Think-It-Over Feature Artist Spotlight on Alli van Gruen

Think-It-Over Feature Artist Spotlight on Alli van Gruen

Spotlight on Alli van Gruen

“Colourful, warm, and textured” is how Alli describes her artistic style. Referencing old family slides, van Gruen takes her viewer back in time to their own childhood memories. 


How did you get into creating? And, who or what were your influences?  

“I always drew or painted when I was young. After I finished my undergraduate degree in arts at McGill I was curious to keep exploring my creative side. I completed a fine arts diploma at the Ontario College of Art & Design in Toronto and Italy and have been producing work ever since. Early on in my career I was influenced by Modigliani, Rothko, Betty Goodwin, and Eric Fischl. Presently, I love and am inspired by the work of Gideon Rubin, Cori Creed, Bradley Wood, Judith Jasperson, Richard Storms, and Nancy Friedland.”

What continues to drive you?

“I paint because I am intrigued by the endless possibilities of how a painting can be created. In my current body of figurative work I am dealing with the personal, intimate textures of memory, loss, and joy in my life and I am striving to spark a similar sense of nostalgia and refection for my audience. By painting humorous, shining aspects of a time past – 70’s flare pants, a dog’s impish grin, a family road trip – I am exploring, extending, and reaffirming my love for art while tapping into, and pushing our imaginations further.”

What has been your greatest accomplishment in your creative career so far?

“I am proud of building a thriving art business, consistently producing pieces of art that I have created from my heart and where my clients keep coming back for more.”

Tell us your strangest commission request.

“Years ago I was commissioned to paint someone’s necklace – just the necklace…”

Tell us about your process while creating these 6 new pieces for Think-It-Over. Was it challenging or did you find it easy? What did you face during this process?

“I have been working on a large body of work based on old family slides for a few years now. When I saw the words that were chosen for this project I knew that they would be a natural fit for me to delve further into my work on memory and nostalgia. I began to go through my family slides and gradually assign a word to a photo/memory. The process of deciding which slide to choose was at times challenging as I have a huge volume to work from, but isn’t that wonderful to have so many choices? This helped make the assignment easy and fun. Applying the words to my family made me see their personalities in a different light and compelled me to think about them in a different way.”

Alli’s favourite colour

Describe your 2020 in ONE word.




Think-It-Over  is on until December 13, 2020. See our website for our opening hours.

If you can’t make it to see the art in person, check out this virtual tour.

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