Bright colour palettes, layering, abstraction, movement: artist Courtney Senior's artwork is enjoying great success on social media platforms and beyond. With a background in marketing, Courtney decided to devote herself full-time to painting a few years ago, when a family event caused her to rethink her life choices. Thus, in 2014, Courtney created the #ArtandFound event. Learn more about the artist's journey, but also about this event that brings together artists from all over for a common cause: giving back to the community. Happy reading!
DeSerres: Hello, Courtney. Can you tell us a little about your artistic background?
Courtney Senior: I have been drawn to art as far back into my childhood as I can remember. I would sit for hours in my room drawing, painting and writing. Anything related to art was the only gift I ever wanted for birthdays and Christmas. Highschool was the first time that I was officially taught anything related to the arts, and while my interest in art history was absent, my passion for creativity was in full force. A few years into university is when I really started my artistic journey.
I experienced several years of severe anxiety, which led me to start painting regularly. It seemed to be the only thing that would ease my angst and bring my mind back to serenity. As my anxiety subsided, and as I pursued my career in marketing, painting was pushed to the sidelines; that is until my late twenties when I lost my father in a sudden accident. From that moment on, I spent every free minute I had painting.
I used it as an opportunity to put all the emotions I couldn't express into words, into a form that helped me grieve, and ultimately helped me heal. This was the beginning of my artistic career. I started selling my work very shortly thereafter, and I haven’t looked back since.
D: What role does art play in your life now and how would you describe your art?
C: Creating art is a moment of purity. It’s a place where I can truly be myself and enjoy what I love doing the most. It’s also an opportunity to put everything I am feeling and thinking into something tangible. In these moments, nothing else matters. It’s a sanctuary, it’s my happy place. These blissful hours are the only reason I create. When it stops producing a positive state of mind is when I stop being an artist. My work is primarily non-representational. What seems like serendipitous movement is actually a reflection of life – it’s the journey of making bold decisions, connecting with your inner renegade and embracing the highs, the lows and everything in between.
International Art & Found Day #ArtandFoundDay
International Art & Found Day takes place on March 12th. Each year, thousands of artists drop off their artwork in their local communities at strategic locations (park benches or near schools). Local residents come across the packages and can then keep the unique artwork they just found. A sharing initiative that allows artists to get discovered by bringing joy to their community. The movement was started by Courtney Senior in 2014.
D: What is the story behind Art & Found Day?
C: The concept of Art & Found started in 2014. When I started painting regularly, I had no intention of selling my artwork. However, as I quickly accumulated many pieces, I knew I had to do something with them, because living in a Toronto condo wasn’t conducive to storing dozens of canvases. So, I decided to give them away. My first instinct was to leave them around my neighbourhood for people to find, but my marketing brain knew that I had to attach a name or project to it because I was afraid people wouldn’t be keen on picking up a random package left on a park bench. That is when #ArtandFound was born.
I have left nearly 75 paintings around Toronto and the GTA over the years, and after receiving so much positive feedback, I wanted to do something special in 2021. With the world under such chaos and distress from the pandemic, I thought it was a great opportunity to spread happiness within our local communities. I knew several artists that would be keen on participating in an #ArtandFound, so I started the first ever International Art & Found Day on March 12, 2021, so that we could, as a community, make a worldwide impact.
D: What is the best advice you could give to an artist who wants to participate in Art & Found Day?
C: Art & Found Day is simple. It’s about giving back to our communities, connecting with people through art and encouraging creativity. Don’t over think what you could or should contribute to Art & Found Day. It could be a painting, poem, illustration, sculpture, candle, jewellery, the options are endless. Whatever you share or giveaway is going to make an impact. All you need to do is register your name and location at artandfoundday.com and let your friends, family and followers know that you’re participating so that they can keep an eye out for your art drop on March 12, 2022. You can find tips on how to package your artwork on our website.