emilio portal is an interdisciplinary artist, craftsman, designer and musician who was born in new westminster, british columbia of peruvian, spanish, french, irish, huron-wendat and algonquin heritage. emilio holds a bfa in fine art from laurentian university, a bachelor of environmental design studies (architecture) from dalhousie university, a permaculture design certificate, a natural building passport issued from o.u.r. ecovillage, and a masters of fine arts from the university of victoria.
the underlying motif of his work seems to lie in the domain of ethics: his conviction is that all objects - human, nonhuman, animate, inanimate - inherently and innately are valuable. his art pays respect to discarded paper towels, detritus found in a dumpster, slag dumped by mining corporations, ancient peoples annihilated by war, disease and intentional political genocide; through craft, he honours trees and their flesh (wood) with a meticulous and ritual approach; in design, he acknowledges, researches and attempts to discover solutions to the built environment that plagues the world with pollution and suffocating emissions; in music, he plays intuitively, allowing sound and rhythm to breathe. growing up in northern ontario, and experiencing, at a young age, the continuous and ongoing destruction of countless ecosystems, has impressed onto him a sobering and grievous tone. despite these surroundings, and more importantly, he values the joy found in simple moments, plain exchanges, good humour, and times of quietude, all of which often prove to be abundant caches of the profound and sublime.
he has exhibited throughout canada, notably at open space in victoria, bc, grunt gallery in vancouver, bc, and la galerie du nouvel-ontario in sudbury, ontario. he has worked with a multitude of artists and curators, namely rebecca belmore, peter morin, clayton windatt, jessica karuhanga, golboo amani and elyse portal.
in 2011, emilio and elyse portal started making art together under the moniker ee portal. their performances and installations address historic and contemporary environmental and spiritual issues. collaboration, negotiation and agreement are at the core of their creative process.
over the past decade, through portal studio, he has also completed numerous commissions for clients in british columbia and ontario as a designer, carpenter and furniture-maker.
currently, portal holds the position of fabrication lab technologist at the mcewen school of architecture, laurentian university. he is a long-standing board member at la galerie du nouvel-ontario. he resides in sudbury, ontario with his wife elyse portal and their son teo.
he is also a proficient live and studio multi-percussionist.