Wanda’s Arts Awards 2019: Tony (1st place winner)

A Homes First resident for nearly 10 years and a previous winner of Wanda’s Arts Awards, Tony is working on creating unique paintings that are more three-dimensional and immersive.

“I’m persistent at it and I’m thinking that I learned something skill-wise in the last couple years.”

Despite his colourful and sophisticated paintings, Tony hasn’t been a life-long artist. He first tried his hand at painting during a stay at the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health, but comes from an artistic family, including his grandfather who was commissioned to paint churches in Italy.

Finding the arts was a step towards building self-confidence. Even when life gets tough, Tony turns to painting as an escape from life. Sometimes he’ll take a break from painting, going two months without picking up a paintbrush, but it’s something he always comes back to. When he does begin a painting, he’ll often work on it all day and stay up late into the night to finish it.

“Almost everything is blank in mind and when I paint my picture, I’m trying to put something in my picture that I’m missing.”

Tony hopes to invest in some larger canvases to do a few big masterpieces, and maybe even sell them for some extra money. He knows he’s got a long way to go before that happens but for him, so for now, someone who simply appreciates his artwork is enough.

“It’s a reward for me when people like my art. It’s like getting paid,” he says. “I’m just going to keep painting.”

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