In the midst of some amazing projects, I got some sad news when I found out that one of my old teachers, Mr. Ison, had passed away. He was an important mentor for me in my early high school years.

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I looked up to Mr. Ison.

Jim Ison was my homeroom teacher, debating coach and good friend.

He welcomed me into my high school community and shared his passion for discussion and eloquence with me whenever I made it to homeroom on time. In Grade 10, I spoke at his retirement ceremony at Southridge School in BC. A few days later, I won the newly created “Jim Ison Shield” award for public speaking.

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He emailed me in April.

I had updated him about my projects and asked him for his opinion about the utility or futility of visual art.

I had been struggling with the harsh juxtaposition of useless art in a white-wall gallery and the overwhelming injustices that exist in the world. This is what he said…

Thanks, Mr. Ison.

Thanks for all that you taught me.
Thanks for all that you shared with me.
Thanks for all that you did for me.

Nice to meet you, Marcel!

Marcel bought this “Nature” painting at my Canada’s Self Portrait exhibition on July 1st in Montreal!

I finally got a chance to meet Marcel and Suzanne who phoned the gallery the morning of the show on July 1st after seeing the painting in the La Presse article! We had a nice little chat in the gallery space a couple of weeks later. They bought the artwork as a gift to themselves for their 30th anniversary. Below is their picture. : )

I did work for Just For Laughs.

A friend of mine called me in to help them out with a high volume of design work needed for the festival. We worked on flyers, posters, web images, and even an NCAA-style bracket design for one of their comedy competitions.

I got some free tickets too!

There was the Wanda Sykes Gala featuring a wonderful set by Alonzo Bodden among others. I also enjoyed seeing the finals of the International Roastmaster Invitational hosted by Jeff Ross. Dave Chapelle was judging while 110% under the influence.

Meet Jackie.

On our cross-Canada trip last summer, Rebecca and I met Jackie out east sitting in a little park-square. She told us that she had recently undergone some extensive heart surgery and that she was lucky to be alive. For her drawing of Canadian identity, she drew a heart. She said that she might not be alive without our Canadian health care system.

Just recently, she emailed us to ask for the photo we took of her back then. She was approaching the anniversary of her surgery and wanted the memory. We were happy to send it over. : )

Attend an improv show!

I have a few improv shows coming up in Montreal and I’d love to see you out at Montreal Improv (3697 St. Laurent) if you can make it!

Thursday, August 6th@ 8:30pm:
DOREEN featuring Room Service and Soap Box Derby.
Tickets at the door: $8

Sunday, August 9 @ 8:30pm:
FAST FICTION (War Drama, Space Travel, Creature Feature)
Tickets at the door: $8

Saturday, August 15th @ 9pm:
OUT IN BEAUMONT featuring musician Matthew Chaim and Power Trio
Tickets at the door: Entry by donation

Feel free to share this!

If you want to forward this email to an artist-friend of yours, feel free!

My ability to create an artistic life for myself depends on the support of friends in sharing my projects and my enthusiasm with others. Share away!

Aquil Virani is a freelance visual artist, graphic designer and speaker. While based in Montreal, his creative projects have taken him throughout the world, from Vancouver to Toronto, from New York to Punta Cana. He believes that we are all artists at heart. Learn more at aquil.ca.

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