Since I was old enough to hold a pencil, I have created art. Since I was old enough to read and write, I have written stories. As I write this, I have no interest in stopping in either of my pursuits.
I was born and raised in Brampton, Ontario. after graduating from high school, I attended studies at the University of Toronto, obtaining both a Bachelor’s Degree in English and History, with a Minor in Sociology and shortly afterwards, a Masters Degree in Modern Military History and Anglo-American relations. From there, I worked with the Brampton Public Library as a Library Technician and then returned to the University of Toronto to complete a B.Ed and then become an employee of the Durham District School Board, where I worked for 29 years.
Arts Education- teaching and learning…
Once in the classroom, I shifted my teaching interests from English and History to Visual Arts and Media. To support this change in direction, I upgraded my skills through taking courses in Photography and Multimedia at Durham College, and in taking a computer course at the International Academy of Design in Toronto. A few years ago, I completed a program in Cartooning and Graphic Novel design at George Brown College and enjoy keeping up with my studies whenever time for travel and work allow me to do so. Coincidentally, I also taught art both privately, and in places like Curry’s Art, the Robert McLaughlin Gallery, and Comic Book Addiction and have been a guest artist at CBA’s Free Comics Day events for several years .
In 1997, I received a Civic Arts Achievement award from the City of Brampton, for work I had displayed across the country at places like the National Aviation Museum in Ottawa, the Durham District School Board offices, the Granite Club, the Brampton Public Library, and the offices at the City of Brampton. I acted as a photographer for a band called “Ghost Road”, won an honourable mention in an international postcard art show, and had work published in an alphabet book published by Visual Arts Brampton. My artwork, ranging from landscapes to historical aviation themes hangs in the homes of collectors in Canada and the United Kingdom. Currently, I am a member of Big Art Buzz, an online arts collective that has exhibited in various locations across the Greater Toronto Area.
In 1999, I created the Rocket Girls, later known as the Kaiten Angels, as part of a Millennium project hosted by Visual Arts Brampton. The first piece appeared in an alphabet book published by V.A.B., created from a drawing scanned in Photopaint and coloured using that software. Over the years that followed, more images were created, along with story outlines, a short story- never published- and several calendars given to friends and associates. The characters became more computer generated, with less drawing involved up until the release of the last calendar in 2007. After that, I began work on my current project, called SARGASSO. Three books will have been published in the series by Christmas 2010, with the fourth on the way soon after. The story and art are both created by me and the books may be purchased at www.blurb.com. you can also read separate postings on the book and view some of the art related to it by searching this website.
From George Brown to Zephyr Crow and MANNA
I finished work on the first story arc for SARGASSO at the time I began my studies in Cartooning, the Graphic Novel and related illustration or anatomical courses at George Brown College in Toronto. In the Graphic Novel course, we were asked to create a short story of several pages for the final assignment. I had already done some work on a new story involving a character named Zephyr Crow and set in an old movie studio back lot. I will show you more about that in separate postings. For the final project in the Graphic Novel course, I began to develop MANNA, which is a coming-of-age story set mostly in the Netherlands during the Second World War. At the time of writing, MANNA is, as I call it affectionately, my herd of elephants in the room. Years of research, acquiring models and materials for the story, writing the script and sampling different formats for the book have brought me to the point where I am eager to get on with the production of the piece and other stories that have developed around it. As with the other projects, I will include separate postings on MANNA and the other stories as materials become available. Now retired from my work at the DDSB, I will have plenty of time to develop all of these projects and more.
One thing I enjoyed a lot in the last few years was working on creating animated sequences for AVENUE Q with the Whitby Little Theatre. I got to design the animations, put them together, see how puppets were made and be part of a very special production. Please take the time to read my article on working on the show, included in the section on Design and Commercial Projects. I’d like to explore puppetry more in the future and perhaps use it as a way of telling my stories. I’d like to explore the different types of puppets and the ways in which they are made. Puppetry is practically as old as theatre itself, with a long and rich tradition. Some say it is a dying art. I wonder, though. Can it not perhaps re-imagine itself for the new century? Like thinking of the next project and where it will take me in the future, who knows?
Thanks for taking the time to read this article.
Christopher Seaman, 2020