Occupation: Artist, Gallery Owner, Sales Professional
I graduated Brentwood in 2005 and left one coast for the other. My parents taught me to work hard, to be kind, and to follow my passions. The first two were easy, but the latter was really hard, especially at 17. How was I supposed to know what school to go to, what city to live in, what to take – if I didn’t know what my dreams were? I felt like there was pressure to know what I wanted to do with my entire life – and that was terrifying. Some of my friends knew – engineering, music, medicine. I wished that I had something so solid to move towards.
So I started out at the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design, then switched to Dalhousie for International Development, then came back to my hometown, Edmonton, to finish off a degree in Political Science. This sounds like I didn’t know what I was doing – and that’s probably true. But I was following my passions, and taking the classes I thought were interesting. I was making a path, even if it looped over backwards. But I graduated in time with good grades and snuck in two semesters abroad to avoid Alberta winters, one in France and the other in Ghana.
I kept, and keep circling back to the themes in my life that hold the most weight – art, community, travel. In trying to mix them all together, I completed my Master’s in Media & International Development in England, then spent a summer in Bosnia and a year in Peru.
Currently I run The Ou Gallery, a contemporary art gallery that hosts monthly exhibitions, live music, workshops and artist residencies, while selling Intranet software from my home-based office.
There’s always more than one way to get somewhere, and the fact that it might include a long series of adventures, of heartbreak and of love, of messing up, of successes, of working hard, of being kind and sometimes being crappy, just means you’ll have more stories to tell one day. I’m still learning, and changing, and I think that’s how an interesting life should be.
I think it’s awesome that I get to come back to Brentwood and talk to you guys, maybe inspire you to travel, to volunteer, to take chances. Everyone’s idea of success is different, let’s explore.