Aiden Kirkegaard (previously de Vin) is a painter that looks at the way memories are connected to domestic spaces. Aiden graduated at the top pf her class, receiving the Medal in Fine Arts in the spring of 2020, with a major in Visual Arts and a minor in Art History and Visual Culture.
When she started in first year, she notes that she had no idea what kind of work she wanted to create. She took a variety of classes and tried to be experimental, which helped her become more focused as the years went on and she learned what was working for her and what her interest were.
“I love learning what is behind work, what philosophies the artist was exploring.” She says.
In her second year, she took her first painting course with visual arts instructor Katherine Pickering, “I fell in love with colour and abstraction!” she says with excitement.
“Aiden really seemed to find a sense of confidence in her painting practice this year and from my perspective, she’s going out into the post degree world with a real sense of confidence in her artistic voice.” says Pickering.
Living in Vernon, she was keen to stay in the area to be close to home while completing her fine arts degree. She was also excited about the community aspect of being a part of a smaller faculty and the connections that could be made with classmates and clubs on campus.
Some of the highlights from her experience at UBCO are mostly around being involved in different events. She was a part of many different clubs on campus and volunteered at art related events such as Art on the Line and the BFA grad shows to connect with other students and gain some art related experience.
Since UBCO is a smaller campus Aiden says that she felt like she was able to connect with students from different years in the program. Being part of a club called “UCM” or “University Christian Ministries”, gave her the opportunity to make friends and connect with other students outside of her program.
“I’ve made some lifelong friends through the different circles I was connected to. I also loved the open studio times when I would be painting in the studio with people from different years and we could connect about all the different things we were creating.” She adds.
In her 4th year, Aiden took a practicum course where she co-coordinated Art on the Line, an annual art auction that takes place in campus to raise finances for the Visual Arts Course Union. This event taught her so much about event planning and working with the art community of Kelowna. Along with co-organizer Sara Spencer, they learned a lot about working with catering, organizing events at the university, and promoting art related events.
“Although it was a ton of work, I enjoyed getting to work with Sara on this event. I learned so many valuable skills moving forward and into the work place for fundraising and event coordinating” she says.
In the final year of her BFA degree, she created a body of work looked at childhood memories she had growing up and how those memories could be translated through paint. Moving forward, she plans to keep painting doing work that explores more domestic spaces not tied to childhood.
Now that Aiden has competed her degree, she has started work with a Christian Non-Profit organization and will continue to work on her studio art practice.
“I have a studio set up in my apartment and so I plan to keep making work and have already been doing a few commissions since graduation.”
Aiden is planning on working towards her Masters of Fine Arts and has plans to apply for some exhibitions in artist run centres across Canada, and to do some research about artists residencies that she may want to apply to.
Katherine Pickering says that she is going to miss having Aiden in the program.
She adds: “She’s one of those students who has an extremely positive effect on her classmates because of her work ethic, and also because of her sense of community and compassion for those around her.”