Though Joanne Hastie has painted a wide range of subjects in a wide range of styles, she credits her bold and bright city scenes—her current subject de jour—for bringing her focus into the present moment, “rather than worrying or getting anxious about the future,” she explains.
“No matter what meeting or event I am headed to, I never know when I will see an intersection or scene that will inspire my work,” says the North Van resident and avid mountain biker. “So I am constantly wandering on my way to other things I actually should be doing and then I'll find myself crossing back on a street to revisit a viewpoint, or whatever else has captured my attention.”
Several of her acrylic city pieces will be on display as part of a group show called “City Life” at Ferry Building Gallery in West Vancouver, running from October 21 to November 7.
In many ways, being an artist was a peculiar path for Hastie, who grew up in Ottawa as part of an engineering family. However, her left-brain tendencies were already shining through at an early age when she would, as a child, get her father to photocopy her colouring books so she could have a practice run before colouring the real thing.
Her subtle business savviness, however, was already mixing with her artistic inclinations in high school; when they first got lockers, Hastie saw it as wall space and, hence, opportunity. She started running a small business selling copies of her drawings for 25 cents a piece. At the age of 16, she remembers her father saying, “why don't you draw something useful,” which launched her into learning drawing software and making stickers... for aircraft.
Along with practicing art, Hastie became a mechanical engineer by trade and recently furthered her education with a MBA from SFU. Though Hastie is painting nearly full time at the moment, and has commissions to her name ranging from the walls of Simon Fraser University to collaborations with Automobili Lamborghini ACSL, the always modest painter still has a difficult time calling herself an artist. This, she attributes, to her relative lack of exposure to the formal art scene and the feedback she got from some art teachers that she was “doing it all wrong.” Having recently received honourable mention in a plein air competition, she is slowly building her artist person.
Today, Hastie could not be happier that art is an integral part of her life. Having recently left her full-time job, the importance of art in her life is elevating: “Painting is very important in my life right now, being in a transition. It's the basic thing I've always done, so it's nice to have. And it's been an awesome adventure... I never know who I will get to meet or where I will get to go.”