Myles Johnston is a Canadian Artist living in Montreal and owner of the the gallery “Montreal Art Exhibited”. He will be showcasing Artworks of the nine Candadian artists he represents at Verse, the art exhibition we already talked about which will take place on April 19th.
We’re so happy that Myles Johnston accepted our interview about his artistic universe and his art gallery.
Myle Johnston Interview:
“Follow your dreams no matter what, pushing any fears aside. “
Myles Johnston, could you please tell us a bit about yourself and your universe?
I’m an artist from Montreal that loves all forms of art but my true love is realism. I’ve been dedicating myself to realism for 8 years now. I have many passions that I find help me creatively in so many different ways. I’m also a nutritionist by profession, but I’m currently working at becoming a full time artist and gallery owner. I paint a variety of subject matter, from portraits and figures, to still life paintings.
My paintings usually have a narrative and deeper meaning. Although I don’t feel that every painting needs to have a significant meaning, I find that paintings that do usually have a greater emotional effect that reflects the connection the artist had with the subject. What I love about realism is that it frees the artist to paint their exact intention and evoke emotion at a level I believe no other art form can do. Of course with any kind of freedom comes hard work, but this is also what makes realism so impressive and special.
Were you always interested in art growing up? How did you come to art?
My mother is an amazing pastel artist and introduced me to art as a kid. She was my first art teacher and inspiration. I remember going to art exhibitions she was in and being fascinated at how people were able to draw and paint things realistically, and the ability to capture emotion.
Do you have or have had a mentor or other special person to guide you?
I never went to an art school or atelier but I took many workshops with various artists in Canada and the United States. It can be hard to afford to go to these expensive schools so this was the next best option. I actually created Montreal Art Exhibited in part to host workshops from master contemporary artists from around the world. This way, Montrealers and anyone within driving distance could benefit from having access to master artist workshops without having to leave Montreal.
What’s your preferred medium?
I paint in oil and pastel and love both mediums equally. Both mediums offer different properties and finishes that give a different effect. When I get an idea for a painting, and I envision it in my head, I’ll know what medium I feel will allow me to best capture what I am trying to paint – it just sort of comes to me naturally. Pastel is a really cool and unique medium because it is pure pigment and the colours will never fade over time. Each pastel pigment crystal captures light individually and reflects this light so brilliantly.
You’re not only an artist but an Art Gallery manager. How did you come to create Montreal Art Exhibited?
Montreal Art Exhibited is a website I started that features some of Montreal’s best up and coming contemporary realist painters. The goal was to eventually have a physical gallery space and studio where we could host master artist workshops from artists around the world. We were recently very lucky to have the opportunity to open a gallery in a commercial space that was lent to me by an art collector. Gallery MAE, is located at 3495 rue Hochelaga and is opened by appointment. It is the first gallery in Montreal that is dedicated entirely to contemporary realism.
How many artists do you showcase? What’s their particularity?
There are currently 9 artists represented at the gallery. All working in various mediums and all dedicated to realist figurative painting. What is really beautiful is that everyone is so unique and offers different distinct styles and subject matter. When you walk into the gallery you really feel the love, hard work and dedication that went into the paintings. The gallery is bright and has a warm and welcoming feeling which was really important to us when we set it up. We want people to feel welcome and comfortable when they enter the gallery so they can really connect with the paintings. We even have a hot pink wall which we call the Candy wall that really sets the tone for a unique gallery experience as soon as you walk inside.
How will you participate in “Verse” organized by RAW:Montreal on April 19th?
I will be bringing 1-2 paintings of every artist that is part of Montreal Art Exhibited. We will be available to answer any questions or simply talk art which we all love to do. We have small prints of some of the paintings that will be hung at Verse and also some that are at the gallery. Our goal is to promote contemporary realism and showcase some of Montreal’s best emerging talent.
What are you currently working on? What is your dream project?
I’m currently working on a large life size figure portrait painting of a young homeless girl. She braids yarn into her hair almost like dreads of all colours and it’s incredibly beautiful and unique. I became friends with her and asked her if I could take photos of her for a painting and she happily accepted. While doing a practise sketch, in the early stage of the drawing, something really interesting happened. As I was building up the form of her facial features, I got a glimpse of what she probably looked like before street life put it’s mark on her. It was a very moving experience and I felt like I had now seen her in better times. My goal in this painting is to honour her life and struggles, while maintaining dignity and hope. I think everyone wishes they could save the world sometimes, I wish I could save her life but I can’t. These people are literally forgotten – disregarded by society. By painting her I hope to capture her soul and express it the most beautifully I can so that in some way she is never forgotten.
My dream project is to have Montreal Art Exhibited become a recognized gallery in Montreal that promotes contemporary realist painting and provides the public with easy access to art instruction through master artist workshops from around the world.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
I don’t know that I’ve been really given any one best piece of advice but here is what I’ve realized lately. Decide what you really want to do in life, what is your ultimate passion and purpose and follow your dreams no matter what, pushing any fears aside. Cliché? Nope. People need to hear this over and over again.
Everyday. So that they never give up on their dreams and themselves. The best part about this advice coming from me is that people can’t say “that’s easy for you to say you are accomplished” – my answer to that is, “Not yet…”.
I’m so glad I got to see this article on Myles for we have known eachother since he was a young boy and my stepson’s best friend. Myles is a very special person, not only a very talented artist. We know he will do great things.