emilio portal makes intense, vulnerable, meditative and quirky interdisciplinary work that focuses our attention on the foundations of our accepted ways of living.
his work focuses on ethics and the nature of reality itself: his conviction is that all objects - human, nonhuman, animate, inanimate - inherently and innately are valuable.
his art reveres objects that are seen as trash (in all its various meanings); through craft, he honours tree’s flesh (wood) with a meticulous and ritual approach; in design, he seeks solutions to the built environment that plague 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 the continuous and ongoing destruction of countless ecosystems, has impressed onto him a sobering and grievous tone.
emilio’s own complex mixed heritage seem to echo the current ecological epoch; this manifold reality has imbued him with a deep sense of awe, concern and responsibility, which is apparent in all his work.
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.
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.