Trap X Art Toronto


My latest acrylic work was recently on display at the Toronto Trap x Art show at The Boat Restaurant in Kensington Market, Toronto. It was a hip hop/ urban show with fantastic music, body painting, and live art displays. I was fortunate enough to be invited to display my art along side other emerging Toronto artists.

Trap x Art Toronto October 10, 2019 art display of Stephanie Konu featuring acrylic medium on canvas
Trap x Art Toronto October 10, 2019 art display of Stephanie Konu

This was the first time that I have ever displayed my work in a freeform venue where I needed to bring my own hardware (easel, display grids etc). When I realized that I needed some kind of system other than a table to make my display, I became worried about what to do. I knew it was unlikely that I could create enough easels to show 14 pieces, and the canvas grids available at Uline would have required several days to ship. The venue was on the second floor of a building in a very busy area of Toronto near Dundas and Spadina, so I knew that I needed to have the ability to carry my setup from the car in 2 trips or less.

I kicked myself for not planning things better.

Using my creativity and problem solving abilities, I sourced a 6 x 3 foot piece of welded fence from Home Depot ($17 CDN) and had it cut into two manageable pieces with a pair of bolt cutters. The structure was rigid enough to support the weight of my canvases; and after taping up the sharp edges from where the welded metal had raw cuts, I was very happy with th result. I was even able to add in a neon light in the shape of an “S” on my display.

Artist Stephanie Konu poses with her original art painted canvases at The Boat Restaurant, Toronto, Canada October 2019

The show was a success, and I made some sales of my original acrylic artwork. I chose to include pieces that related to each other by style, which worked well visually. I’m thankful for the invitation to display my artwork, and I am looking forward to more opportunities like this one in the future.

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Acrylic Portraits

My latest work is a study in portraiture.

African woman with gold accent and blue background  acrylic on canvas by Stephanie Konu
African woman acrylic on canvas by Stephanie Konu
African woman with blue background and gold Accent acrylic on canvas by Stephanie Konu
African woman acrylic on canvas by Stephanie Konu

It was an unexpected leap to go from illustrating portraits to painting them. I had a few gut-wrenching interludes, yet I found myself happy with the finished work.

Young woman of colour 1 of 2 acrylic on canvas with green shirt and blonde hair
Young woman of colour 1 of 2 acrylic on canvas with green shirt and blonde hair
Close up blue background Young woman of colour 1 of 2 acrylic on canvas with green shirt and blonde hair
Close up Young woman of colour 1 of 2 acrylic on canvas with green shirt and blonde hair

I enjoy painting details with fine brushes. Usino a watered-down high quality black acrylic, I achieve an easy flow to outline each figure.

 portrait of artist Stephanie Konu in 1980s vintage style colours green, blue and ebony
portrait of artist Stephanie Konu in 1980s vintage style colours

I’m having so much with this and I am excited to see what I develop next.

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Vaughn Ontario Culture days


I love autumn. It is my favorite season. Warm afternoons, cool mornings, and the perfect nights that require blankets with an open window are plentiful during this time of year.

Autumn is also a fairly busy time of year. Many of us are returning from summer vacations are are back to the daily grind. There are many art shows as well that pop up as the year comes to an end.

I had the pleasant opportunity to participate in an art exhibition early in September of 2019. The show took place at an historic estate that once belonged to JEH Macdonald of the Group of Seven. The event was in Thornhill, but was sponsored of The City of Vaughn.

Myself and 20 other artists exhibited our artwork during the weekend.

The show brought in approximately 100 people, and there were a few sales.

The highlight of the event was the opening reception. I was able to meet fellow artists who shared similar passions.

I’m very happy to have been invited to the show, and look forward to more autumn exhibitions like this one.

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Llama unicorn illustration


I have been trying my hand at using humor in my illustration work. I like to think that I can be quite funny, but telling jokes is not one of my strengths. I often mix up the details of a joke by telling the punchline too soon, or by laughing at the joke before I have finished telling it. I am better at giving witty remarks and comebacks than telling structured jokes. I always marvel at standup comedians who are able to recall hours of jokes and retell them in what seems like an effortless fashion.

My latest illustration work is a funny and misleading drawing of a llama with a horn. The wording beneath is acerbic, and doesn’t match with the fun and bright picture it is paired with. I think it works well for that specific reason.

White llama with unicorn horn funny caption everyone you know hates you
Llama with funny wording why stephanie konu

I think that this would make a great book cover. I would love to write somthing funny that would fit with this title. Perhaps I should begin working on my joke telling abilities.

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Illustrating comics with 3 panels

3 panel repeat illustration black woman
3 panel repeat illustration

One of the things I like the most about illustration is that it allows me to express ideas in a diverse way. I have more freedom to explore ideas that normally would have been difficult to attempt with paint and canvas. Furthermore, with illustration I can use technology to copy and paste multiple sketches, change their size, and manipulate the scenery much easier than before.

The above illustration is an example where I have used technology to manipulate a previous sketch of myself into a 3 panel repeat illustration. I have copied and repasted the image into 3 panels. I added an abstract motif inspired by green cactus to make the image more decorative. I like the way it turned out, and it has a fun “summer” vibe to it.

Asian man covers eye illustration by Stephanie Konu
Asian man covers eye illustration by Stephanie Konu

This illustration has the same idea as the previous one, except the decorative bamboo leaves are in the background of the illustration. Using technology, I merged the repeated subject at the shoulders to create continuity along the bottom edge. Thinking back, I would have been more creative if I had the subject covering his ears and mouth in the repeated images to make a “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil” reference. It is an amazing feeling to play around with different ideas and to see the end result. I am looking forward to working on more comic type illustrations that include words and meaningful quotes.

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Afrocentric Fairy illustration

Sometimes I think to myself:

“Stephanie, your artistic practice is bipolar.”

I tell people that my artistic practice started in 2012 with sewing, but I suspect it started long before that. I have always made things.

I remember making potions out of my parents toiletries, and handing in books I made for school projects.

I think my early years lacked focus. I needed outlets but had no connection to anything tangible.

My illustration work evolved from a desire to deepen my ability to communicate through visual arts. Painting on canvas is amazing, but expensive. I started teaching myself how to draw basic lines and shapes, and eventually discovered the wonderful world of digital drawing with a stylus on my Samsung Note. I suppose everything after that discovery is history.

Afrocentric black muse fairy floating in illustration over artists head
Stephanie and her afrocentric muses

My latest illustration is one that I simply adore. It is an illustration of the artist (me) with shading and highlights. The line work is black and thin. Two African fairy creatures float above my head to sprinkle ideas and inspiration into the surrounding air. The sprinkles appear as stars in my orbit.

The colour scheme was painfully decided so that they would blend well and create an attractive image holistically. Tans and pale yellow against a deep background that appears bluish green. Lovely.

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