Baye Hunter - Bio
Baye Hunter - BIO
My art is inspired by nature, urban environments, cultural diversity and by my experience as a cyclist. I combine photographic references to lay out a structure for an image, then spontaneously work with the medium whether it is watercolour, paper, or image manipulation in Photoshop, pulling together a range of elements of scale, texture and colour harmony.
I grew up in downtown Toronto, in a neighbourhood surrounded by ravines and parkland. This experience gave me exposure to both a diverse urban environment and nature and ingrained in me the importance of keeping the two in balance. My mother was a painter and a skilled and knowledgeable gardener and I picked up both talents from her. My father was a philosophy professor at the University of Toronto and an avid year-round all-weather cyclist. I began travelling at an early age, living a year in California in 1968, a year in Southern France in 1976, 6 months in Mexico in 1982, half a year in Melbourne, Australia in 1993 and 12 months in Hong Kong in 2009. I have always returned to Toronto where my heart truly is.
Having traveled widely and learned five languages, I have a deep love and respect for the diverse cultures that we have in the world. I see language and communication, whether oral or visual as a way of bridging cultures. I completed my Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Toronto in 1986, specializing in Spanish, film and Latin American Studies. I have also completed a Bachelor of Education (Ontario Teacher’s Certificate) and TESL Certificate. I have taught ESL to adults and children for over 20 years in Canada, Australia and Hong Kong. As a teacher of people from very diverse cultures, I seek to incorporate students’ experiences while bringing in new practical skills, trying to foster respect for the multi-cultural society that we live in and allow each person to benefit from one anothers’ differences.
I started taking pictures with an old fully manual Minolta SLR in high school when I was thirteen years old, signing up for night school courses. These courses gave me a strong foundation in composition and dark room techniques, enabling me to see photography as a process rather than a snapshot experience. I attended a downtown alternative school that allowed me to grow and take chances and explore creative expression with few inhibitions.
After high school I continued to study visual arts, photography, painting and drawing in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico at the Instituto de Bellas Artes, at the University of Toronto, the Ontario College of Art and Design, the Toronto School of Art and privately with several professional artists.
After teaching ESL full-time for several years I came back to photography as my primary means of artistic expression after the birth of my two children. I bought a digital camera to photograph my children's milestones and document the construction of my house on Toronto Island, but it soon became a way back into art for me. I became proficient in Photoshop by doing night classes and online courses. I began studying watercolour and worked intensively to become a skilled painter and illustrator. I also learned how to design websites, allowing me to combine my skills in visual and verbal communication with my creative talents.
I am now very fortunate to live on Toronto Island with my partner and two daughters. I continue to cycle every day, work part-time as an ESL teacher, paint or collage every week, and carry my camera with me everywhere. I work freelance doing web and graphic design, renovation and garden planning, planting and maintenance, and ESL consulting. I do private commissioned paintings and collages of people’s homes and I sell my greeting cards at stores around Toronto. I am a cycling advocate, believing that if more people lived their lives with cycling as their primary method of transportation, we would reduce the world’s dependency on oil, lessen world conflicts, diminish global warming and we would all live happier and healthier lives.