Aquil Virani is a live artist and graphic designer based in Montreal.



 

An award-winning creator

Aquil’s “Canada’s Self Portrait” artwork recently won this year’s Applied Arts Conceptual Illustration award.
This 800-person, coast-to-coast collaborative art project and documentary on Canadian identity is to be exhibited at the Canadian Museum of Immigration this summer, adding Halifax to a list of North American cities on his resume such as New York, Boston, Toronto, Ottawa, and of course, Montreal.

He has been called the “people’s artist” for his emphasis on accessible art practices and social issues; his creative projects have been featured on television, radio, print and online by the CBC, Global News, CTV, NPR, La Presse, Breakfast Television, the Montreal Gazette, Applied Arts and many others (full list further below). He is always open to hearing about new projects and considers himself extremely lucky and privileged to do what he loves everyday.

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An accomplished designer

Aquil was accepted into the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada in 2013, working as a designer since 2008.
His body of work to date includes an impressive creative range from shoe designs, illustrations, logo designs, report layouts, posters, and marketing materials in industries such as beauty, food, health & wellness, theatre, corporate law and the non-profit sector.

L’Oréal, McGill University, Maybelline, Shoppers Drug Mart, Just For Laughs International Comedy Festival, Concordia University, Crane Canada, The J.W.McConnell Family Foundation, and the University of Toronto top his list of hundreds of happy clients. It also includes Matrix Canada, Dessange Canada, McCarthy Tetrault Law, Kaufman Laramée Law, Bermuda Corporate & Trust Law, Studio 1 Productions, The Idea Hunter, Paul Smiths’ College, Montreal Improv, Centaur Theatre, Imago Theatre, Ted Smith Entertainment, Le Butler Marketing, Radiologie Dix30, Anna Cuisine, Jayne’s Gourmet Catering, DT Floral & Décor, ENSEMBLE pour le respect de la diversité, and the Students’ Society of McGill University, along with dozens of performers, bands, non-profits and student groups.

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A well-rounded storyteller

Aquil is more than comfortable in front of a crowd.
In grade 10, Aquil was the first junior ever to beat out the senior class and win the school’s speech competition. Later, as the president and debating champion of his high school, he spoke every week in front of hundreds of his peers. Now, as a performer and coach within the Montreal Improv community, he continues to develop his varied abilities as a public speaker to fully express the story behind his artistic projects. He has been invited to improv festivals in Toronto, Vancouver, and of course, Montreal. These skills complement his faculties as a professional visual artist, a graphic designer, as well as a budding videographer.


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Open to your next creative project

Whether it’s an upcoming event or some graphic work that needs to be done, get in touch. To give you a ballpark range, I charge from $300 up to $2500 for live painting projects and $55/hour usually for design work.

Send an email to get started, ideally with your project’s details, preferred timeline and perhaps a budget range you have in mind. Your support and your confidence is very much appreciated.



Truly interactive

Aquil has been creating collaborative artworks for over 10 years.
Since his early high school days, he has coupled a simple enthusiasm for art with his contagious confidence to engage people in his interactive art process. With a straightforward prompt, Aquil urges participants to take part in the fun, either by writing or drawing something that will be integrated into the greater whole. His way of working makes the process of art both meaningful and memorable, differentiating Aquil among the leaders in the live event entertainment industry.


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Notable quotes from the press

Cassandra Marsillo (Artistorian) on “100 artworks in 1 week”:
“Virani’s creativity shines through this project. It was playful and fun, but throughout it all, you clearly understood that he had (and has) something important to say and to share with his audience…Clearly, Virani isn’t afraid of a challenge.”

Jessica Prupas (Leacock’s Magazine) on “COPYCAT”:
“The charismatic Virani…is the people’s artist. It would be hard to find someone so enthusiastic about the idea of involving the viewer in every step of the artistic process.”

