A registered letter brings a pleasant surprise

Sholem Krishtalka (left), a second-year student in the MFA program in visual arts at York, opened his door at home recently to find a mailman standing on the doorstep with a registered letter. Opening the envelope apprehensively, Krishtalka found a cheque for $12,500.

“I was ridiculously happy,” said an elated Krishtalka, after learning he had won an Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Award. “This award has a reputation for being nigh impossible to bag.”

The Montreal-based foundation was established in 1955 by lawyer C.G. Greenshields, in memory of his mother. It receives some 1,500 applications annually and grants 40 to 50 awards each year. The awards are open to young visual artists from around the world. Applicants must be in the early stages of their careers, have started or completed art school training and/or have successfully demonstrated, through past work and future plans, a commitment to making art a lifetime career.

To be eligible, artists must be working in the media of painting, drawing, printmaking or sculpture, and their work must be representational or figurative, samples of which must be included with the application. The prize may be used for any art-related activities of the winner’s choice.

A large-scale, figurative oil painter, Krishtalka has a strong interest in the human form, portraiture and narrative. He plans to use the funds for travelling and to secure studio space after graduation.

Right: A large-scale, figurative oil painting by Krishtalka

“Winning this award is a tremendous vote of confidence in my work and career,” said Krishtalka.

Krishtalka’s paintings will be on display at his MFA thesis show at the Lennox Contemporary Art Gallery, 12 Ossington Ave. (at Queen St. West) in Toronto in late April 2006.

Krishtalka’s talents were also spotlighted earlier this year, as curator and participant of a group show, titled small comets: a new class of interplanetary bodies confirmed, which impressed Globe and Mail reviewer Gary Michael Dault who described the exhibition as a “brilliant little anthology” and “astoundingly good.” (See the full story in the Sept. 6 issue of YFile.)

This article was submitted to YFile by Mary-Lou Schagena in the Faculty of Fine Arts.