#yycLCL May 2021

An image of 10 artist pencils sharpened to each nub
Chad Budyk shared this shot of his pencil remnants on Instagram | Photo: Chad Budyk

#yycLCL May 2021

I grew up in Winnipeg and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Manitoba; in what feels like, “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.”

I don’t ever remember a time when I wasn’t drawing. After school, I worked in sign production and advertising until I met my wife and followed her out here to Calgary in ’06. This change in locale set about a change in career as well. I went back to school and became a strength and conditioning coach. Around this time my wife had our first child. Between being a new dad and having a new career, art making took a backseat. For a long time.

But as my kids got older and I found myself with more and more free time I began to slowly revisit my old friends, paper and pencil.

Creativity can come in so many forms. During my artistic sabbatical I was able to apply lessons learned as an artist to my coaching practice. Having a keen eye certainly helps when guiding an athlete toward archetypal movement patterns, and the “outside of the box” thinking that typically accompanies an artistic personality informed exercise programming decisions; both of which drove me to the top of my profession being named 2019 Top Fitness Instructor in Calgary.

Having said all that, I love drawing. It feels like home.

It can feel meditative, and time can slip by too quickly. I’ve always loved figure drawing and portraiture and when the pandemic hit, I took the opportunity to start doing more of these. With each new drawing and portrait some of the old rust seems to fall away and I’m able to apply a patience I never had before to ensure that each piece is the best I can do in that moment. As such, I feel that each drawing is better than the one before it.

Despite having a studio/craft room, our huge dining room table is the hub of all activity in our home. It’s not uncommon for all four of us to be sitting around it in the evening creating something. I’ll be drawing, my kids will be drawing or colouring (they love designing characters and comic stories), and my wife will be chipping away at a large paint-by-numbers.

Even as I sit here writing this, I look around the table and see paint pots, a jar full of water with brushes in it, a box of coloured pencils, a sketchbook, three pieces of unfinished art and none of it is even mine; which isn’t to say my corner doesn’t have its fair share of pencils, pens and a sketchbook or two. We always need to clear space to have dinner.

I’ll often teach my kids a technique or they’ll see something I’ve flagged on Instagram and want to try their hand at creating their own thing like it. My 11-year-old daughter has even started her own side hustle creating custom bookmarks using scrapbooking techniques! Trips to Michael’s are a family affair for sure.

Before we had kids, and before I was a coach there was no such thing as social media. No Facebook, no Instagram, or TikTok, no anything. There was no way for an artist to show their work to the public outside of galleries or craft fairs.

The advent of this new media has allowed me to share my work with family, friends and the world at large in a way we didn’t think possible 15 years ago. Because of this I’ve found that living creatively has become much easier and rewarding now that I have a way to share my work, not just with other artists (I’m looking at you DeviantArt) but with everyone. That’s how my Instagram page and website came about. A coaching co-worker of mine got fed up that I wasn’t putting my work out there more and so created the Instagram page and then lovingly bullied me further until I made a website. 

As things begin to open back up and I find myself coaching more I plan to continue to stay as creative as possible and even perhaps go looking for a gallery willing to show some of my work. Living a creative life is fundamental to who I am as a person, both as an artist and as a coach.

Chad Budyk is an award-winning strength and conditioning coach but, in his free time he likes to make pictures. He doesn’t constrain himself to one medium but plays wherever his interests pull him at the time. Follow him on Instagram at @chadbudyk.art and be sure to check out his website at chadbudyk.com.

Share your images! Show us how you live a creative life by tagging your Instagram snapshots with #yycLCL.