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Teresa Young is a Indigenous artist of mixed Cree and Norwegian ancestry who was born on the west coast of Canada and is currently living in Nova Scotia. A child prodigy, she was drawing complex faces before her seventh birthday.
Part of a large family with five older brothers, her father was a fisherman on British Columbia's west coast. When Teresa was in her middle school years the whole family picked up and moved to the Northwest Territories.
Her father was one of the ferry captains on the main crossing for the highway as it crossed the Mackenzie River and continued on up to Yellowknife, NWT.
In this interesting cultural atmosphere, she wore mukluks in the winter and in the summer, at high equinox, the sun touched the horizon but never went down! Canada's northern territories are actually on the same latitude as the country of Russia, needless to say, the winters were very, very cold!
It was an enriching experience which gave her a unique perspective on Canada from a young age. Teresa was exposed to Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings in a book club in Yellowknife public school. It caught her imagination and started her on a lifetime of avid reading. She was greatly influenced by the dramatic battles between right and wrong in many fantasy books, and her artwork started to grow in the direction of surrealistic fantasy.
As an early bloomer, Teresa started painting in oils at the age of eight and when she was on a holiday in Vancouver at thirteen, she spent the summer sitting with the portrait artists in Stanley Park in the heart of Vancouver, pestering them for portrait lessons. She even sold some portraits herself! Her Mom thought it was a great way to get her out of her hair for the summer!
Putting those early tips to work, she sold pastel and charcoal portraits from the age of fourteen on Vancouver Island, BC. For a short while in her teens, she used the profits from those portrait sales to fund private art lessons with two professional artists in the Courtenay, BC area. Teresa's mature style integrates the approaches of both artists in different ways.
Since one teacher painted in a style reminiscent of Tommy Thompson, Teresa was influenced by that early training and often uses vivid complementary color combinations in her artwork.
She found these color schemes combined with intricate details in her abstractions provided a greater depth to the compositions that added to the emotional impact.
The 2nd of her teachers was professionally trained in Germany as a portraitist and taught Teresa extensively in drawing & painting figuratively.
In her early twenties, when her audience kept pointing out that her art had a native flair to it, she decided to do some family research into her ancestry.
Incredibly, Teresa found out that her maternal grandfather was half Cree and was born and lived in the heart of the Red River Valley in Manitoba, Canada. Wow! Who knew artistic style could be genetic?
Not culturally conditioned to it, Teresa found it surprising her artistic style had a aboriginal bent, as she wasn't raised in a Metis or aboriginal culture. Maybe blood is thicker than water after all!
She is continuing to research her Indigenous history and ancestry to determine whether her roots are of a Cree heritage or actual Metis cultural heritage.
Other artistic influences include H.R. Giger, Salvador Dali, Georgia O'Keefe, Emily Carr and Gervaso Gallardo. Teresa has participated in numerous exhibitions in Canada, the U.K., the U.S,, Germany, and Italy.
She's created two album covers for rock groups in Sweden and the US and covers for a few books and magazines. In 2014, her art was used in a book called the 'Rigged Universe' by Canadian poet Anthony Labriola published by Shanti Arts.
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