COVID marked a turning point in Lori Mirabelli’s life.
The Sault native took a second look at where she was going and joined poet Robert Frost on the road less travelled.
After a 21-year career with the Children’s Aid Society, Mirabelli jumped full-time into the abstract art world.
While at CAS she trained workers and foster parents in the GTA.
When COVID hit, the classes went on-line. All of a sudden, she gained three hours in her day that were usually spent commuting to and from work.
Mirabelli was able to ramp up her art endeavours while working at her full-time job. The internet, which became overwhelmingly important for everyone during the pandemic, provided her with venues to get her art noticed by a wider audience.
Everything was falling in place, while the rest of the world was confused. It almost made her feel guilty.
“Everybody else in the word was homebound,” she said. “Last year, my Instagram went viral as well as my YouTube channel.”
Residents of 15 Brunel Court in Toronto don’t need the internet to see her work. One of her latest creations has become part of their lives.
“I was able to create a commissioned painting which was 18x13 feet inside my condo on King Street East. The commissioned piece was for a condo lobby renovation,” she said.
The condo board at Brunel Court took a year to make the selection from about five other entrants.
It was a big piece of art and a big moment for Mirabelli when it was installed.
The meaning of abstract art, according to Oxford, is “art that does not attempt to represent external reality, but seeks to achieve its effect using shapes, forms, colors and textures.”
The piece at Brunel Court represents the natural beauty of where Mirabelli grew up, coupled with the urban atmosphere of trains, cranes and condos in downtown Toronto and how they co-exist.
It was a rewarding feeling, but Mirabelli also found the work at CAS fulfilling.
“I loved working with the families and foster parents,” Mirabelli said, adding that she took pride in trying to help families stay together.
Art provided Mirabelli with a place to escape from the stress of her job.
“Making art is my safe zone, my protection – a place where I can go that’s safe from everything and just let myself be in the moment. I’m thankful that I have that ability,” she said in an interview with FLY on the Gallery Wall.
Mirabelli admits her teen years in Sault Ste. Marie were “misspent.”
She didn’t finish high school, but even back then art was a motivation and inspiration.
“I can remember the moment when I realized that I was a creative person. I was probably about 8 or 9 years old. It was Christmas time and my aunt gave my sister and me a color by number kit. I think it was a picture of deers,” Mirabelli told 123 Art Magazine.
She went back to school as a mature student, which led her on the path of working at CAS. While at university her talents were recognized by a professor in one of the fine arts courses she took while completing her major in psychology.
“The professor who taught that course took a keen interest in me and made me promise him that once I graduated from university, that I would continue to pursue a career in the arts,” she said in the 123 Art Magazine interview.
Moving to Toronto in 2009 made sense for her as an aspiring artist and now a full-time artist with connections in North America and even at some galleries in Europe.
In the future Mirabelli said she has to keep trying to promote herself, even though she said PR is not her strength.
Mirabelli's website link is