I was born in Deventer, Holland, in 1946. As a child, I saw wartime destruction represented in fields of broken brick and odd artifacts of the German occupation. Also, I well remember the stories told by my relatives. Death was a subject learnt at a young age and, from that understanding, came forth a deliberate lifelong study of theology and philosophy.
In 1954, my parents brought me to Canada as my father decided, after being involved in two wars (WWII and the Indonesian Colonial Revolution), that Europe was an inherently unhealthy place to raise a son. Language being a bit of an issue, I did have some problems adapting to English, as I only knew two words; cowboy and OK.
My very first drawings were airplanes and the earliest criticism I received, at age seven, made a lasting impression on me. A school teacher pointed out mistakes in perspective regarding the placement of the wings in relation to the fuselage of an airplane drawing. I am deeply indebted to her observation since it had dual effects:
- It convinced me she thought enough of my drawings to supply helpful criticism.
- I was able to understand and change from that criticism.
During the intervening years, from those early beginnings to my first real taste of the ‘Art World,’ my parents supplied me with sketch pads, oil paints, books and assorted materials in order to promote my art. Without these encouragements, painting may never have become a lifelong interest.
My enrollment into H.B. Beal’s art program in London, Ontario (1968) precipitated my serious attempts at painting. The vibrant art scene that prevailed there during the late 60’s, peaked my interest even further. An earlier ‘hobby’ had become a serious endeavour.
Three teachers at Beal were responsible for this shift in my perspective. They were:
Herb Ariss – with remarkable works in pen and ink, he conveyed the horrors of war on a personal level.
Rudolf Bikkers – created inspirational paintings of vision and is an expert calligraphist/lithographer.
Don Bonham – a cutting-edge sculptor.
On the peripheral scene were artists such as Greg Curnoe, Tony Urguhart, Robert Phones and Jack Chambers, all active in the area at the same time. To be an art student through this particular period, in that place and time, was to set me on an inevitable course. Eastern philosophies, primitive art, Native American traditions and the study of Jungian psychology formed the primary focus of my work.
Art must reflect life as the artist sees it, balanced within the material and inner worlds.
Antonie H. Los