NOOKFEST ARTIST PROFILE // STEPHANIE BOUTARI
Stephanie Boutari is an artist with the PATCH Project, an initiative which partners with artists to transform unused public spaces into galleries for all to enjoy. At this year's NookFEST COmmunity Arts and Music Festival Stephanie will be creating a mural piece on the back of 2038 Danforth Avenue, home of the Nooks DANFORTH.
Stephanie Boutari is an artist and muralist with a background in architecture and interior design. She started painting murals while completing her Master of Architecture degree at the University of Waterloo in 2014. Her thesis, entitled "Painting Architecture" focused on architecture's outer surfaces, and since then her interest in murals and public art has continued to grow.
For the last few years, Stephanie has worked between the fields of architecture and art, working full-time at a design-build firm in Toronto while pursuing mural work independently. She has worked on projects ranging from commercial and residential interior design to custom architectural fabrication and three-dimensional art pieces.
In June 2017, she shifted to freelance work to pursue her passion for art full-time. She has also partnered with boko, a design-build studio and workshop based in New Hamburg. It is a collaborative workspace with access to tools for architectural fabrication, art, objects, furniture, signage and more.
My work strives to bridge the gaps between art, architecture and design. Rather than seeing them as separate disciplines, they inform and influence each other in my creative process.
I am particularly fascinated by the ability of paint to shape and transform architecture. For me, the two-dimensional surface is a three-dimensional tool. A thin layer of paint can make a building volume can look heavier or lighter, larger or smaller, still or in motion, fragmented or whole. It can tell a story, revitalize a neighbourhood, spark a conversation, or become a social landmark.
Although I have explored a variety of styles and techniques in my work, my recent focus has been on geometric abstraction and the creation of illusory depth and dimension through painting. Concepts of optical art, colour relativity, pattern and immersive environments continue to inspire my work.
ABOUT PATCH + THE STEPS INITIATIVE
The STEPS Initiative is an award winning charity at the intersection of arts and culture, community, and city-building by animating unlikely spaces with unlikely partners. We seek to inspire cities across Canada and around the world to create welcoming public spaces that reflect and celebrate local community through artistic excellence and have been responsible for some of Canada’s largest and most community-engaged public art initiatives.
Initially conceived as an incubated project of the Centre for Social Innovation, and recently concluding its 7th year in existence, STEPS has led some of Canada’s largest and innovative public arts initiatives. Their World’s Tallest Mural and #StClairMural, alongside their award-winning social enterprise - PATCH - through which they collaborate with landowners and developers to turn under-utilized spaces into an ongoing public gallery, have received international recognition. Their work ranges from commissions as high-profile as the Ceremonial Cauldron for the TO2015 PanAm / Parapan Am Games, to building the capacity of youth and emerging artists to lead community-engaged projects.