ABOUT Me, Robin Thibodeau :)
Watch this fun four-ish minute video to find out just what I do, why I continue to do it and how I started! A VERY BIG thanks for her filming, editing and interviewing skills: Elisa Shigehiro! AND NOW she, with her team of three, is the WINNER of Best Picture of the Okotoks Film Festival's 48 Hour Film Challenge! WATCH HERE for "Yellow Crane" on YouTube!
I believe that art & creativity shapes our world
I believe that art education should be recognized as essential subject within the curriculum so that all children are given equal opportunity to express themselves creatively each and everyday. It has been proven that kids, teens and adults of all ages are happier people when they're given opportunities to express themselves in a nurturing atmosphere. Especially in today's lightning fast-paced world, young minds need a place to be creative, to be themselves while they express themselves at their own pace.
I am continuously inspired by the great Leonardo da Vinci. He was born one year after the Age of Renaissance and because his parents were not married, was not permitted too attend proper education. Despite this lack, and societal rules, he chose to follow his heart and utilized his curious nature to discover the world on his own terms.
Creatively problem-solving is the way through everything
My goal is for kids to enjoy the process of learning and I fully encourage individual expression. When it comes time for them leave the Studio , it is my hope that they are empowered by their accomplishments. As a child, perfection
is often believed to be the goal, however it is the enjoyment-process of creative learning that is the way of traveling. Adult brains assume the goal is only the outcome, but really it's only looking for fun!
Kids and their creativity are our future. So through my time with Serendipity Pre-Kindergarten, The Okotoks Community Programs and my Inspiration Studio I am grateful for the opportunities to teach children ages 6-108 and lucky to offer courses for creative adults ready and willing to jump in on the fun!
My debut as a local respected artist came in 1990: Grade 9, at 15 I was asked to draw a commemorative portrait of a classmate who had tragically lost her life. It was completed in graphite, framed and hung prominently in the Okotoks Junior High today. Shifting to my grade 12 year, I created a hallway mural depicting lockers slowly morphing into a road to symbolize the transition from school to the 'real world' which lead to my Art Award of Excellence from Foothills Composite High School.
Enrolled in Alberta College of Art & Design (now known as The University of the Arts) in the Drawing Program, gave me 4 intense years of high expectations, yet extremely inspiring professional arts education. In between semesters, I attended art markets, festivals and shows offering portraits and designing promotional material for local businesses
At the end of my program, I earned my Diploma in the Visual Arts: Honours with Distinction. I found employment as a graphic designer, muralist, portrait artist, cake decorator, gift shop associate and basically the go-to local artist. By 2001, I took a chance and offered three different courses to Okotoks Community Programs. Without knowing it then, I had actually embarked on my career as an art instructor! Those three little classes evolved into 19 years of teaching art classes, running fine art camps for a few years and of course, workshops for teens and adults at the Okotoks Art Gallery.
In 2006 I achieved my Art Framers & Design Certificate and one year later, opened my Inspiration Studio to private art students that had 'aged out' of my Community Programs. These kids were seeking more one-on-one instruction and more advanced techniques that could not be accommodated within the OAG. Many of these students are now successful young artists in the fields of: Glass Blowing, Drawing, Painting, Film and Animation.
2008 - 2010 I joined forces with Master Silversmith and art teacher of many talents, Shirley Paradis teaching Fine Art Camps at The Okotoks Art Gallery from 2008- 2010. 2011's Fine Art Camps were run by myself along with Special Guest artists as my complements.
2012, I began The Fantasy Fine Art Camps through my Inspiration Studio now eight years running. 2020's summer camps are likely to look a bit different with regard to the coronavirus pandemic still being managed. Camps can be Double-Day, Triple-Day and Five Day Camps running five hours daily.
The Studio has been host to Private and Public Christmas Parties, Show & Sales, The Cookie Contest, and The Food Bank Tree! Food items and gift cards, are collected and then given to the Okotoks Food Bank in time for their family hampers initiative.
But WHAT ABOUT MY WORK?
My original work consists of a wide variety of mediums, subject matters, mediums and musings so I had to separate them by medium and by theme! Browse my many galleries here. There is much to see, and I'm always adding more:) Before the coronavirus pandemic, I was consistently hanging original art inside a local coffee shop, but now most of my work is on display inside my home. I don't currently have an online shop due to the amount of maintenance it requires and quite honestly, I'd prefer to simply have a chat online or meet in person or through video conferencing where I can take you on a virtual tour of my work.
In late March 2019, I enrolled in full time 2 year Marketing Coordinator Diploma Program through The Academy of Learning Career College. Currently I am 28 courses in, with THREE more to go!
I have also teamed up with one Canadian-run, international online platform through Art in Canada for marketing to international collectors, both of which invited me to join their cause. With no commissions taken, I can keep my price points affordable. Original art is best viewed in person, so should you be interested in seeing a piece in person, or through Zoom you can set up a private viewing with me through my Studio. CONTACT me here to set it up! Below is a snapshot of what you will see in my Virtual Art Galleries!
As a major response to the Covid-19 lockdown and with respect to social distancing, I transformed projects that would have been what kids made in art camps. To see what kids have created so far, head to this link
Smaug - alcohol-based marker drawing by me:) According to the Chinese Zodiac I was born during the Fire Dragon year of 1976: They are gentle in manner, diligent in work, independent in life, and they have the enthusiasm and determination to do things well. They have outstanding working and management abilities and creative opinions, so they are born with leadership. If you want to see more of my dragon creations click the picture!
