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August 15, 2016

Meet a Community Art Star: Candice Yee

Meet a Community Art Star

"Meet a Community Art Star" is a regular feature showcasing ArtStarts' amazing group of volunteers who are passionate, enthusiastic arts champions. Read more posts in this series.

Candice Yee is one of our wonderful Gallery Assistants and Fine Art student at Langara College. She enjoys sports, from track and field to her current favorite gym class, Bootcamp. Candice also enjoys music and going to concerts. She loves to try new food around the city and loves to write Yelp reviews. Stop by the ArtStarts Gallery on a Thursday morning and you'll be welcomed by her warm smile!

When did art start for you?

I started doing art when I was really little. I would always skip the math station in Kindergarten and go straight to the painting station. I did art in high school; I went to Byng Arts, a program within Lord Byng Secondary for students whose passions are dedicated to the Fine Arts. During the program I wasn't sure if art was the thing for me, if it was a passion or a hobby, or if it could get me a job. I decided to study journalism as my post-secondary education and after a year I decided that didn't like it, so I went back to art and that's where I feel most at home.

Do you feel like that one year of journalism impacted you, even though that wasn't your calling?

Yes, because it showed me that art and writing can be very much intertwined and I can apply art skills to writing and writing to art skills. I'm currently also interning at The Beaumont Studios, helping run the store as well as helping with gallery communication. My journalism skills have been so helpful for writing about art shows and creating blog posts.

Who is an artist that you admire?

Damien Hirst. He creates such crazy art pieces that show the connection between art and business. I don't know how he gets the materials to create his work. His work is wondrous and beyond imagination.

What materials or medium do you enjoy working with in in your art practice?

My program at Langara College is multidisciplinary; we've tried sculpture, painting, and drawing so far. I really like traditional media such as drawing and painting, but sculpture has been the most challenging and rewarding for me. I'm going to study digital design in the Fall; that's the direction I see art going and I really think that those are necessary skills to have. After one more year, I am going to transfer to an art school, possibly Emily Carr University of Art and Design.

What's your idea of creativity?

Creativity to me is having an open mind, thinking outside of the box, breaking the boundaries and not adhering to any rules. It doesn't have to be doing things that haven't been done before, I think it's more about keeping on trying to do things, constantly making things. If you don't create things, how are you supposed to progress? I also believe in making mistakes to find that great idea.

How do you connect yourself to creativity in your everyday life?

I'm currently focusing on using my creativity within the community, volunteering at ArtStarts and helping out at The Beaumont Studios. If I'm not at home doing art, I'm teaching other people about art, encouraging and getting other people involved.

Do you recall an experience in school that had an impact on you?

The Byng Arts Coordinator, Jon Hartley-Folz, was my teacher. He is really passionate about art and was always pushing us to go beyond our limits. He kept reminding us that we were in the Byng Arts program for a reason. He coordinated a New York trip for us and we got to visit the Museum of Modern Art as well as the Guggenheim, I'll never forget that experience.

Why do you volunteer? What brought you to ArtStarts?

I've worked with children in the past in sports camps and babysitting. I love volunteering and working with children because they're so creative. I feel like once you become an adult you constantly edit yourself, so I love feeding off their energy. I think what ArtStarts is doing is fantastic with showcasing young people's art. I wanted to volunteer here to see what Vancouver was doing with their art scene and community—and how this affects kids and adults. I've volunteered at other places with kids but not anywhere as art-focused as ArtStarts.

What have been some of your favourite moments volunteering at ArtStarts?

When we have school tours, I love assisting kids during their workshops. It's really great to sit down and talk to kids, it's really fun. Recently, I was asking them what the cool, new, hip, thing this to do these days and they were looking at me like, "You are so old…!" It's so fun to joke around with them, they're always super honest.

Anything else that you would like to share with us?

It's okay to not know what you're going to do right away and it's okay to take the time to figure it out. I wish I took a gap year after high school, I feel I would have gone right to art school. As much as a career in the arts doesn't seem convenient for a stable lifestyle, it's really not true—ArtStarts has shown me that working in the arts can be a viable career. At ArtStarts, I got to know how many working visual and performing artists there are in BC living their dreams—it's incredible! I know too many people who feel stuck in their positions and stuck in a 9-to-5 job—but your passion can be your job!

Thank you, Candice!

If you are interested in volunteering with ArtStarts, please visit

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