Éric Clément (La Presse) sur “L’autoportrait canadien”:
“Fondamentalement artiste depuis son plus jeune âge, designer pour l’entreprise L’Oréal pour faire fructifier son talent et conférencier aux États-Unis de temps en temps, Aquil Virani est animé d’un irrépressible désir de communiquer avec les autres…Avec ces mots et ces dessins, Aquil Virani a élaboré une installation artistique et sociale d’une grande richesse qui a nécessité 200 heures de travail.”


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An unconventional path

Aquil didn’t follow a conventional route to a life as a professional artist and designer.
He chose to pursue academic studies at McGill University with the J.W.McConnell Major Scholarship, even though he was accepted early into the highly competitive Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design (now, ECUAD). There, he put on the first ever solo art shows at McGill University and nurtured his self-driven passion while completing an undergraduate degree in Philosophy and Marketing. He believes strongly that art should be accessible, in all ways, to everyone. Using his live art projects as a platform, he has spent years inspiring others to return to their creative pursuits and reminding them how simple and fun art-making can be.


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Solo shows + art projects

2016
My Canada, Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, Halifax, NS. (upcoming)
The 100 Project: 100 Artworks in 1 Week, Montreal.
“Qu’est-ce qui vous fait vous sentir chez vous ?” TEDxHEC conference, Montreal.
Ronald McDonald House Charity, Mississauga. (upcoming)
#IBelieveSurvivors: Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Montreal. (upcoming)
Love Letters to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Toronto.
“Tronald Dump” Balloon Project, 200 King Street, Toronto.
Your Last Creative Moment, CSFX16, Toronto.
Truth and Reconciliation Commission Awareness Campaign, Canadian Roots Exchange. Montreal.
Book illustration for Joe Gass’ “Oswald and Jeremy in England.” New York. (upcoming)

2015
Canada’s Self Portrait Launch Event, Canada-wide art project, Montreal.
The 24 Project: 24 artworks in 24 hours for my 24th birthday, Montreal.
We Are All Artists Project (Live Painting and keynote speech), Paul Smith’s College, New York.
“What Does Innovation Look Like?” Babson College Entrepreneurship Forum, Boston.
#100PourcentHumain: Project L’Empathie. ENSEMBLE pour le respect de la diversité. Montreal.
Live Painting project sponsored by MindGeek, Laval.

2014
Canada’s Self Portrait, Cross-Canada Trip, Canada.
ARTPROV, Art and Improv Event, Montreal Improv, Montreal.
We Are All Artists Project (Live Painting and keynote speech), Paul Smith’s College, New York.
Live painting, “Half-truth” Musical Event with Matthew Hiscock, Montreal.
Colorgraphics Creative Challenge, L’Oréal Canada (Matrix Canada), Montreal.
Painting donation to “Matthieu Mon Ange” fundraiser, Montreal.
Live painting, The Nest Café Grand Opening Event, Montreal.

2013
We Are All Artists Project (Live Painting and keynote speech), Paul Smith’s College, New York.
Live painting donation, De La Rue Aux Étoiles, Dans la rue, Montreal.
Set design and painting, Players’ Theatre production of Macbeth, Montreal.

2012
COPYCAT Solo Show, Fridge Door Gallery, Montreal.
Public art commission (large mural), McConnel Engineering Building at McGill University, Montreal.
Live drawing commission, School of Extended Learning, Concordia University, Montreal.

2011
MINDFCUK Solo Show, Fridge Door Gallery, Montreal.
Aquil Virani Solo Show, Service Canada Centre, Montreal.
Body painting, ECOuture 2011 Fashion Show, Club 737. Montreal.
Live painting, TEDxEvent, Bain Mathieu, Montreal.

2010
Live painting, “ARTifact,” TNC Theatre, McGill University, Montreal.
Live painting donation, ECOuture 2010, Fashion Show Montreal Science Centre, Montreal.

2010
“What Makes You Happy?” Project, McGill’s Nuit Blanche. Montreal.


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Teaching, workshops, talks

2016
Guest speaker, TEDxHEC conference, Montreal.
Arts Curriculum Leader, Centauri Arts Camp, Toronto. (upcoming)
Guest speaker, Work Your BA, McGill University, Montreal.

