“Life just feels unreal right now. I feel incredibly blessed. The CNC Fine Arts program changed my life.”
Those are the words of Sebastian Nicholson, a 24-year old from Prince George who graduated from CNC with a Fine Arts Certificate in 2018.
Sebastian, however, didn’t always feel so lucky.
He actually started the Fine Arts program at CNC, with a full course load, in 2012, right after high school. But making enough money to live, while studying full-time proved difficult for the then 18-year-old.
“It was more than I could handle,” he said. “I always loved art. Since forever, my big dream was to be an artist. But it’s challenging growing up with that dream; lots of people say ‘Good luck with that…’ I resigned myself to doing art as hobby and got a ‘real job’.”
Sebastian started working as a timber cruiser and kept at it for several years. But he always felt like something was missing.
“I was unhappy and not doing what I loved,” he said. “I decided no more.”
With the support of his family and a little more life experience and financial savings, Sebastian returned to CNC to start the Fine Arts program a second time. This time he chose a more manageable and affordable schedule: part-time school, part-time work.
“I have never been so happy since I made that decision,” he said. “I loved everything in the classes. The instructors were so knowledgeable and encouraging. All of them are practicing artists and it was phenomenal seeing their successes, and they set us up, their students, for a similar path.”
Though he primarily worked with watercolours and inks, Sebastian tried so many different processes out of his comfort zone that breaking boundaries became the new normal for him at CNC.
Now, he continues to play with all kinds of art materials and forms.
Sebastian’s also working in the art world, having now completed several contracts at the Two Rivers Gallery in Prince George. One of his contracts involved organizing the large community event BMO Kidzart Dayz last summer.
“It was the best job I ever had,” he said. “Never before would I have thought that I could have a job I had fun doing. I have never felt more connected to my hometown and the people in it.”
Currently Sebastian works in health education during the week, but he still teaches an art class for kids every Saturday morning.
“I’m dreaming about the day that my primary profession, that my day job, is my art practice,” he said. “I’ve been working on that as much as I can.”
He’s also planning on using his CNC credits towards a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. He plans to apply to Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver, with which CNC has a partnership.
“Art is like the colour to my life,” he said. “It’s how I express myself. Art is my way of connecting with people around me and to my community. My teachers in the Fine Arts program helped me find my voice. I am an artist!”