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Language Spoken French, English
Shanna Steals grew up in the small towns of Prescott and Russell, notably Casselman, St-Albert and Limoges where she lives to this day with her husband and their two black cats. Ms Steals graduated Cum Laude from the visual arts program at the University of Ottawa in 2006 with honours in Fine Arts and a concentration in English Literature. During her undergraduate program, she specialized in black and white darkroom photography as well as mixed media sculpture, assemblage and installation. But she could never do just one thing, so she also explored drawing, painting and performance in order to express her conceptual ideas. Since then, Ms. Steals continues to work as an interdisciplinary artist by incorporating methods of traditional craft work, as materials and materiality are at the source of her creations. She has accomplished a few large-scale mural commissions, designed logos and designed and fabricated headdresses and masks for theatre and dance troupes. She exhibits her work regularly in local galleries as well as craft fairs with her DIY accessory business of retro and upcycled handmade items—Jaded Raven Creations. In 2010, Ms. Steals founded the Rebel Crafters, an Ottawa-based craftivist collective whose goal is to empower the community with creativity and shed light on important issues by making crafts that have a social/political implication. Since 2003, she has been teaching visual arts and jewelry making as well as various workshops to children and teens and acrylic painting to adults. She has worked as the exhibition space organizer, course coordinator and administrative assistant for la Maison des Arts and as a guest curator for Arbor Gallery. When the Conseil des arts Prescott Russell Arts Council was founded in 2014, she became the coordinator of the new organisation to which she brings her many experiences as an artist, artist educator, arts administrator and curator.
Art must reach out to the spectator by conveying ideas, raise questions, offer a personal perspective as well as be a reflection of our time. The starting point of my work lies in the challenging and meshing of dualities: body and spirit; intellectuality and insanity, the institution and the marginal; craft and conceptualism. I am fascinated with society’s moral schizophrenia and our personal denials. My philosophy about the artistic process and practice is as layered as the mediums with which I choose to express my ideas. The mediums I choose to make art are malleable and changeable in order to reveal new discoveries through the process of making. As much as art is about an idea, it is also about the experience of making to represent an idea. It is also about honing a skill and paying homage to a long tradition. The end is often a product of the process. The artist is a vehicle able to mark the path she has walked to expose it nakedly to the viewer as a mirror into her reality. My artistic practice and my personal philosophy are one in the same: it is about the process of making, the experience of discovery and the action of change.