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Dream turning real for DMCI artist

National Gallery of Canada to display, judge young artist’s painting this month

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His art earned a Gold Key Award in New York this spring — placing his name among those of past winners such as Andy Warhol, Sylvia Plath, and Truman Capote — and soon one of his paintings will hang in the National Gallery of Canada.

Eighteen-year-old West End artist Christian Miranda, who is graduating from Daniel McIntyre Collegiate Institute this year, is seeing his life come into focus.

"I’m really excited. It’s kind of a major step for me towards my dream as a full-fledged artist and animator," Miranda said of his result in a recent National Gallery of Canada competition.

He submitted one of his paintings — Gravity of Hope — to the gallery’s So You Want to Be an Artist? contest, open to youth aged 16 to 19, and received more than 1,000 online Facebook votes to become one of 12 finalists out of about 500 submissions.

"I was asking my friends on Facebook to vote, and asking them to ask their friends and friends of their friends," Miranda said, adding he has more than 2,000 friends on the social network.

Robyn Rypp, Miranda’s art teacher at DMCI, said she opened a Facebook account for the first time just so she could vote in the contest.

"His paintings are like, totally incredible," Rypp said.

Gravity of Hope will be on display at the NGC along with those of the other 11 finalists from June 10 to July 5 (see all the works at www.soyouwanttobeanartist.ca)

An NGC jury will pick the top three. The winner will receive a trip to Ottawa, a personalized tour of the NGC, expert portfolio and career advice,  and a $500 gift certificate for art supplies.

Miranda, who hopes to attend the School of Art at the University of Manitoba, said a mentor in the Philippines influenced him to paint before he moved to Canada with his family two years ago.

He always had a natural talent for drawing.

"It’s really a gift from God," he said.

"I paint, I do digital art, I animate and do drawings, and I also practice Marvel-style drawing," said Miranda, who has two murals adorning the hallway walls of DMCI.

For the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards’ Gold Key Award, which he earned earlier this year, Miranda submitted a portfolio of eight paintings and was up against "thousands and thousands of pieces" from around the globe, Rypp said. Only about 50 Grade 12 students received the award, she said.

Seven of those eight paintings, along with works by about 150 other DMCI students, will be shown at the school on June 6 and 7 for the DMCI Celebration of the Arts 2013.

Rypp said students from Grades 11 and 12 will show about four pieces each.

"I try to have a good selection from all the grades. The exhibit is in our multi-purpose room, and we do try to fill it."

The exhibit will run from 5:15 to 7 p.m. on Thurs., June 6, and 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Fri., June 7.

Clothing/textile students from DMCI will also be putting on a fashion show at 6 p.m. on Thursday and at 12:30 p.m. Friday.

The art and fashion shows are free and refreshments will be served.

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