April 27 - 30, 2023

Stampede Park



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Creator of the Month - Tay Odynski

Welcome to Creator of the Month, where we feature an incredible creator from our community of fans and learn about who they are beneath the surface. This month, we have Tay Odynski!

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Creator of the Month Questions

What city are you based in? 

Calgary, Alberta.

Tell us a bit about yourself! 

I am Tay Odynski, the artist behind Taytayski, and I’ve been a full-time freelance artist ever since graduating as an illustrator from ACAD in 2015. I’ve been slowly trying to make a name for myself in Calgary by dipping my toes in anything and everything art-related. I found a love for the unpredictability of commission work early on— which is why you won’t notice a consistent theme throughout my paintings. It’s been over six years now and I’ve had the opportunity to paint so many unique pieces! Everything from Superheroes and Pop Culture, to people’s pet portraits or even sparkly plants can be seen leaving my studio on canvas. Despite the ever-changing content, my style can still be recognized by my bright use of colour and added glitter to every piece! 

I never imagined I would be able to teach people anything, but when the world went into lockdown over a year ago, I fell into somewhat of a Bob Ross role! I now host a weekly, free live streamed paint night for all skill levels, and post the recordings on YouTube. I found a new love and passion for showing people that really anyone can paint, and in turn, it’s my own way to give back to and grow our art community, one newfound artist at a time!

It’s an honour to have been chosen as CALGARY EXPO’s Creator of the Month! The amount of talent that oozes out of the artist's alley is immeasurable, so being chosen to have this opportunity to be featured is amazing. CALGARY EXPO is one of my favourite times of the year and I am still recovering over the fact that it didn’t go through in 2020 (Understandably but still sad). I love it for not only the fact that you get to see so many faces, old and new, but because you are being exposed to so much nostalgia, creativity, and inspiration with the cosplayers, the other artists, attendees, booths, and celebrities that flood the halls. Being able to expose your work to such a large, diverse group of people is priceless!

What fandoms are you into?   

I’m a little all over the place for this one but in this order: 

  1. Pixar (If this is considered a fandom!) 

  2. Harry Potter 

  3. Marvel 

  4. RuPaul's Drag Race  

  5. Game of Thrones 

  6. Pokémon 

What inspired you to become an artist?  

Art was just something I always picked up naturally, and I would spend all my free time as a kid expressing myself with whatever medium I could get my hands on. It was and still is the only thing that can silence my busy mind. I truthfully never thought of it being my job growing up, but when I failed chemistry in grade 12, making my initial plan of entering Dental Hygiene become a little unrealistic, it was recommended by a friend I look into ACAD (Alberta College of Art and Design, now known as Alberta University of the Arts).

 Once attending Art college, I found out very quickly that I enjoyed being able to bring people the same sense of peace, nostalgia, and joy from my paintings that I experience while painting them myself. It’s that feeling reciprocated from my clients and followers that keeps me painting every day. It feels like I’ve found my purpose in life, and it is to bring people joy with my work and make art more approachable to the masses! 

Do you have an art piece that you are most proud of?  

It is very difficult for me to pick just one art piece I am the proudest of, as I have so many different emotional attachments to a lot of pieces I’ve done! In 2017, I painted a painting of Stan Lee with some of my favourite marvel characters. At CALGARY EXPO that year, I was lucky enough to be able to get the original painting signed by STAN HIMSELF! He held it up and told us it was beautiful; I’ll always remember that. It’s one of my most prized possessions. This year, I also painted an illustration of two of my favourite characters, Grogu and Stitch, hanging out together on a beach and it’s hard not to be proud of that too. 

What is your most requested piece? 

I have brought a lot of my original paintings into Diamond Painting form, and recently those are my most popular items! My Deadpool or Neon T-Rex are the two most requested these days.

Can you tell us about the process of making your work? Where do you get your inspiration from? 

I am an artist who paints a variety of different content so I truly find my inspiration comes from daily life, and it changes every day! Whether it is a new song I hear, a show on TV, my favourite characters from movies when I was a kid, a colour scheme from a stranger's outfit, new experiences with friends, or from other artists I follow on Instagram, I can really find inspiration in anything. 

Paintings for me always start from a reference photo. I search until I find the perfect ones, and manipulate them on photoshop until I have a rough base layout of what I want, and that’s about as far as my planning goes. I can tell you that I never know how a painting is going to turn out in the end! I love to let the paint do what it wants and work around the drips, splashes, and layers to see what happens! My favourite part is being able to see the process of the painting at the end with the initial pencil lines showing through, and the multiple layers of paint and glitter that bring the piece to life.   

I have a very short attention span, so I never paint one painting at a time. I like to start multiple ones at once and work almost like an assembly line; taking one colour onto my palette and using it across every canvas that needs it, until that colour is complete, then I’m on to the next colour! It helps to keep the flow going and to not get stumped on a painting. Other than that, painting instinctively kicks in and my brain goes blank, so I can’t really give you any more explanation of the process! 

If you could give any piece of advice to new artists, what would it be?

It’s so easy to get lost on social media comparing yourself to other artists and thinking you’re not doing enough/good enough/ posting enough/painting the right things...the list could go on forever. I know it’s easier said than done (I get caught in it myself sometimes too) but try to remember that everyone’s path in art is different than others, it’s not a “one size” fits all journey, and what works for some may not work for others! I truly believe the only constant across all successful artists, whether it’s their job or not, is that they ENJOY what they are doing and they work HARD. That’s personally what I love about being an artist. There is no plateau to the growth of your skill if you’re willing to put in the time! It may not be linear, but you will inevitably get better if you keep working and push yourself to try new things. Compare the first page of your sketchbook to the last, not to what another artist's work looks like, and I promise you will see your progression. Any progression is positive! Don’t forget what made you love creating in the first place.