise when it was needed,” Abe says. “She always knew what to say in the moment.”

“Whether it was tennis, my thesis or research, they all taught me the discipline, scheduling, resilience and people skills needed to be successful as an artist.”

Nearing graduation, Abe was at a crossroads. She could pursue graduate studies, which seemed to be the logical path, or pursue her passion: a career as an artist. Abe had not touched her art supplies during her studies but recalls a pivotal time in December 2017 that helped guide her decision. 

“I spent all of that month painting and by January, I knew that this was what I loved and wanted to do.

“I remember telling my parents about not pursuing my master’s degree and it was difficult. They had the response you would expect any parent to have, but their concern came from a place of love,” Abe says. “It was when I landed my first corporate work at Him & Her that my parents were more understanding of my pursuit into art full-time, and they were even excited for me.”

Ever since that moment, Abe has been painting a picture of her future as a full-time artist, one brush stroke at a time. 

Future-Ready Talent Framework


Trisha Abe says her relationship with Warriors tennis coach Pat Craton was an important one: "Pat was honest and quick to provide constructive criticism, but also extremely supportive and gave praise when it was needed. She always knew what to say in the moment."


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