Meet Our Artists in Residence
In Ontario, the Art of Creation Artist Residency Program is a program that aims to inspire artists by bringing them into the Sloboda Lab at McMaster University. These artists will be creating the artwork displayed in the Art of Creation Exhibition. We are proud to say that all of our artists are from Hamilton, Ontario (the home of The Art of Creation)!
Lester Coloma was born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario and has been professionally hand painting murals since 1996 for corporate clients including Caesar's Windsor, Whole Foods Market Inc, and Busch Gardens. As a graduate of the Ontario College of Art and Design Lester also spent a year studying with the school's off campus program in the Florence, Italy. Upon graduating, he worked for a Toronto based mural studio and advanced steadily to the position of Lead Artist. Over one hundred hand painted murals measuring 80 feet in length were produced during his tenure for clients such as O'Charleys Restaurants, Pepsi Cola and the Hard Rock Cafe. Lester has brought his unique painting knowledge, skill and experience back home to Hamilton and changed the face of his home town. His hand painted murals have earned him multiple local and international awards for excellence.
His upcoming projects include multi building complex murals, restaurant chains and not-for-profit organizations. Lester works and lives in Hamilton. Below is an image of Lester working on a mural!
Vanessa Crosbie Ramsay
Vanessa Crosbie Ramsay is a multidisciplinary artist and Arts-Educator who lives in Hamilton, ON. She attended York University (BFA Hons., Film & Video/English) and Sheridan College (Media Arts), graduating from the York-Sheridan Joint Degree Program in Film and Media Arts in 2001, and has recently completed an MA in Gender Studies and Feminist Research at McMaster University. She has exhibited her short films and visual art in Canada and the US. Vanessa’s art explores women’s identity, female experiences, and diverse representation. Highlighting issues related to intersectional feminism, social equality, and working to amplify marginalized voices are constant themes. As a professional artist, her practice is multi-disciplinary and includes film/video, storytelling, visual art, site-specific installation, sculpture, collage, and community engagement. Vanessa is an Artist-Educator with the Art Gallery of Hamilton’s program AGH In-Class, and previously worked for with The Royal Conservatory’s Learning Through the Arts program, and as Lead Artist in their Design Media Arts program, piloted in Hamilton in 2016. Vanessa is a member of HAVN (Hamilton Audio Visual Node), one of the co-founders of the feminist art collective DAV(e) and is the recipient of the City of Hamilton Arts Award in Media Arts (2018). Below is a piece that Vanessa is particularly proud of!
Julia Garlisi is a nationally and internationally acclaimed dance artist, performer and choreographer based in Hamilton, Ontario. She is a graduate of the School of Toronto Dance
Theatre Professional Training Program. She is an alumni company member and dance artist of Dancetheatre David Earle. Currently, Julia is an active member of Portal Dance where she has the opportunity to perform new and remounted choreographic works of Janet Johnson throughout Southern Ontario. Independently, Julia has had the pleasure of performing and working with Denise Duric, Newton Moraes, Suzette Sherman, Lacey Smith, Imageo Artworks,
Toronto Heritage Dance and The Niagara Dance Company. Choreographically, her work has
been commissioned for the Guelph Dance Festival, Stratford Spring Works Indie Theatre & Art Festival, Dancetheatre David Earle, The Suzuki String School, Dusk Dances Hamilton, Art Spin Hamilton, Short & Sweet (Guelph) and Internationally (Austria, Germany, Italy) for the SIBA Ballet Workshop Gala Performance Tour. Below is a video of Julia performing a piece she choreographed!
Kathryn Killackey is an emerging artist with a background in archaeology and science illustration. Her parents, a neuroanatomist and medical illustrator, raised her surrounded by biological imagery and fine art. Though her education and early work experience are in archaeology, she never forgot these influences and eventually switched careers. Kathryn earned a Graduate Certificate in Science Illustration from California State University, Monterey Bay and has run a freelance business ever since. Her illustrations are used in publications, on educational signage, and for commercial purposes, recently on the Netflix series Tiger King and the cover of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. While her illustrations aim to explain and provide answers, she have also begun to create art that explores and raises questions. Kathryn's artwork addresses themes stemming from her background, including materiality, memory, alterity, and organic processes. Her work incorporates detailed rendering in graphite and watercolour, looser spontaneous mark making, cut paper, and contrasting scales. Kathryn's art practice is young but steadily growing. She exhibited in 5 group shows last year, including 2 juried shows. She is currently working on her Ontario Arts Council funded project Neighbors, a series of drawings exploring nonhuman animals’ experience of urban spaces. They provide a different perspective on taken-for-granted environments and interrogate the viewer’s notions of human and nature, wild and domesticated. She will also be exhibiting “Exercises”, a series that explores control, transformation, and ambiguity, in a 2 person exhibition this October at Centre for Artistic and Social Practice. Below is one of her pieces, Excercise 3b (peonies : mass :: cut : torn).
