Vanessa McKernan


Vanessa McKernan's paintings begin with a focus on the narration of a dream, fantasy, memory or experience. Portrayed through exaggerated gesture and broken posture, the figures in her work grapple with the fragility of their existence in an increasingly socially and physically unstable world. McKernan holds a BFA in Studio Art from Concordia University and currently lives and works in Toronto.

Ways I Work

Favourite medium

its a tie between oil paint and willow charcoal

Favourite musical artist / band right now

João Gilberto. My sister who is a musician got me into him. I love the way his voice is just another instrument on the track.

Describe the person your work appeals to in 3 words

Melancholic dreamers and movers

Which piece of art you've created is your favourite, and why?

The Girl and the Ghost. The image is based on a vivid dream I had so it has real resonance with me. I also just feel like it incapsulates in this really simple way, how I see humanity.

When I'm not making art, I'm (a) ...

Graphic Designer

I'm really good at making (a) ...

sourdough bread

When did you start making art, and why?

I didn't start making art seriously until I got to art school at 20 years of age. Before that I studied dance at a fine arts high school but it was never something I was that devoted to. I loved looking at paintings and remember thinking, "I know if I put some time into it I can do that." It seemed like a language I understood. I think that's why I started. My portfolio submission to Concordia University was really quite bad, but they let me in!

Favourite artist(s) right now

Jules de Balincourt, Genieve Figgis, Édouard Vuillard

Favourite book

Pilgrim by Timothy Findlay

Beverage of choice


Why is it important for people to have art in their home or life?

It helps to take our minds away from the rational order of every day life that we are more and more obsessed with as a society. It pulls us towards abstraction which I think is so important for the human mind and spirit.

Jays vs. Raptors

Montreal Canadiens


Hello world