2015
Resident artist and keynote speaker, We Are All Artists Project, Paul Smith’s College, New York.
Guest speaker, Southridge High School, Vancouver.

2014
Presenter and panelist, Canadian Race Relations Foundation Symposium, Ottawa.
Resident artist and workshop facilitator, Southridge High School, Vancouver.
Resident artist and keynote speaker, We Are All Artists Project, Paul Smith’s College, New York.
Sessional workshop facilitator, Overture With The Arts, Riverdale High School, Montreal.
Guest speaker, Southridge High School, Vancouver.

2013
Resident artist and keynote speaker, We Are All Artists Project, Paul Smith’s College, New York.
Sessional workshop facilitator, Overture With The Arts, Riverdale High School, Montreal.

2010
Resident artist and speaker, We Are All Artists Project, Southridge High School, Vancouver.


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Press

2016
“100 artworks in 1 week.” Breakfast Television Montreal (television).
“Aquil Virani’s latest project.” Christine Long. CTV Montreal (television).
“At the gallery with Aquil Virani.” Sue Smith. CBC Radio. Montreal.
“Art & Music.” Trish Crawford. Toronto Star. Toronto. (upcoming)
“L’artiste Aquil Virani.” Anais Laspougeas. L’Intérêt. Montreal. (upcoming)
“Fine Arts Marathon.” The Link Newspaper. Montreal.
“100 artworks in 1 week?” Cassandra Marsillo. Montreal Rampage + Artistorian. Montreal.
“100 artworks. 1 week.” Diane Wong. Artinest. Montreal.
“Aquil Virani’s art marathon.” Oceanderouchie.com. Montreal.
“A Q&A: 1 man. 1 week. 100 artworks.” Lydia Anderson. The Concordian. Montreal.
“Entrevue: Aquil Virani.” Matilda Nottage. Le Délit. Montreal.
“Artist creates artwork for TSO,” Loveletterproject.com, Toronto.
“Plusieurs Québécois récompensés au concours,” Infopresse, Montreal.

2015
“Autoportrait en fragments” (print). Julie Chaumont. Urbania Magazine. Montreal.
“What is Canada’s Self Portrait?” Breakfast Television Montreal (television).
“Esquisse de l’identité canadienne” (online). Éric Clément. La Presse. Montreal.
“Drawing Canadian Identity” (radio). Sue Smith. Homerun. CBC Montreal.
“Art this week.” Lisa Sproull. Cult MTL. Montreal.
“Crowdsourced art on Canadian identity.” Carys Mills. Canadian Geographic. Toronto.
“Drawing Canadian Identity” (online). Kristina Urquhart. Applied Arts Magazine. Toronto.
“Coast-to-coast collaborative creation” (online). Neil McDevitt. McGill Reporter. Montreal.
“Drawing Canadian Identity” (online). Rachel Yeoh. Entitled Magazine. London, UK.
“Canada Day with Canada’s Self Portrait” (online). Artistorian Blog. Montreal.
“Montreal artist creates 24 pieces in 24 hours” (television). CBC TV Montreal.
“What’s On: Aquil Virani creates 24 artworks in 24 hours”. CTV Montreal (television).
“The 24 project” (radio). Mike Finnerty. CBC Montreal.
“New Paul Smith’s students welcomed with unique art project” (television). Rose Spillman. Channel 3 News Vermont.
“POUNCE!” (radio). Todd Moe. North Country Public Radio. New York.
“Artist combines 300+ freshmen drawings into a single artwork” (print). Brittany Proulx. Adirondack Daily Enterprise. New York.
“EQUINOXE Preview.” Leonardo Calcagno. Baron Mag. Montreal.

