The feature wall in the foyer at Communitas Supportive Care Society in Abbotsford was recently updated with an art display by Shane Toy.
The paintings are colourful and vibrant with a childlike quality to them, but take a closer look and you see that the artist has depicted his surroundings with a keen eye for detail.
Toy had painted in high school, and when he discovered a community art class at the River Church in Abbotsford, he decided to take it up again.
“Painting makes me feel calm,” he says, adding he enjoys interacting with other artists who attend the weekly classes.
Toy is a familiar face at Communitas and in Abbotsford. He participates in Communitas’ Community Living Program (CLP) and CLP-Employment.
He works for Communitas and also for the Grounds Guys, keeping parking lot areas free of garbage.
Toy likes a clean environment and, even when he’s not working, he can be seen around the city, picking up trash and collecting bottles for recycling.
Highlighting Toy’s artwork in the Communitas foyer is one way to celebrate another side of him.
Veronica Harms, the graphic designer for Communitas and an artist herself, loves Toy’s work.
“I like the way he sees the details in the world around him and how he portrays that in his art. It is very simple but profound at the same time,” she says.
Toy has always lived in cities and this is where he draws his inspiration. He likes the way cities connect with nature and this can be seen in his artwork.
Buildings intersect with trees and flowers. The surrounding mountains, rivers and sky feature strongly in his paintings as well.
His eye for detail can be seen in little things like lights over the door of each home, the swing set in the playground of a school, or the fact that the snow doesn’t fully cover the roof of each house. Sometimes his paintings include little messages, like “God loves you.”
Toy’s paintings can be viewed online at CommunitasCare.com/stories/discovering-a-new-talent.