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#FFIPChallenge1 by Dexter B-G. of Etobicoke School of the Arts (ESA)

Happy December and Season’s Greetings!

In a departure from our usual format, this month you’re in for a fun and illuminating profile of the student who won our Flash Challenge. Dexter B-G. is a Toronto high school student who recently clinched Incubator Flash Challenge #1 with his entry above (you can read about the challenge here). Flash Forward Incubator is Magenta’s arts education program dedicated to supporting emerging artists in the high school setting. Do follow its dedicated Instagram account, and come add a word (or emoji) of support: instagram.com/flashfwdincubator.

Congrats to this emerging artist! And a thank you to our presenting sponsor, TD Bank Group, who helps support this program for the arts. Here is what Dexter has to say about his school, artistic inspiration, the Incubator program and more.

Q: What’s it like being a student at Etobicoke School of the Arts (ESA)?
A: ESA has a great community of like-minded people who are passionate about their art. I can only speak for the Visual Arts and Photography programs, but one of the greatest aspects of ESA is the responsibility and trust the teachers put in the students. In Visual Arts you are encouraged to evolve your ideas and skills as an individual artist rather than sit through technique classes that only benefit a portion of the students.

Q: Who is the subject in the photo?
A: The subject of the photo is my four-year-old cousin, who was very easy to work with, on the condition that we listen to the Star Wars soundtrack during the shoot.

Q: Explain how you achieved the overhead photo. How much planning went into your set up?
A: I was standing on a separate table with a tripod, looking over the subject with a wide-angle lens. I had wanted to do this project for around a month but the actual setting up and finding of subjects took about two weeks.

Q: What inspires you the most about using photography?
A: I am interested in the apparent objectivity that comes with photography. Even though most people are aware that images are not always truthful, the medium is often used to manipulate the subject to serve an agenda. I enjoy manipulating and playing with that authority.

Q: What are your plans after high school?
A: I am still very flexible with my post-secondary plans, but I know I want to go to university for either visual arts or science. Though, those are very broad paths in seemingly opposite directions I have found that art and science are similar fields that require creative and curious people.

Q: Even though it is early in the Incubator program, what is it like being a participant? What excites you most about the program?
A: The Incubator Program has a nice flexible structure that gives you freedom, with light prompts and deadlines to keep you on track. I’m excited about critiquing and being critiqued by students from outside of ESA, as I feel that opinions and ideas can become bias and stale when they are not challenged.

Q: What influences your artistic ideas? Where do you look for inspiration?
A: During the summer I travelled through South-East Asia, which affected everything in my life including my art. Though, on a day-to-day basis I often gravitate towards philosophy books, Art 21, and the vitamin books by Phaidon, which is a great series of contemporary art books. I also draw huge inspiration from making music, film and poetry, where I explore similar themes as my visual art.

Thank you Dexter! And to all of our Magenta Friends, wishing you a happy and safe festive season.