Kristen Stephen was born in Amherst, New York, and moved to Canada when she was six years old. Kristen spent her teenage years in Niagara-on-the-Lake where she developed her interest in the arts working in her mother's gallery. During her time at the gallery she met many Canadian artists and developed an appreciation for a diverse spectrum of techniques and artistic perspectives.
After pursuing an Arts and Culture degree at Brock University Kristen moved to Toronto where she attended Ontario College of Art and Design University, majoring in painting.
Left: Floating Flowers
"Manon Raman was born in '96 in Wetteren, Belgium. She spent part of her teenage years in The Netherlands, but moved back to her home country where she studied at the Royal Institute of Theatre, Cinema and Sound. Before she painted on canvasses, she worked on faces as a make up artist for series and movies.
She is a self thought artist who started painting at age 22. Her early work is colourful, bold and revolves around women and the naked body.
Her art became less evocative when she moved to Niger, Africa at age 23 where she started painting full time. With her African inspired art she has had multiple successful solo shows, part of which also contributed to a charity or cause to help the local population.
Recently Manon has moved to New York where she is working from her home studio on a new body of work, exploring simpler shapes and rougher features in people."
"There is no conscious decision-making while I create, it all flows naturally. As a result, the way I feel while I'm creating something is portrayed in the work. My painting process is very intuitive. I often start with a photo reference of a face or a body. I use layers of different kinds of mediums to create texture and depth. Without choosing my colors beforehand the image starts to come to life.
I am drawn to women as a subject of my work. I admire the way the female body can flow and impress. The interest in female bodies and shapes has always been there though it was only recently that I discovered why:
Growing up in a world where we get constant messages from businesses that profit from us hating our bodies, it's no wonder I have often not felt good in my own skin. Our society teaches young girls and boys that beauty can be used as a weapon and that you get further in life if you are 'pretty'. To this day my self image remains a constant struggle. So I paint as a form of therapy, to get myself to understand that beauty is not in how skinny or symmetrical you are but that beauty comes from within."