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Local Artist Shines in Spotlight

Duncan Weller is a local artist and author who enjoys creating picture books for children and loves spending his

Weller, also an accomplished illustrator and painter,
Weller, also an accomplished illustrator and painter,
recently had an exhibition of 96 works at the
Thunder Bay Art Gallery.
time painting. His latest of three published children’s books, The Boy from the Sun, earned him the 2007 Governor General’s Literacy Award and the 2008 Ruth & Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Picture Book Award for artistic excellence in writing and illustration in Canadian children’s literature. Weller was selected by two juries of young readers for the latter award.

“The Boy from the Sun is primarily a celebration of the divinity in nature, with the value of human life resonating throughout,” said Weller. “The story is presented as if drawn by a child then it explodes with a child’s imagination drawn with the technical abilities of an adult artist without the loss of the child’s wonder and drive.”

The Ontario Arts Council has given Weller a grant to turn the award-winning book into an animated short film. He will be working with Confederation College graduates to help create the short film and hopes to have it completed in 2009.

Weller grew up in Thunder Bay and, after graduating from Lakehead University, he lived in British Columbia, Toronto and Montreal.

“I came back to Thunder Bay and I am staying because there is real progress lately and many exciting initiatives to participate in,” he said. “People are making an effort to beautify the city. There are so many mural and sculpture competitions, which makes it a boon for local artists.”

This May, Weller was also awarded the Lakehead University Alumni Award. “I was very honoured with the attention and ceremony surrounding these awards,” said Weller. “I’ve met wonderful people and made great connections with other writers, artists, and musicians. The awards have led to other exciting projects and have given me the opportunity to contribute not only locally, but nationally as well.”

Weller’s future not only looks bright, but is rather busy. “I’m setting up a shop of my own books - poetry and shorts stories - on my website. My next picture book is called The Love Ant. I’ve written a lengthy young adult novel called Undercats - currently under review, and I am working on writing HEGGADRAMYTH - another young adult adventure novel. I’m continuing with a new series of oil paintings featuring figures in surreal landscapes which I hope to show in professional private galleries across Canada.”