Jill Letten is an artist based in Hamilton, Ontario, and is a recent graduate of the Studio Arts program at McMaster University with a BFA. Growing up around a lower-middle-class area prominent with industrialized factories and toxic waters, the visible effects of a gradually degrading environment became normalized. Jill explores consumerist culture and climate change, informing her work with historical and scientific research to understand and address challenging subject matter that is often disregarded or denied in society. Her work manifests itself into acrylic paintings, referencing midcentury archival images to visualize environments with realistic and surrealistic elements. Jill has shown her work at the Hamilton Artists Inc. as one of the recipients of the Ignition Award (2021). Below is a piece that Jill is particularly proud of!
Ravinder has an Honours B.A. in Fine Arts from McMaster University. Upon graduating, Ravinder immersed herself in the arts community in Hamilton, including regularly exhibiting her paintings and volunteering on art committees. She worked at the Art Gallery of Hamilton from 1997—1999, broadening her exposure to national artists, public collections and art education. Ravinder returned to painting and art-making after a ten year absence (2003—2013). During this time she devoted herself to raising three children and recovering from an aggressive form of cancer. Ravinder’s art practice is often series based. While working under the larger theme of the mind/body connection, Ravinder has spent the last few years focussing on and moving towards wholeness: mind, body and spirit. She explores various aspects of the mind/body connection throughout her work—trauma and energy medicine, meditation and mental health, memory and remembrance and neuroplasticity. Ravinder is drawn to holistic healing, in a constant search for balance and living consciously. Ravinder is an abstract painter who works primarily in acrylics on canvas and paper. Her paintings invite the viewer into binary worlds—microscopic, biological and macroscopic, geological and celestial scales— where layers of pattern and texture, drawn from her East Indian heritage, combine with nature, the body and the landscape. Her use of colour is rich, bold and dramatic. Her work post cancer includes the circle—a symbol of totality and wholeness, of perfection, of sacredness. Ravinder is a first generation immigrant, born in England and migrating to Canada in 1975. Her parents owned their own textile manufacturing factories in both countries. Her use of pattern and ‘textiles’ echoes this backdrop. Ravinder also uses ‘stitching’ in her paintings, referencing both her childhood environment and also as a recognition of the extreme medical procedures she has undergone. Below is a piece that Ravinder is particularly proud of.
Originally from London, UK, LTtheMonk first fell in love with hip-hop at just eight years old, when the music captivated his young ears and ignited what would become a lifelong passion. Blended with constant exposure to reggae (via his Jamaican mother) and rock (via his Irish father), LT’s adventurous love of music and performing onstage would only grow stronger. That eclectic musical upbringing, coupled with discovering the music of Michael Jackson and becoming obsessed with the pop icon’s music and dancing in parallel with his foundational hip hop exposure, set LT off on a journey to becoming a musician himself. It’s also an intrinsic part of LT’s toolkit, with bantamweight Gene Kelly-meets-James Brown footwork and immaculate sport socks both indelible signatures of his persona as an entertainer. LT has since carved a reputation as a vibrant and compelling talent, and his standing is destined to grow with the release of his new album, “On The Wall”, out now on Sonic Unyon Records. The next step in his artistic evolution, the full-length honours ancestors even as it points toward alternate futures, and is further evidence of the artist’s ambition to push hip-hop forward. The album also established LT’s credentials as a charismatic live performer, with tour dates finding him backed by his band, a trio of jazz players (keyboardist Santiago Rozo-Paz, bassist Cam Watson, drummer Lucas Hibbs). Below is LT's music video for his song DeVante (In Your Hands).