Celtic Astrological Artwork: Seeker_Falcon_Elder I LOVE to draw and paint with a variety of materials so I created a full series of the Celtic Lunar Astrology. To see more click the link.
This commissioned mural is still onsite in Okotoks on #106 Elma Street. It was painted on wood, with Benjamin Moore exterior latex paint... and I even worked there for quite some time!
Dueling Yearling Dragons The third in the series of small pointillism drawings, the Dueling Yearlings were another rewarding and meditative pieces. To see the preceding images click the picture!
As a volunteer for the Okotoks Arts Council, from 2003 - 2020, I evolved quickly into their marketing director, designer and event planner... to see more of what I created and coordinated for the OAC click the link
Title of Drawing Human Takes Flight Supremely inspired by the Great da Vinci, I integrated the maestro's wing design with drawing of a dancer I saw at a ballet.
Title of piece: Winter Manada Mandalas took hold of my creativity one fall when I was developing a HomeSchool program to coincide with STEM learning models. If you'd like to see more about what I teach, click the link
Recently changed to the University of the Arts, I attended the college's Drawing Major program and earned my Diploma with Distinction in the Visual Arts. To visit the institution, click the picture:)
Crown Chakra Handbuilt Pitcher I love playing with clay...it's therapeutic for me and once I figured out how to create vessels without a wheel, I couldn't stop making more and more of them. To see more... go to the link.
Title of piece: Derek Acorah (in soft pastels) Drawing portraits is truly my very first love. This portrait represents my favourite medium as well as my interest in psychic mediums. Unfortunately, he passed away January 2020 but you can still visit his Facebook page by clicking the link.
Strengths: Generous, idealistic, great sense of humor. Sagittarius likes: Freedom, travel, philosophy, being outdoors Curious and energetic, Sagittarius is one of the biggest travelers among all zodiac signs. Their open mind and philosophical view motivates them to wander the earth for truth and justice
My Volunteer Work began in 2003 with the Okotoks Arts Council
By 2003 I joined the Okotoks Arts Council holding a variety of positions to further the respect and recognition for the arts in Okotoks. Soon my skills as an artist and event planner were recognized and I became a major influence and contributor running arts and craft activities for The Okotoks Children Festival, and painting live on several OAC Floats for the Annual Okotoks Parade. Along with many other tried and true members, I brought in new people with skills I didn't have and slowly became their unofficial marketing and promotional designer as member of their new Arts Outreach Committee. I was involved in many other activities such as strategic planning, website re-design, social media management, marketing efforts, Volunteer Connector, managing their Showpass accounts, attending board development meetings as well as planning a few AGM's. I remained a faithful board member up until February 2020 at the OAC's AGM to allow some fresh ideas, members and to free up time to finish my marketing course.
October 2017 saw my debut and to my newly discovered skill as an Event Planner and Market Director.
Myself and a very small subcommittee of passionate fans of magic and mystery, the Okotoks Arts Council's "Wizarding World of Okotoks." I volunteered to run the Artisan's Market and my duties grew exponentially. With no real experience in this role, I found myself collecting, curating and coordinating a fairly large collection of vendors and artists. Our committee was fierce! So along with the committee, I also took on marketing the event on social media, designing registration forms, taking registration, booking the location and preparing customized signage. As the months, weeks and days crept along, it was time to place each vendor with a healthy amount of competition ... so I also made a Vendors Map for them to find their way. The event was an incredible success bringing 180,000 guests out to Okotoks to celebrate the magic created by J.K.Rowling and Okotoks saw an influx of income to the tune of $300,000.00!!!
The "Wizarding World Event" EXPANDS!
ENTER Enchanted Okotoks! Since our 38 vendors and 40+ participating businesses were really looking forward to a second 'wizarding event', I got to thinking about just how much I love Okotoks and the businesses and the grand people who run them along Elizabeth Street, McRae Street, North Railway Street and Elma Street and the idea struck me! Okotoks is truly ENCHANTING! I wrote out an entirely different event showcasing each type of business with ideas on how to show their uniqueness in a fantastical way. Upon our first committee of Wizards meeting, everyone was talking about how we could expand on the theme, including medieval knights, steampunk, faery realms, unicorns, mermaids, trolls, Irish dancing and so much more. I had stayed up all night up until about 2 or 3 am and was ready for our 9:00 a.m. meeting with copies in hand to share.
By May of 2018, it was presented to and accepted by OAC Board of Directors, Planning was underway that NIGHT! We had a unicorn, a mermaid pod, a giant spider, a faery kingdom, new members joined our committee, then we got a medieval encampment, entertainers, dancers, faerie scavenger hunts, brand new maps, a DnD Epic Quest Game, 40 + local business participation and of course, The Enchanted Okotoks Artisan Market complete with kids crafts and cauldrons! And I was even interviewed by the Okotoks Western Wheel and it continued on for another magical year:)
2019 was our third magical event and while it was a smidge different, our fan base had expanded and everyone was excited to come out one more time. That year, I managed to connect up four groups to initiate a youth market within our local Library. 20 youth vendors were amazing entrepreneurs and quite a few sold out!
Then, the snow came. It forced many events and vendors indoors or to close up early. Then the wind came... and more people were brought to my two artisan markets! All three years were great experiences in which I learned a vast amount of things, on a rollercoaster-like curve of intertwining curves! Enchanted Okotoks has been determined to evolve as an economic driver for Okotoks, so going forward it is my hope that the Economic Development Team and the Okotoks Arts Council team-up will bring even more celebration of creativity and magic back to the core of the amazing streets of downtown Okotoks! And of course, I'd love to be a part of it!