Visually Speaking: Monique Silver

Anna Horsnell

Monique Silver’s enthusiasm for what lies ahead is a shot of positive. As an emerging artist facing a wide horizon of possibilities, she is both eager to explore and willing to put in the work to establish her art career. That determination will make all the difference in the highly competitive and challenging world of fine art.

Her recent exhibit, entitled “Form Interrupted,” saw her showcased as guest artist at Tides Contemporary Art Gallery in Kentville for the month of March. If sales of artwork and buzz are any indication, the reaction was definitely positive and even more noteworthy as it was only her second solo presentation. The black and white relief prints composed an intelligent interpretation of, in her words, “the power of societal pressures and the psychological impact of body and beauty standards.” Each piece was a thought-provoking view on the human form spoken through fine draftsmanship and imaginative vision.

It’s not uncommon for art students to hit a bit of a wall once they graduate. Where to turn, how do you begin as an artist entrepreneur, especially in a time of lockdowns and restrictions? Silver explains, “I’m originally from Canning and graduated from Mount Allison University in 2020. I had wonderful professors who encouraged interdisciplinary explorations. My education prepared me for studio work and helped me become a resourceful creator. However, in most BFA programs, students are not taught how to structure their own business, how to approach sales or seek funding, so that has been the biggest learning curve so far.” Luckily, she found help, ”The 2021 New Grad Program through Visual Arts Nova Scotia was a fantastic experience and helped me keep momentum through the pandemic. I don’t have an established practice so without this support and network I would have struggled to make connections within the Halifax art community and get my practice rolling.”

Through it all, Silver has maintained a positive outlook in following her passion. “Thankfully I grew up around artists and had a realistic understanding of what an artist’s career could be. Mainly going through the general growing pains of a young adult, learning to prioritize, sticking to my studio schedule and being confident in my choices. It was really scary making the choice to take up space for this practice. I’ve been so thrilled with the amount of support from both the art community and general population here in Nova Scotia. When asking for guidance, especially as an emerging artist right out of the gates, people are willing to give you a hand. Returning those favours is also important!”

What’s next? Completing an art therapy degree over the next few years is on her agenda, but in the meantime, “I enjoy collaborating and look forward to working on community art projects. I have been teaching drawing classes and helping develop art programming at Laing House in Halifax. I also started working at The Prow Gallery which just recently opened on the Halifax waterfront. I’m looking forward to learning more about the industry and making connections through this new job.”

See what the future holds for this promising young artist by visiting moniquesilver.squarespace.com, on Instagram @moniquesilverstudio, or email Monique.d.silver@gmail.com.