Born in New Westminster, BC, 1982.
Emilio Portal is an interdisciplinary contemporary artist, designer, craftsman and musician. His Peruvian and Franco-Ontario descent is a deep well of inspiration that fuels his art practice, design work and dedication to the tradition of working with wood. His work focuses on the relationship between humans and nature, what stories we cling to, which ideologies drive us, and how we develop our ethos.
A graduate of Laurentian University (BFA, 2005), Dalhousie University (B.EDS, 2007), and the University of Victoria (MFA, 2011), Emilio currently resides in Sudbury, Ontario with his wife, Elyse Portal. Since 2003, he has exhibited throughout Canada, including at la Galerie du Nouvel-Ontario, Grunt Gallery and Open Space.
Concurrently, Emilio has been operating Portal Studio, a design and woodworking studio, since 2008. He is dedicated to the honouring and continuation of traditional woodworking, and is on a daily quest to learn and growth in this respect. He has developed a keen interest in wood anatomy, movement, joinery and the evolution of tools and woodworking technology.
He has a deep passion for ecology, and sees this as the major hub of his work - both in art and craft. As a student at Dalhousie School of Architecture (2005-2007), his main field of study was in the ecology of building materials, insulation, wall assemblies, Indigenous architecture, and the ecological impact of form and geo-positioning in architecture. In respect to his art practice, Emilio sees ecology not as something outside of ourselves, but as a reflection of our values and ethos - what we do to nature, we are essentially doing to ourselves. In projects such as "flesh", Portal amplifies our relationship (or lack thereof) with the simple commodity of paper towel, and asks the question: why do we see this paper, this flesh of a tree, as a commodity in the first place?
...more to follow