Nostalgia & nature

Profile of fourth-year fine art student Brian Hoad

Brian Hoad with his prints in Ontario Hall.
Brian Hoad with his prints in Ontario Hall.

For fourth-year fine art student Brian Hoad, art is a way for him to reflect on his days growing up in rural Ontario.

Hailing from the small town of Port Hope, Hoad spent much of his childhood immersed in nature and many of his summers at camp inspire his work.

“Recreationally, I spend a lot of time doing more outdoor based activities. Instead of playing sports during the summer, I would go to camp and do a lot of activities like canoeing and stuff like that, and I think that’s influenced my work quite a bit,” Hoad said.

“A lot of my work is about venturing out and exploring.”

In the final year of his fine art undergrad, Hoad has been working solely with printmaking. Although he is passionate about painting, he wanted to take the opportunity to focus on perfecting his print technique.

“When you’re dealing with printing presses and all of the extra supplies that are needed for print, I thought maybe this is the year I’ll try to really take advantage of that,” Hoad said. “I’ve done some big prints this year and that’s something I’d never gotten to do before.”

Hanging in his Ontario Hall studio, the sheer size of Hoad’s print work draws the eye immediately. With themes of nature clearly evident, a massive woodcut print of a man on canoe portage stands over eight feet tall.

“This year the print students got to arrange a trip to North Adams, Massachusetts, and we had to go there for our work because the prints are so large and there’s nowhere to print them anywhere else,” Hoad said.

“It was a really cool trip and it was sort of like what going to art camp as an adult be like.” According to Hoad, the trip was an amazing learning experience and one of the highlights of the program for him.

Coming from a creative family, choosing to apply to the fine art program was a natural step for Hoad. Being spoon fed art from a young age, he received full support from his parents in his decision to study fine art.

“My dad is a classically trained guitar player and my mom is a high school teacher, and her dad was a landscape painter, so I always grew up in this art environment, and it always just seemed like that was what I was going to do,” he said.

Hoad hesitated to choose a favourite aspect of his program.

From first-year, where the entire class works together, to fourth-year, where everyone branches off independently to carve their own paths as artists, Hoad said each year has been a totally different experience for him.

“I miss the group work from the beginning years — that was one of my favourite parts of the program because it was so fun,” Hoad said.

“Everything’s been so great, it’s hard to choose the best part of the program.”

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