2014
“Canada’s Self Portrait at Heritage Days” (television). CBC Edmonton.
“CTV Morning Live with Kelly Linehan: Canada’s Self Portrait” (television). CTV Winnipeg.
“Canada’s Self Portrait” (radio). Yvonne Leblanc-Smith, CBC Nova Scotia.
“Winnipeggers wanted for national art project” (radio and online). Ismaila Alfa. CBC Manitoba.
“Canada’s Self Portrait” (radio). Sonali Karnick. CBC Montreal.
“Un Vancouvérois traverse le Canada pour le dessiner” (radio). Boulevard du Pacifique. Ici.
“Let every concept soar” (online). Southridge School. Vancouver.
“Art for the People, by the People” (print). The Concordian. Montreal.
“A Portrait of the Country as a Young Nation” (print). The Link. Montreal.
“Sketches reveal Canucks’ love of country” (print). Victoria Times Colonist. Victoria.
“My name is Aquil and I am Canadian” (online). Montreal Rampage. Montreal.
“Aquil Virani is back at Paul Smith’s!” (radio). North Country Public Radio. New York.
“Three Bares Mural.” Ellsworth Bell. The Ledger. Montreal.
“Art for (and by) the masses.” Kenneth Aaron. The Sequel, Paul Smith’s College. New York.
“College students collaborate on new art” (radio). North Country Public radio. New York.

2013
“Dans la rue fundraiser” (television). Tania Krywiak. CTV News. Montreal.
“We Are All Artists.” Glenn Weiss. Art of Community (blog). Florida.
“Unifying Freshmen.” (Front page article). Shaun Kittle. Adirondack Daily Enterprise. New York.
“Aquil Virani: Revealing the artist in everyone” (radio). Todd Moe.
North Country Public Radio. New York.
“We Are All Artists (Photo Of The Day).” Jack LaDuke. Plattsburgh Press Republican. New York.

2012
“Focus Montreal” (television). Richard Dagenais. Global News Montreal.
“Arts & Culture” (online video). Alexandre Blais. CUTV.
“Everyone has the potential to be an artist” (online video). Gabriel De Vuyst. The Bull & Bear.
“COPYCAT.” Jessica Prupas. Leacock’s Magazine.
“Canvassing the Masses.” Katie McGoarty. The Link (Concordia).
“Drawing inspiration from those around him.” Rachel Reichel. McGill Daily.
“We are all artists…even if we don’t believe it.” Katherine Gombay. McGill Reporter.
“Southridge grad solos with McGill exhibit.” Alex Browne. Peace Arch News (British Columbia).
“Artsweek (ARTISTAT).” Sacha Jackson. Montreal Mirror.

2011
“Mindfcuk.” Garret Cosgrave. Leacock’s Magazine.
“McGill students sing, dance and doodle in benefit TalentDrive” (online).
Peggy Curran. Montreal Gazette.
“Sht tht wll fck wth yr mnd.” Christina Colizza. McGill Daily.
“Mindfcuk” (video). Stacy De Souza. TVM.
“How to create your own art show.” Aquil Virani. The Concordian.


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Group shows

2016
“Art and the law.” Thompson House Gallery. McGill University. Montreal.

2015
Dans la nature, Galerie Mile-End, Montreal.
Equinoxe, Galerie USINE 106u, Montreal.

2014
“Skeletonic.” Cinema du Parc. Montreal.

2012
“L’Expression.” Prestige Studios. Montreal.

2011
“Light Bite.” Light Night Festival, Nottingham, United Kingdom.
“ECOuture 2011.” Caramel Lounge, Montreal.
“SEDE Calendar” vernissage, Faculty Club, McGill University, Montreal.

2010
“Body Talk.” Avenue Art, Montreal.
“Open Fridge.” Gallery 89, London, United Kingdom.
“ART SUP,” Le Cagibi, Montreal.
“Visual Impact.” Bronfman Building of McGill University, Montreal.
“SEDE Calendar” vernissage, Faculty Club, McGill University, Montreal.
“On The Road.” Arts Undergraduate Society, McGill University. Montreal.
“Cruxism.” Fridge Door gallery, Montreal.

2009
“Vision,” Charnwood Arts, Leicestershire, United Kingdom.
“DisConnect,” Fridge Door Gallery, Montreal.
“Art Shift,” Fridge Door Gallery, Montreal.