A collaborative program between Art Starts and Toronto Cultural Hotspot titled: Naturescapes.

Naturescapes is a Signature project of the Cultural Hotspot produced in partnership with the City of Toronto.

Naturescapes is an exciting initiative that brings together 5 youth being mentored by lead artists in the animation of 2-4 ravine pathways and entrances at two York Region Parks; Earl Bales and East Don Parkland.

Youth and professional artists collaboratively conceptualize, design and craft legacy projects at ravine entrances and pathways, creatively enhancing North York’s public green spaces and ravines. This innovative youth employment project animates and enhances North York’s local ravines. A fun, festive ribbon cutting celebration will take place at each gateway project park to commemorate the unveiling of each public art installation.



Anya Mielniczek

Program Manager

Anya is a Toronto artist and environmentalist who works in both portraiture and with issues pertaining to our natural world. She is a Queen’s University alumni, having received her Bachelor of Fine Arts Honours in 2012. New on the scene, Anya has worked as both an artist assistant, lead artist and program manager, getting her first taste with non-profit organizations and community-engaged arts since completing her undergrad. She is inspired and thrilled working within communities witnessing first hand the positive impact arts programming fosters and the seeds of change it plants. Lover of all things nature, you can find Anya happiest when she’s outside –in her down time picking up garbage bits and recycling plastics to put back into her own art practice. Picture by Lexiquette

Rob Matejka

Lead Artist

Born in Zilina, Slovakia, Rob Matejka began to connect visually with his world as soon as he could hold a pencil. He arrived in Toronto at age 7 with parents Miro and Xenia and younger brother Tommy. Spending much of their play and social time drawing, the brothers had obvious artistic interests and talents from early childhood. Continuing to explore artistically, Rob went on to study the Fine Arts, and has been a freelance artist ever since.

Parallel to his individual expression Rob has nurtured a long-running relationship with school and community arts programming including various youth-at-risk projects.

Rob’s personal artistic direction comes from a background in mural painting, illustration work and live performance art. Presently Rob is dedicated to expanding his BITE collection and further evolving his textile & silk-screen printing techniques and style.

Natasha Kudashkina

Lead Artist

Natasha Kudashkina has been crafting exceptionally creative work in almost every medium imaginable for almost her entire life. With a belief that the whole world is a potential canvas, she has made her mark by taking the everyday world and altering it into something more fantastic. Her style is vibrant, colourful, and creative. With her seemingly insatiable drive to create and the incredible depth of the worlds she paints every day, one can’t help but wonder if she is not actually tapped into another realm altogether. A world where the standard rules of physics, shape and color simply don’t apply. A world so rich you will see something new appear every time you view it. As a live performer, her canvases are transformed at an incredible pace. With body painting, her subject drastically changes form becoming a creature that has walked straight out of one of her paintings, bringing you one step closer to her realm as it moves closer to you.

Victor M Vazquez

Youth Artist

Victor Vazquez is a Mexican artist living and working in Toronto. Although his inspirations are an exploration of relationships, the colorful natures of his digital and traditional pieces are only enhanced by his experimentation of implied and actual textures. Victor’s love for colour and their influence on the mood of a painting is what drives his creative practice.

Currently, Victor works as a Youth Artist for Art Starts where he is creating art installations in order to help revitalize parks in Toronto. In addition, he works on monthly commissions while he develops his own personal artwork.

Daniel Petsinis

Youth Artist

His name is Daniel Petsinis (The Polish Prince/DPOWERS), you can think of him as a one of a kind gentleman. He was born on September 25, 1995 born in Toronto, ON. Daniel is a visual/performance artist that works in variety of different mediums including: paint, pastel, encaustic, ink, fabric, clay, etc… As a graphic designer and a photo/video journalist; Daniel runs a business of these professions called “Genesis Promotional MultiMedia. As a musician his bands include: “Danny And The Poor Boys”, “Untouchable Troopers (UTT)”, in March, 2015. M.A.D., all as the lead vocalist. We Love It!

Haus of Bellefleur

Youth Artist

Haus of BellefleurYouth ArtistParticipated in programs such as Toronto’s The Remix Project – with a Major in Vocal Recording. Graduated in 2014 from Gemology at George Brown College and completed Art and Design Foundation with Centennial College. Stephanie is Currently Studying within The Fine Art Studio Program at Centennial and also holds First Degree initiation as a Reiki Practitioner.

I always believe in the infinite power of creation. My inspiration
and desire for this started by using my inner resources as a child
to Heal, to Love and to have a connection to the Universe.

In much of my work I use primary colors followed by strong
graphic lines. Illustration, design and symmetry are all intentional
ways in which I choose to express my vision and style.
What I like about my artwork is that I always surprise myself. The
best part about what I do, is realizing over and over again the
heart is limitless.

Art Starts - Richard PetsinisRichard Petsinis

Youth Artist

Richard Petsinis has been a lifelong artist. He has been creating houses made of popsicle sticks, K’nex, sand castles, ever since he was about 3 years old. His creating background later lead to taking animation and urban art courses, participating in doing neighbourhood art projects, along with studying Cyber Arts in middle school. His diverse background has also allowed him to make 3-D models, along with his Photoshop skills, blending his talents in photography and video making projects.
He sees the world as an art form and continues to develop his knowledge and skills to pursue a career in an art form, such as filmmaking.

Candace Kumar

Youth Artist

Candace Kumar is a dance artist from Mississauga, Ontario. She’s trained in folk, hip hop, ballet, jazz and contemporary. She explores different methods of movement by taking inspiration from the natural world surrounding her as well as her culture and emotions. She’s been dancing her whole life but recently has opened up to new mediums of expression such as painting and photography. She is currently working on her undergrad at the University of Toronto specializing in International Development Studies where she hopes to combine her passion for the arts with community development and environmental sustainability to combat social justice issues.

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