“It’s magical to watch.” When Vancouver artist Yared Nigussu “live-paints,” swirling colour across his massive canvas while an audience looks on, there’s a sense of being part of a mystical experience that is also both lively and magical.
That’s the feedback from those who’ve seen him, including Darci LaRocque, who has become a friend of the up-and-comer and convinced him to grace the BACI Ball fundraiser Nov. 16.
“I really believe he’s going to skyrocket,” says Darci, who is a new member of the Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion’s (BACI) supporting foundation, Sharing Our Future.
She notes it’s not just watching Yared paint that captivates, but experiencing who he is as a person.
“He just exudes this happiness and love of art and love of what he does,” she says.
“If you meet him in person, you know what I mean; he’s got this great smile, he’s always happy, loves what he does, never has a bad thing to say about anything. He’s just a lovely person.”
Darci has also been impressed by Yared’s business savvy and openness to experimenting with different approaches.
His current commitment is all the more awe-inspiring, if one knows his past, she adds. Yared shares stories, many hilariously funny and some sad, of growing up Ethiopia.
The BACI Blast caught up with Yared to talk briefly about some of that past, what compels him to join the BACI Ball and what people who watch him paint might find themselves experiencing. Here’s a hint: smiles, laughter and possibly some new inspiration to get out your own paint and brush.
BACI Blast: We understand you have quite the life story. What would you say from your past has prepared you to do the art you do today?
Yared: I always saw beauty all around me as a child, in the colourful patterns of the clothes, in the forms and texture of the walls and buildings, and even in the dirt on the ground.
Like most children, when I was presented with a pencil and paper I wanted to draw.
I had no concept of whether I was good or not, but I knew I liked to make images.
It was only later that others would say that what I was doing was good, and slowly I began to realize that I had a talent.
Curiosity and wonderment are probably my most important assets as an artist.
BACI Blast: How would you characterize where you are at in your life today? Is this the fulfillment of a dream, a good step forward or something else entirely?
Yared: It is the continuation of a long journey. I could not have imagined that I would be where I am today; but I know I want to continue the journey and see where it will lead me next.
BACI Blast: What’s the commitment you hold that brings you to be involved in the BACI Ball?
Yared: Something I can’t even explain to myself.
There is a pain and there is a joy in my heart which revolves around my childhood.
BACI Blast: What is your hope for this event in particular? What would be the best that could happen?
Yared:Lots of smiles and laughter and perhaps even inspiring someone to pick up a pencil or crayon and express themselves without being afraid of being judged.
BACI Blast: What will you be doing at the event? What can people look forward to?
Yared: I will do a live performance.
I will begin with a blank canvas and paint a portrait.
It might not necessarily be the face of someone present, but we will see.
I see portraits all around me every day: on the streets, in the buses, in the shops.
I paint portraits in the hope of understanding and capturing a glimpse of the human soul behind the face.
It’s the eyes that inspire me, and the stories they tell.
Visit Yared’s site to get more inspired.
Feel free to comment on this story below, or e-mail the writer, Michelle Strutzenberger, at michelle(at)axiomnews.ca.