When asked, Carlos Delgado, an urban artist from the Greater Toronto Area, was more than happy to tell us his fascinating life story. From his childhood in Colombia to his arrival in Canada, where he forged an international career as a painter, he opened up about the highlights of his professional life.
With a hint of nostalgia and no shortage of emotion, he talked about his youth growing up in a poor part of town, where money and opportunities were scarce, but love and compassion were never lacking. In his early twenties, his talents as a mural artist began to attract the attention of members of the local community. This recognition gave him the confidence he needed to grow as an artist.
The birth of his son forced him to take a step back and re-examine his life, and that’s when he decided to immigrate to Canada. His first few years in Toronto have been difficult—adapting to life in Canada, learning a new language, and struggling to fit into the artistic community. Nevertheless, he was determined to keep at it, constantly producing new work and spreading the word through social media. With the help of new social platforms, he managed to make a name for himself and share his creations with the world. The Web has allowed him to access a virtual, global market. “It’s my gateway to the world!” he exclaims passionately. Thanks to this online presence, his career has taken off and he can now live off his art.
A few years ago, the artist had a second transformative experience. Carlos was in the doldrums, plagued by a creative drought and a lack of enthusiasm for his work. He would go to work in his studio with mounting frustration. He was creating stunning canvases, but when he looked at them, he felt nothing, no pride or joy. He spent several months in a funk, trying to figure out what inspired him as an artist, what made him happy. He would go for walks in the city, seeking answers in the people and places passing by.
What struck him most was how cold and unfeeling people are to each other. Whether it be on the street, in the bus, or on the metro, people don’t say hello anymore. They look away, lower their gaze. He told us he’s even seen people pretending to be asleep to avoid having to talk to anyone. This almost categoric refusal to reach out to each other and create ties, which is quite foreign to him, filled him with nostalgia. He became driven by the need to explore what’s behind the averted eyes, to delve into the inner worlds and moods of the people he saw every day.
And that’s how he found his inspiration again, moving away from realistic landscapes to focus on abstract portraits. This foray into the emotional realm, far removed from realism, fulfils a need he never knew existed in his artist’s soul. Overnight, he tossed away all his previous work and began splashing paint on canvas. He doesn’t hold back, going at it with a sense of urgency and intensity. He’s broken free from his self-imposed constraints and allowed himself the freedom to express and share whatever he feels with the rest of the world. “I feel happy now, like I’m being true to myself,” he says. He expresses his emotions, his observations, and his story through the eyes and faces of the people he paints.
Today, Carlos is an artist fulfilled. He’s succeeded in finding a balance between his two studios. He’s lucky enough to spend several months a year working in his home country, where he gets his fill of the heat, the mountains, his peaceful life, and his family. And when the urge for the chaos and noise of city life strikes, he returns to Toronto. These two contrasting landscapes nourish and inspire him. As he’s happy to point out, his journey is his inspiration, and he has no intention of slowing down anytime soon.
The artist is constantly looking to the future, continuing to build his career and share his work with larger and larger audiences. He remains faithful to his mantra: “Expect nothing, work hard, and hope for the best.”
Carlos’s work is now on display in various exhibitions in Toronto and around the world. His ultimate goal? Find time to create new pieces by experimenting with different art forms. We wish him every success, and we’re confident that his determination and drive will take him everywhere he wants to go. We’re very happy to count Carlos among our Zone Professional members.
His favourite products are gallery canvases and Apollon unprimed cotton canvas rolls, which he appreciates for their versatility and guaranteed results. When he’s on the move, his go-to sketching tools are charcoal sticks and black felt-tipped pens.