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Artists at school


Mark Philip Venema

Performing arts


Mark Philip Venema

Mark Philip Venema works in painting, printmaking, photography and installation. Examples of his work include installing a public piano painted in bold colours for his patron, South African singer Lorraine Klaasen. In another project along the DMZ in Korea, Venema dug a trench with Korean soldiers, lining it with books instead of sand bags; "Entrenched Thought" was televised on national news in Korea. For a social media project called #MailART, he organized 70 artists to exchange 2,500 postcard-sized works of art; watercolour, printmaking, collage and drawing. He has given talks about social media and art, understanding protest art, and encaustic painting. Venema studied fine art at the University of Lisbon in Portugal and received his MFA in Studio Art from Concordia University in Montréal.

Proposed approach and type of activities

As a printmaker and painter, Venema's first interests were in representational art, especially in perspective on two-dimensional surfaces. While working with prints, Venema discovered an interest in the texture of paper and three-dimensional objects constructed out of such. With a previous career in journalism, Venema often uses historical events or printed stories on newsprint to begin his work. For example, an article torn from a newspaper may be the basis of a painting or drawing, even though it is not "formally" evident in the final work. In this way, Venema's work carries forward the emotional impact of relevant historical events. Installation and social media projects were a natural outgrowth of this process, where physical public spaces and interaction with the public in virtual space become important.

Other examples of activities

Workshop 1

Mail art: Reaching out beyond the virtual

This workshop can be adjusted to all grade levels with varying degrees of complexity and be finished and cleaned up within one hour or less. The main idea is to get students thinking about contacting other people—whether "strangers" across cultural and linguistic boundaries or friends—by means of "physical" visual art through the mail, not merely through virtual space. We will discuss “What is 'mail art?'” While the project takes into account the safety concerns involved with contacting "strangers," students will be challenged to consider that contacting people they do not know personally can be a rewarding experience and not a frightening one. Students will draw with permanent black Sharpie ink pens and watercolour paints and produce one to three mail art postcards within a session. Watercolour techniques will be taught for what works best with mail art. The teacher or students will discuss with the artist who will be the recipients of the mail art postcards. Some suggestions include another classroom of culturally or linguistically different students of the same age for possible correspondence in Canada or abroad, elderly residents in a retirement home, patients in a sick children's hospital or prison inmates.

Special conditions

With regard to materials, workshops should be discussed with the teacher or school liaison. Depending on the workshop, students may need watercolour paints, Sharpie permanent ink pens, markers, posterboard and card stock materials. Watercolour painting card stock for the mail art session would be cut to size and provided by me at a certain cost.

For information

Phone : 514 746-7537
Email :

Subject to taxes (GST, PST)



All levels

Available in

Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, Capitale-Nationale, Montréal, Outaouais, Laval, Lanaudière, Laurentides, Montérégie

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