Artist of the month – Steph Whalen

By Jiun Liao

Steph was that kid who wanted nothing but to be an artist when she grew up, but quit making art just after completing high school. “I grew up believing that artists were starving and depressed. Somebody fed me that terrible lie, and I believed it.”

In 2015 Steph gave herself permission to start making art again, and jumped in with both feet. She opened a studio, started offering art lessons to children and adults and quickly became active in the community partnering with Lakehead University, The Orillia Public Library & The City of Orillia to offer social art experiences that were accessible to everyone.

“The experience of being an art instructor has been instrumental in my own practice and self discovery as I’ve forced myself to break down each and every stage of my personal art making. As a person who works primarily from instinct as opposed to learned methods, this has taught me to question my work, scrutinize my methods and work far outside of my usual areas of comfort. I have dabbled in abstracts, landscapes, florals and illustrations working with images from nature and stories from my imagination.”

Currently, Steph is wrapping up a collection of 12” x 12” paintings that will be available for purchase early December. “This is the first time I have made a collection available since my 2019 exhibition at The Orillia museum of Art and History and I’m really excited.”

To learn more about Steph and follow her ever evolving journey as an artist:
Instagram: @stephwhalenfineart
Facebook: @StephWhalenART