by Rachel Molnar
Local artist astounds global audience
Andrew Salgado has been poked and prodded in preparation for what is sure to be an amazing experience.
Salgado has been selected to represent Canada as the painter in one of seven artistic disciplines on display at the 2005 Games of La Francophonie. The games, which are scheduled to take place over December in Niamey, Niger, have given the young artist plenty of chances to visit the immunization clinic in Regina. Besides the health precautions required for the voyage, Salgado has had to complete a piece of art which has been shipped ahead of him to Niger. The painting was based upon the idea Salgado used to apply for the position.
“My proposal was to paint a map of the world in a ‘mosaic-style’ that I have used previously in other works, and then to paint each country as its respective flag … it was a really intense proposal that I wasn’t even sure if I could pull off, but I figured that taking a challenge and a risk was worth the gamble.”
The risk seems to have paid off for Salgado, who has been producing art as long as he can remember. Feigning sick as a child was a regular occurrence prior to soccer matches; while other children were on the field, a young Salgado was more comfortable with a pencil in hand. It wasn’t until grade 12 that he finally realized that art didn’t have to be a part-time activity. “In high school, my art teacher was brilliant and in my final year made me realize that art didn’t have to be something that we did for half an hour every other day … that final year I took all my spare-electives in the afternoon and I would go into the art room at noon and would spend five hours a day from Monday to Friday painting.”
The result was an impressive body of work which may have helped Salgado realize it was possible to make a living as an artist.
Salgado, who currently splits his time between Regina and Vancouver, has been fortunate to have the support of his family and friends. He credits Regina for helping him launch his career as a visual artist. “The city has given me an opportunity to create a take-off point for my art, and people all over Regina have responded incredibly. The U of R has an amazing visual arts program with profs that sincerely care a lot about what their students are doing.”
It wasn’t until he was living in Vancouver that he realized just what being from Saskatchewan was all about. The art produced during this time started to reflect his home province, and being away from Saskatchewan helped him to re-evaluate his view of the prairies.
“I missed the big sky and the genuine nature of the people and the way of life, and I basically began painting ‘landscape’ type images of Saskatchewan ... because I think there is this almost overly-simplistic beauty to the prairies, the crispness of the sky and the yellow canola fields that lends to this vision I have of the prairies as being almost gothic and haunting.”
Salgado will take all the experience he’s amassed through his training and experience in Western Canada to compete in Niger. To represent his country internationally is something the young artist has been looking forward to. “To put my artwork out there with other artists that are representing their countries, and simply to immerse myself in this environment with so many creative people with different visions about what it means to live in the world we live in .... its an amazing honor and no doubt will be an incredible experience.”