My friend Kevin quietly snuck into my tent at the Definitely Superior Lost & Found festival earlier in the month.
He did so in the same quiet way that he does many things in life: he suddenly appears, seemingly out of nowhere, talks and smiles for awhile, then soundlessly sidles away, similar to how he appears.
I met Kevin at the Thunder Bay Country Market about a decade ago, when he was stationed at the front doors of the Dove building. I watched him work on a blueberry painting and I asked him if I could buy it. He gave it to me while the paint was still wet and told me to wait a bit before putting it into a frame. Solid advice.
The blueberries on my wall are still one of my favourite pieces of art!
Kevin was born in Elliot Lake, is a member of Gull Bay First Nation, and has made his home in Thunder Bay for many years. He has been practicing and developing his style of art since 1989, citing Roy Thomas as one of his influences. Kevin was drawn to the bold black line work and the solid blocks of bright colour. He’s made his style unique by incorporating beautifully coloured backgrounds.
Kevin paints a lot of plants, animals, and families. He focuses on subject matter that is closely linked to his Ojibway culture. For instance, a large turtle to represent Turtle Island; a group of woodland animals paddling away in a canoe to protest the way mankind mistreats the environment: two delicate feathers to celebrate a young woman receiving her Ojibway name from an elder.
Kevin is no longer at the market on Saturdays, but he keeps busy with various art sales, painting murals, and numerous commissions! I saw his list of people who want “a Belmore” and it’s lengthy! I myself have commissioned very special works of art from Kevin and it was kind of magical how he breathed life and beauty into my undeveloped ideas.
Aside from being a talented artist, Kevin is a family man. He has four beautiful daughters and a granddaughter!
One of Kevin’s current projects is raffling off a professionally framed and matted nature scene:
This is a picture I took of a picture so the quality isn’t great. But you can see the sleeping giant is surrounded by a menagerie of forest creatures. The piece is called “Land of the Sleeping Giant” and Kevin is currently selling ballots and will be drawing a winning name in mid-September.
One ballot is $20.00 and three ballots are $40.00.
Please email Kevin to request ballots or if you have ideas for a commission, or if you have any questions about his art:
Here are a few more examples of Kevin’s artwork:
Thank you Kevin.
Your art is incredibly important to me and is no doubt just as important to thousands of others all over Ontario.
I look forward to the next time you appear, sly and smiling in a a crowd of people; a calming and reassuring presence in what is often a chaotic world.