MOUNTAIN LIFE - Ontario | Winter 2016 - page 86

By Colin Field
For sculpture installation artist Dennis Lin, moving his young family to the Beaver Valley was a
chance to get away from it all; away from the hustle of Toronto. And their house in the woods
couldn’t be further from urban chaos; tucked away at the end of a dirt road they’re completely off
the grid. For Lin, it’s a chance to reinvent himself.
“It just gives me that solitude,” he says. “There’s nobody back here. The challenges with living
here showme what life is really about. We need to cut wood, we need tomaintain things and
that’s givenme a better understanding of basic survival techniques for our family. Simple stuff,
like how do I make the water not run down the driveway so our house isn’t muddy? Getting back
to the basics is allowingme to start fresh.”
That fresh start is a newly built, 4000-square-foot studio with a 15-kilowatt-per-day solar array.
He’s slowly moving all his sculptures and equipment up from the city. And soon he’ll get back to
work again.
“Before, I just wanted to show art all over the world, but that fire stopped for a while. I got
sick of travelling, I don’t want to travel, but I’m happy tomake art again. I’m looking forward to
making stuff that I’m really inspired by.”
Lin got his start at the Ontario College of Art & Design. Sort of.
“I took industrial design,” he recalls. “I did really poorly. They didn’t like me. And I didn’t like the
instructors. All the projects, they’d ask me tomake something and I’d give them something that
I thought was better, and they’d be like, ‘No.’ And after school I was just totally unemployable. I
didn’t listen to people.”
So he started screen printing and doing art shows.
“I developedmy own aesthetic for what I wanted tomake. At school I’d always mess around in
the wood shopmaking sculptures and art pieces. I did an art show and sold some stuff. Then I
did another art showwith a friend. Then one of the bigger interior designers ended up buying
a bunch of stuff for their projects. That was probably my lucky break. They just keep on calling
me for projects. A lot of other interior designers have contactedme from there: architects, private
clients, it just kind of trickles down.”
Dennis Lin inhis home studio. COLIN FIELDPHOTO.
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