Local Artist is Inspiring Youth


 Garth Laidlaw (far left) leading his life drawing workshop at Hillside last summer. Photo taken by Shawna Smith.

Guelph is bubbling with young, active individuals eager to make their mark on our creative community. Garth Laidlaw, an independent arts educator and founder of ArtStory and Guelph Art Hub, is one of those individuals. Garth recently graduated from Sheridan Collage for Animation in May of 2012 and hasn’t wasted any time.

Garth devotes his time to encouraging others in our community to create, share, and pursue professional artistic practices of their own. This summer, Garth teamed up with art instructor and top portfolio coach Karen Kesteloot of PortPrep to design portfolio-building courses for high school students considering the arts as a career. Together they offer fifteen practical courses that will help you create your individual portfolio and increase your chance of acceptance into top arts intuitions in the country.

“We realized there’s a large knowledge gap between people that apply to specialized direct schools,” explained Garth. “So we really wanted to inform high school students and help them prepare for what exactly is expected of them…there is so much grey area.”

Garth also founded a Guelph-based animation and illustration business, ArtStory, and works collaboratively with a variety of local businesses, individuals and organizations to tell their stories through animation and illustration practices. Children’s storybooks, educational and instructional videos, and promotional materials are among the projects ArtStory has been involved with in the past. Garth is currently collaborating with writer Steph-Marie Szenasi on Project Truckfort, a children’s book series that is aiming for release in spring of 2015.

The Laidlaw family hosts weekly life drawing sessions at their home, which they call the Guelph Art Hub. Life drawing is the act of drawing from a live nude model in order to practice and develop your rendering skills as an artist. The sessions have no teacher, unless requested, and welcome beginners and experienced artists alike.

Garth strives to foster an accessible and inclusive arts community that pushes boundaries, blurs mediums and takes risks. Guelph is fortunate to have such encouraging young artist/teachers in our midst.

By Noelle Lalonde

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