Waterloo artist Eryn O’Neill (MFA ’18) finds beauty in letting the paint run.
Waterloo artist Eryn O’Neill (MFA ’18) finds beauty in letting the paint run.By Carlos Saavedra Office of Advancement
Eryn’s passion for art didn’t play out like it does in novels. “The fallacy with being an artist is that it just comes naturally, but as with any skill, creativity is a muscle that grows with practice, effort and commitment,” she says.
Beginning her artistic journey at age seven, Eryn studied at the Ottawa School of Art before moving to Nova Scotia where she completed her BFA at NSCAD University. In 2018, Eryn completed her MFA at Waterloo. It was during her culminating MFA exhibition, surrounded by family, faculty, friends and the public, that Eryn understood the scope of involvement others had in her development. “The support was beyond anything I could have imagined. I didn’t even realize I was building and nurturing important connections and networks which are vital as an artist and an alumnus.”
She also found support in the form of the Shantz International Research Scholarship: an endowment award started by Win Shantz, a prominent Waterloo supporter of the arts. With this funding, Eryn spent three months studying in Edinburgh, Scotland, under the mentorship of artist Oliver Reed.
As a runner, Eryn finds herself capturing the motion and emotion of the spaces she encounters on the street, taking photos and translating them to the canvas. "I use this as an opportunity to explore movement, change and adaptation in an urban landscape,” she says. Eryn’s paintings are riddled with drips of paint left to dry – emotive in their construction, yet beautiful in their inconsistency.
ERYN O'NEILL, Artist
The fallacy with being an artist is that it just comes naturally, but as with any skill, creativity is a muscle that grows with practice, effort and commitment.
She uses paint to relive and connect the viewer to a moment in time, and provide them with the rush of running as they navigate their way through streets in a constant state of disruption.
You can find Eryn’s art on loan in The Centre at the University of Waterloo.
Note from Eryn: "I want to express my gratitude to Debbie Knepper and Nancy Heide for their support, and their help installing the work."
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The University of Waterloo acknowledges that much of our work takes place on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. Our main campus is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land granted to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River. Our active work toward reconciliation takes place across our campuses through research, learning, teaching, and community building, and is centralized within our Office of Indigenous Relations.