Sonia Wilkinson with one of her artworks.

What inspires you?

There’s quite a number of things I’m inspired by; particularly human expressions, personalities and quirks, for sure. Style wise, it was definitely graffiti and cubism that got me wanting to paint in the first place, likely because of the experiences I had as a graphic designer. I just love playing with colour combinations, textures as well as lines and shapes. And when it comes to naming my pieces, often it’s phrases or descriptions like “Adulting” or “(Im)Perfect” that jump into my mind and inspire me to use. I often see myself in these paintings, and if it makes me laugh or something I relate to, that’s what I use.

Is there an element of art you enjoy working with most? Why?

If you’re forcing me to pick one, I would have to say texture. Maybe it’s the kid in me wanting to play with mud and clay. I use acrylic molding mediums, pencil shavings, and sand and it’s like I’m sculpting and roughing things up. I use my hands or trowel and just get messy!! And I think texture adds such an interesting element to the faces I create. It becomes part of the story the picture is telling.

How did you start making art?

Like many other artists, I was drawn to making art almost the second I came into the world. I also wanted to work with horses, though, and went to college for Stable Management right after graduating from high school. But I quickly discovered I loved the horses, but not so much the people I worked with. I then discovered graphic design, which lasted 22 years after graduating from Sheridan College. I really didn’t think of art, all those years – I was too busy working. But when I started looking at what else I could do that wasn’t in a corporate office, I stumbled across a video of someone doing some graffiti art, starting with crazy eyes, and I was hooked! That night I started sketching and went from there.

Sonia's studio.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

I used to think specific things like travelling, riding, creating art, and spending time with family and friends was my bliss. But what I’ve come to realise is that I am truly happy when I’m able to shut everything else going on (stresses and worries, projects I’m prepping for…) and be present in the moment, whatever the moment is. A moment could be my going to a beach with my son, Kyle, or going out for dinner with my husband, WITHOUT Kyle. A moment is when I go to spend time with my father, once a week, just to chat about anything. And a moment can be my taking care of a craving – like chocolate, or sitting on a deck with a glass of wine, or going for an adventure.

Do you have any artistic projects coming up?

Always! Right now I’m working on a painting that combines flowing water with the bold lines of my style of art. It’s for the “Water for Life” project that Antoine Gaber runs, and it’s a bit of a mind-bender, which I really enjoy. In July I’m starting to coach kids, which is really cool, and in August I’m in my first two art shows; one at the Pumphouse, in Niagara-on-the-Lake (August 3rd & 4th), and at Artfest, in the Distillery District of Toronto (August 30th to September 2nd). For the shows I’m getting ready to create a bunch of artwork, which will be a lot of fun, of course. And I hear there are projects the Niagara Falls Culture Committee is calling for, too. Lots going on!