Eric Walker

#CouncilSpotlight – Eric Walker

Jennifer Clark

Eric Walker: Chasing Inner Bigness

Eric Walker

The Ottawa Arts Council supports artists and arts organizations through leadership, guidance and the provision of opportunities to advance our local creative potential.

Our series #CouncilSpotlight presents stories and experiences of Arts Council members and art award recipients.

Eric Walker received the Ottawa Arts Council's Corel Endowment Fund for the Arts Award in 2011 to purchase materials for a solo exhibition at the Cube Gallery.

Where are you from? Are you from the Ottawa area?

EW: I'm from Halifax originally, but have lived in Ottawa for 25 years.

How did you get involved in the Ottawa arts community?

EW: I was already established as an artist in Halifax, so when I came here I just fit into the local scene.

How would you describe your artistic practice/discipline?

EW: I work in both painting and video. My painted constructions are like collages, made from found materials on plywood,  but conform to a modernist approach to image making. They were post-modern before post-modern was cool. My videos cover a broader range of video aesthetic, but are mostly experimental in some way.

What impact has your involvement with the arts/the Ottawa arts community had on your life?

EW: I left Halifax soon after finishing at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. I lived in Montréal for two years before coming to Ottawa, but never really fit in there. Ottawa is like my home now.

Is there a specific moment/situation in your art career that you remember fondly?

EW: I did a show at the Canadian Embassy Art Gallery in Tokyo in 2002. I remember thinking how proud I was to come from Ottawa, half way across the world to show the work I made here in Ottawa in a little studio on James Street. Proud to be a Canadian, too.

Do you have any advice for artists in the Ottawa community or artists in general?

EW: The center of the art world is wherever you happen to be. Only simple people believe there are places you can go to be recognized and make it big. That does happen for a few artists, but generally you have to see some kind of value in being where you are and working hard. The work itself is important, not what curators say about it. Your work has to have an inner bigness that transcends rhetoric.

What are you currently working on?

EW: I'm getting ready for my Canadian Forces Artists Program G7 exhibition at the Canadian War Museum in February. I'm showing an overhead view painted construction and a high definition video called The View From Point Pleasant.

What was it like to receive an award from the Ottawa Arts Council? How did it impact your career?

EW: It was a great honour. I've received many grants over the years and every time I've been humbled in a way, by the support of my peers. But winning the Corel Endowment was a particular recognition from the people in my community. I'm very proud of it.

Want to learn more about Eric and find out where you can see his work? Visit him at


Nominations for the Ottawa Arts Council's Corel Endowment Fund for the Arts Award open February 2018.