Portrait of an Artist: Enoch Tee

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      A major theme across artist and community activist Enoch Tee's provocative paintings is the power with which he communicates introspection and spirituality.

      "My work is directed by sentiments and icons, bordering on propaganda. My pieces are biased and self-centered in the vein of neo-classicism and religious art,” says the Vancouver artist who is currently doing social and art work in empoverished areas in the Phillipines. “However they push back from grandiosity by subject and cynicism. I'm questioning and meditating through the old techniques."

      Having worked both as an artist and as an outreach worker in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, Tee seeks to inspire people to reflect on themselves. He uses artwork as a tool and a catalyst for personal growth, and considers himself fortunate that he is able to employ his craft as an artist and his passion for improving the quality of lives around him.

      He creates from the vantage point of compassion. Having worked with people with social issues such as homelessness, drug addition and mental illness, he expresses through his paintings with bold, provocative contrast in the colour schemes and character depictions.

      Working in the community, Tee says he “feels more myself" and in Vancouver he has worked closely with Mission Possible, Work Life, Be the Change, Earth Alliance, Sustainability, and Fabric. In his work with Mission Possible, he helped to organize an art-studio called MPStudioworks. Today, Tee has spent the last three months working in a slum community of roughly 5,000 people called Rowenas in the Philippines. It's a 14 hour a day, seven day a week lifestyle where he is primarily teaching artwork to impoverished children between the ages of seven and 10 years old.

      "It's more like art therapy for the kids than an instructional class," he says, noting that the children often do not have drinking water and face serious conditions such as malaria. “The kids love it."

      His next stage for his community work in Rowenas is getting involved more holistically in family support, and he's planning to teach similar art classes to the parents of the children he works with. He is also planning to do an art installation piece in the community that would be "completely experiential and involve contribution from everyone."

      Check out Tee's art at artsally.com/enoch-tee.