Born in Galt, Ontario, Sonia Wilkinson is an artist now living in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. With the use of acrylic paint and working through a design process, Wilkinson recreates the human face in unusual ways using distorted, textured and colourful lines and shapes. A facial expression emerges every time. A thought can almost be read on each quirky face. Wilkinson remembers dabbling in many different art forms at home, at public school and at a local art school, Dundas Valley School of Art. She later chose graphic design as a career and obtained a diploma from Sheridan College in 1995. Wilkinson went on to have a 22-year career as a graphic designer. In 2015, a passion for painting awakened and took her on a new adventure creating art that “Reflects the Quirks of Human Nature” full-time. With her art she hopes to encourage people to not just accept what might be strange (about themselves or others), but to celebrate it! Wilkinson’s list of influences is ever-growing: Pablo Picasso’s cubism and his use of colour, style and artistic playfulness; Henry Moore’s graceful lines; Andy Warhol’s passion for the unconventional; Thomas Fedro’s graffiti-style faces that are gritty and humorous; plus numerous other artists Wilkinson comes across on a daily basis who are working, creative warriors and business tycoons.
Artist Statement by Sonia Wilkinson
When this project came up to put art on 11 utility boxes along Lundy’s Lane, I thought what a great way to add art to our community and what an opportunity to make a positive impact. This project came from the Cultural Program for Niagara Falls which had me thinking immediately about the cultural aspect of this project.
One of my favourite things about Canada is the fact we celebrate a huge variety of cultures present here. People’s different beliefs, origins, actions, looks and styles remind me of colours. A single colour may be beautiful on its own, but when paired with other colours they influence each other in surprising and interesting ways. Side-by-side, a group of colours (or people) can become exciting or calm, silly or serious, happy or sad. Niagara Falls is a synergy of the different cultures of both visitors and locals. Together, our community has been able to celebrate those differences in a beautiful way.
While working on this series for the utility boxes, the colours became one of the most important aspects for me. I wanted to use vibrant colours, very much like our vibrant culture. Each box has either one or several faces. Each face is made up of different colours that represent the cultures that have influenced them; including the ones right beside them. Each box is a celebration of our differences.
To the fine people of Niagara Falls, both local residents and visitors, these are for you! I hope you enjoy them.
Niagara Falls Artist