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Vanessa Zita Vanderidder

In 2006 Vanessa sustained a traumatic brain injury in a freak accident. She began painting to express emotion and found it allowed her to focus her attention, relax and get lost in the colour and texture of oil paint. She now creates her abstract paintings on large canvases using a mixed medium.

 "Nothing truly specific [inspires my paintings]: it is more the relationship I have with oil on my hands and a white canvas in front of my face. From there I get lost in emotion; true happiness, pain, love. I paint when my paralysis comes out. I paint when I’m sad. I paint when I’m happy. I paint when I’m lost. I paint because I can. I’ve painted with friends for fun, and encouraged them to express themselves, because when someone paints nothing is wrong, and everything is beautiful. I love to see their emotions come out. Painting is an instrument for me. I paint with my heart.

"My artwork comes from emotion. When I’m in love the painting can take the beautiful form of a woman. The colours I use often represent my feelings of pain or survival. Whatever colour calls to me first I use, and then I move on from there. Whatever feelings I’m going through, my paintings embody that. Sometimes I have sip of my favourite portuguese wine.  Sometimes I laugh. Sometimes I cry. Whatever I feel in that moment I express with paint. It just happens. A major theme seems to be water and the ocean, which to me represents freedom. It reminds me of Portugal, reminds me of being a child. Every single piece is very personal."

At this point in her career Vanessa has been featured on CBC London radio and in Curve Magazine. Her artwork has made appearances in various editions of Our Homes Magazine and hangs on the walls of Western’s Interdisciplinary Research Building. It also can be seen in several commercials, movies and TV shows, such as The Rick Mercer Show.

Vanessa has participated in the Visual Fringe Festival, Pride Art Show and the 2017 Fall Art Show at The Aeolian Hall. She has recently opened her own art studio and is apart of the 2019 London Artists’ Studio Tour. A philanthropist at heart, Vanessa supports the London Brain Injury Association, All Breed Canine Rescue, the London Lesbian Film Festival and other local charities.

She is an artist. She is a survivor.

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