by Riley Cassidy, Airdrie Echo
An Airdrie-based artist and community advocate was featured front and centre of an international magazine that went into circulation this month. Veronica Funk, an Airdrie-based artist with clients around the world was approached by What Women Create Magazine to do an article about her inspirations and painting process when doing portraits.
Her piece was originally intended to run in January 2022, but to her surprise it was published on June 1. As well, she was caught off-guard when learning that a photograph taken by her daughter was selected for the front page of the magazine. Funk’s article within the magazine centres around her inspirations behind her “The Grandmothers” project and her process of painting portraits. The project caught the eye of What Women Create publisher Jo Packham, and Funk said the project had special meaning to her, especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Grandmothers project to me was such an important project because it started just before covid, and it was really interesting to see the women in generations before us, and what they have dealt with and overcome,” said Funk. “Especially in a time when so many of our seniors were affected by (the pandemic), and so many have died because of covid.”
One of her main messages was that anyone can succeed in their goals if they persist, she said. “I’ve lived in Airdrie for over 20 years, and I’ve developed an art career in the years that I’ve been here. Back then, it was so hard to get information on how to do what you want to do and where to start—where to find inspiration and how to know when your artwork is done,” said Funk. “I wanted to hopefully inspire other artists, and especially emerging ones. Just keep painting or drawing, or whatever it is that you do,” she said.
A second piece of her message within the magazine was recognizing the importance of elders and their knowledge. “The other thing is to share the importance of our elders and their wisdom. My project wasn’t just about painting their portraits, but about sharing their stories as well,” she said.
The front page photo features Funk in front of her latest project, “Extraordinary Women,” which features portraits of contemporary women from across Canada who serve as an inspiration to others. After making front page of the magazine, Funk has evidently proved to be an extraordinary woman herself, serving as an inspiration to others.
Funk has made art her living, serving as the art and culture coordinator at the Airdrie Public Library for a number of years, as well as an art instructor at Bert Church Theatre. She said that even in non-artistic positions, she has always found a way to include her passion.
“You’re always told that you can’t make a living as an artist, but it’s not true. I’ve been in business management, but I’ve always done interior design and even letterhead design. I’ve always used that creative part of me no matter what role I was in,” said Funk.
Funk said earning the recognition from the What Women Create Magazine and being given the opportunity to inspire others was an honour.
“I’ve always been a behind-the-scenes person, and so it’s really nice to be able to support other people however that is,” she said. “Sometimes we’re taught to make ourselves small, and I don’t think that’s a good thing. It’s very humbling.”
The What Women Create magazine can be found at newsstands in book, grocery, and craft stores. It’s distributed throughout North America, and has subscribers internationally.