The McMaster Museum of Art

    Media File
    KASSIAN, Olena Elizabeth
    Date: Canadian, b. Germany, 1947
    I was born outside of Munich, Germany, of Ukrainian parentage, in 1947, and arrived at Pier 21 in Halifax in 1954, with my parents and a bundle of goods stuffed into a tin washtub and a small suitcase. And my teddy bear.

    My studies included Drawing & Painting at the Ontario College of Art, and Fine Art & Philosophy at the University of Guelph.

    My work as an illustrator encompassed the worlds of animation, publishing and advertising - Loblaws is one of my art galleries, with labels for Del Monte, President’s Choice, McCain and many others on the shelves. I have painted highly realistic billboards located in Hong Kong Harbour and on the walls of tall buildings in Toronto. I have published 17 children’s books, and my own book about a dog, “Nicholas, you are ridiculous!” I retired from illustration in 2009.

    My art practice has evolved from large drawings made with powdered graphite on mylar, through shadowboxes and abstract explorations using lexan, metal, and found objects, to the current sculptures composed of repurposed materials, in collaboration with my associate, Ann Bartok, under our name, BARKAS.

    I have two grown children, and live in the High Park area of Toronto with my partner, Peter Higginson.

    Source: Olena Kassian