Terry Havlis Drahos
Originally from Chicago, IL, Terry Havlis Drahos received her Bachelor of Design from Southern Illinois University. Following this, she relocated to Atlanta, GA. In 2006, she completed her Bachelor of Education at Acadia and NSCAD Universities (Wolfville and Halifax, NS, respectively), specializing in Art and Technology. Drahos currently resides in Wolfville, NS.
Increasingly involved in the Nova Scotia arts community, Drahos has served on the Board of Directors of Visual Arts Nova Scotia (VANS) and as the chairperson of the Alliance of Kings Artists (AKA). She initiated and directs the Uncommon Common Art Project (2008-present) and is a regular participating artist in VANS’ Professional Artists in the Schools (PAINTS) program. She has also been a participant in the VANS Mentorship Program, under the guidance of established artist, Susan Wood.
Drahos’ approach to art is intuitive and spontaneous. Known primarily for her vibrant oil paintings, she occasionally works in other media such as sculpture and installation. Her work often examines social identity and perceptions. Drahos has exhibited nationally, and is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including an Industry Growth Grant from Nova Scotia Tourism, Culture and Heritage. In 2005, along with two other artists, she was involved in a guerrilla art project, anonymously placing a series of sculptures throughout Wolfville over a fifteen-month period. In 2009, her solo exhibition, In Deep, opened at the Craig Gallery (Dartmouth, NS). Her installation, Assumptions was exhibited at ARTsPLACE (Annapolis Royal, NS) in 2007. Drahos’ paintings can be seen at Secord Gallery (Halifax, NS), Harvest Gallery (Wolfville, NS), Flight of Fancy (Bear River, NS) and Koyman Gallery (Ottawa, ON).
I have been a VANS member for about 10 years (as long as I have lived in NS). I have found that VANS is the best way to keep connected with both artists and arts organizations across the province. Over the past ten years I have participated in several VANS programs including PAINTS, the Mentorship Program and fundraising events. VANS has been pivotal for me both as an artist and art teacher. Mostly, I look forward to the bi-weekly newsletter, which keeps me informed of arts-related employment, submissions, residencies, and exhibitions.
The arts community in Nova Scotia is very warm and welcoming. I have found it to be very motivational in its non-competitive nature, which is refreshing.
Influence and Inspiration
The color and composition of my surroundings is my inspiration. While my paintings are loose and unpremeditated at their core, my background in design influences them. In general, I think of my paintings as abstract even though they often incorporate a drawing or photograph. They are based in basic design elements of color, line, shape and composition. The paint is applied in non-traditional ways using whatever tools are at my disposal.
Like most artists the biggest obstacle to art making is money. Dividing my time between making money and making art is a constant challenge. It is great when the two collide and I make money by making art, I recently had an exhibit at Harvest Gallery in Wolfville that brought these two things together. In the past, I was very involved in community arts organizations and projects. However, in the next year I hope to spend my time simply making artwork.
This summer I started to play with collaged boxes and other small vessels. I don’t know where it is taking me but I am enjoying making them. This fall I am dedicating my time and resources on painting. Over the past ten years I have been very goal oriented in the progression of my art practice. I have applied for grants, taken courses, submitted work for exhibition, marketed my work nationally, worked on group art projects, and volunteered for community arts groups. My goal this year is to keep a better focus on my painting practice, dedicating my time and energy in the studio.