Dominique Hurley: VANL-CARFAC’s Member of the Month

Photo by Cathy Chicoine

Dominique Hurley moved to St. John’s from Saskatoon in June 2011, six months after receiving what she refers to as a Spirit Call. With her personal mission to explore and express her love of beauty and the beauty of love, she has made the most of her experience here through her art, travels, teaching, and simple living. Dominique has a Certificate of Art & Design (SK), two Certificates of Professional Photography (NY, BC), a degree in Recreology and Public Policy & Management  (ON), and a Masters in Education (AB). She is a juried member of the Newfoundland & Labrador and Saskatchewan Craft Councils. Since 1988, she has had several solo exhibitions and participated in group shows and arts & craft fairs.
1. When did you first realize that you wanted to become an artist?
It’s not the kind of thing I remember making a conscious decision about.  It has always been an inherent part of who I am – this desire to be creative, this fascination with colour and beauty.  I remember being in a campground somewhere in Europe when I was about 7 years old.  An artist was there with a spinning wheel on which you would splatter paint drops that immediately turned into spectacular designs.  I was so enthralled with the process that the camp counselor paid for me to try it out.  Thinking about that moment now, I can easily relive the sense of awe and elation that whole experience gave me at the time.
2. What mediums do you work in and why?
In my career as an artist, I’ve played as much with acrylic paints and mediums as with photography.  My current work is often an exploration of using these together.  First, I enjoy the versatility of acrylic paint – especially in its more fluid forms as they increase the mysterious flow of the creative process.  Also, the array of mediums available today, particularly in the Golden Artist Colors Inc. line of professional products, enhances my exploration of textures and mixed media in my artwork.  As for photography, I initially became enamoured with the process while traveling the world teaching English.  It was equally effective in bringing me fully to the moment as painting was, all the while opening my eyes to the various levels of beauty present in the natural and manufactured worlds I was discovering.  I believe that by incorporating some of the images from my travels into my paintings, I am both honoring and encapsulating the energy of those sacred places and the life within them.
3. How do you get ideas for your artwork?
I sometimes receive a vision of my next painting while in a meditative state, such as while walking or doing yoga.  Other times, my desire to incorporate a particular photograph might start things off. More often than not, however, the final outcome is a total mystery.  It evolves as I sit crossed legged on the floor with multiple canvases in front of me, often with an intention, a question, a prayer, or a feeling guiding the process.  It’s almost as if the art was being created through me, in the same way energy healers talk about their work.  It’s a collaborative effort between Spirit, my Self, and the art supplies in front of me.  As each layer dries, it inspires the next step – often taking me far from what I may have envisioned along the way.  For me, art is definitely as much about that creative process as it is about the final result. It’s about loving the mystery.
4.  What other artists influence your artwork?
I’ve never been great with remembering artists’ names or particular influences during my lifelong exploration of beauty.  I always say that I’ve been so blessed with a lifetime of travel and discovery that there isn’t enough storage space in my mind for all the details.  I do know, however, that Jean Paul Riopelle and Jackson Pollok caught my attention in my late teens, early twenties while living in Ottawa. Both the National Gallery of Canada and the University of Ottawa had some of their work on display.  I was very drawn to the freedom of expression, the texture, the depth, the colour, and non-representational nature of their work.  In more recent times, the photography of Courtney Milne, especially his Pool of Possibilities collection, opened my eyes to the deep sense of spiritual expression possible through art.  He brought me to Saskatoon to work with him and his wife for two years after my photography program, an experience I’ll never forget.  Also while in Saskatoon, I felt very drawn to the work of Janet Williams, whose canvases are alive with joy and colour.
5.  What are the ‘big’ themes in your artwork?
My art reflects the dance of Spirit in nature and within the Self, energies that illuminate, transform, move, and lead to reflection.  It’s about personal growth, spiritual expression, energy work, and contemplation, springing from the exploration of my love of beauty and the beauty of love.  This has led to featuring trees, spirals, dragonflies, butterflies, Buddhas, and phoenixes in my most recent work.
6.  What is the greatest challenge you face as an artist working in Newfoundland and Labrador?
Having moved to Newfoundland in June 2011, I would say my biggest challenge is in getting known and finding a market for my work in order to finance and keep up with my ever-growing passion for painting.  Luckily, I’ve been very fortunate in lining up several exhibitions in St. John’s, in life enhancing venues that attract a like-minded clientele (e.g. various yoga studios, The Sprout Restaurant, The Natural Health Shop). I’ve also been part of group events with various local and provincial arts organizations that have helped me network with fellow artists and art-loving crowds.
7.  What is the best thing about working as an artist in this province?
Since moving here, I’ve often been told that this is a wonderful province in terms of receiving both financial and professional support in the arts. I am still an emerging artist. There is so much more I want to explore in terms of integrating photography and painting, and so access to grants and residencies will be essential.  Competition is tough, but the more I try, the more I learn about myself and my art, and the better chances I’ll have at gaining such support.  I look forward to that.
8.  Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
This question evokes a sense of inner space more than that of a physical space.  I see myself both exploring and expressing my creativity in the arts on a full-time basis without outside employment or financial concerns.  Since visualization is an important step of manifestation, I’m very happy with that answer.  Indeed, I see myself comfortably living in a space of creative fulfillment.
9.  If you weren’t an artist, what would you be doing?
With my first degree in Recreology and a Masters degree in Education(TESL), I would be continuing my exploration of Canada and the world, devoting most of my time and energy to teaching and creating life-enhancing experiences.  This would probably extend from teaching English as a Second Language to leading personal growth workshops.
10.  If you could have one wish granted, what would it be?
My wish would be to always follow my Truth/ Guidance with ease and grace to live a fulfilled life of love, growth, and happiness.
Dominique Hurley
***Enter Now to be May’s Member of the Month!
Each month on the first Monday of the month a new member is profiled on this page. This is a random draw from entries received, and all entries stay in the pot until they are drawn. Each entry consists of a short bio, including web link if desired, a picture of you, and the answers to the 10 Questions listed above. Entries are to be emailed to before the end of the month to qualify for the next month’s draw.