This is VIBE Spotlight: a weekly series that celebrates and shines a light on VIBE Arts’ roster of talented artists. Each Monday, our Instagram and website will feature a different VIBE Artist and provide a look into their craft. Stay tuned and get to know the diverse talent that makes up our organization and community with #VIBESpotlight.
On this VIBE Spotlight, we’re shining a light on Mirka Loiselle, a visual artist, illustrator, printmaker and VIBE Artist.
VIBE: Is there anything you are currently working on that you would like to share?
ML: I’m in the early stages of a children’s web-comic project with my good friend and longtime artistic collaborator, Molison Farmer. The comic, called “Camp Coup”, is about a pair of animal misfits named Almond and Owl who rebel against a corrupt group of counsellors, called the Alphas, to protect their fellow campers and friends from their nonsensical rules and prove that nobody can tell you how to have fun.
VIBE: What has been one of your greatest accomplishments to date?
ML: Having my art exhibited in the Ossington subway station as part of the RBC Desire Lines program was such an amazing moment for me. As an emerging artist, it was incredibly validating to have my art featured so prominently and publicly.
VIBE: What has been one of your favourite moments while being on the VIBE roster?
ML: I’ve had the chance to assist so many wonderful programs as a VIBE Artist. My absolute favorite was painting a series of playground murals at Roselands Junior Public School, alongside artist Rob Matejka. The murals were designed and painted with help from the school’s students, and incorporated playground games like hopscotch and snakes & ladders. It was a great example of a unique project that could only come into being by working collaboratively with members of the community.
VIBE: What are some of your future goals?
ML: I’m a self-taught artist, and I consider my education to be a life-long process. I’m constantly seeking opportunities to learn more and expand my practice. There are certain fixed goalposts ahead that I am working towards: securing an agent to represent my illustration practice and finding work in the field of children’s book illustration. Being an artist also means keeping your mind open and responding to whatever inspires you or energizes you in the moment. Rather than fixate on a vision for the future, I want to stay as flexible and adaptive as possible. As long as I can keep creating art, I know I’ll feel fulfilled.
VIBE: What is one of the greatest lessons you have learned thus far?
ML: The biggest ‘aha’ moment for me was realizing that many of my fears, anxieties, and doubts about my artistic practice were born from an internalized belief that success is a process of “unlocking” your true potential. Now, I think that’s a very unhealthy way of approaching your art practice, and I’ve become very skeptical of any ideas of success that center the individual. Capitalism is inherently individualistic, and capitalism exploits us and renders us miserable as a result. How much better would we all be if we focused not on our own individual growth, but on the growth, health, and resilience of our communities?
VIBE: What changes would you like to see in Toronto’s Art community?
ML: So many of us, as artists, believe fervently in the transformative power of art and storytelling. We recognize that art can be a political force. And yet, so few art organizations are actually plugged into grassroots political organizing happening in the city. In the coming years, I’d like to see more collaboration between artists, community organizers and activists. I want to see greater recognition for and more resources directed towards community-engaged art practices, because that is the art that will truly transform the world.
Support Mirka: @mirkaillustrates | mirkaillustrates.com
Stay tuned for more VIBE Artists on VIBE Spotlight