“I play with juxtapositions in order to alter perceptions, compelling the willing viewer to dig deeper, to watch rather than look at my images. I consider myself a storyteller and as such I like for my narratives to carry a message whether it be a pun, a suggestion or a warning. I tend to create work that has meaning, that makes the viewer think, reflect and perhaps even learn.”
Toni Hamel was born in Italy, though she lives and works in Oshawa, a suburb of Toronto, Canada. Hamel sees her work as “an illustrated commentary on human frailties“. Rooted in story-telling, her art practice draws from personal experiences and outward observations to create thematic bodies of work that reflect and interpret the psychological unease characteristic of our age. Virtues and vices, the holy and the profane, all share equal weight, and supply an infinite source of material for her investigations. Hamel points to historical and psychological references, creating narratives that question our behavior and alert us to the repercussions of our current thinking models.
Hamel holds a BFA from the Accademia di Belle Arti of Lecce (Italy, 1983), a post-graduate Certificate in Computer Graphics from Sheridan College (Canada, 1991), the Golden Key National Honour Society Award from the University of Toronto (Specialist Programme in Psychology, 1997), and the Lubiam Prize (Milan, 1983). Hamel is the recipient of many awards and three Ontario Arts Council grants (2011, 2012, 2014). Her work has been exhibited in museums and galleries in Canada, USA, and Europe, and is included in the public collections of J.J. Abrams, the Archives of Ontario/Government of Ontario, the Robert McLaughlin Gallery, the Omer DeSerres Corporation as well as many private international collections. Hamel’s work is often featured in international Arts & Culture magazines, including American Art Collector (USA), Hi-Fructose (USA), The Big Issue (Taiwan), Efflorescence Culturelle (France), CBC Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (Canada), and Lodown (Germany) among many others.