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Arts and sciences

By Kelly Foss

He may have started with finger paints, but today Ian Wilding's art is a little more elegant. His preferred canvas is a computer screen and his chosen medium Photoshop.

Though the fourth year physics student has always enjoyed art, he decided to concentrate on science when it was time to attend university. The creative process continued to be a draw for him however, and he couldn't resist creating advertising posters for the volunteer organization, Rotaract – a university based service club sponsored by the Rotary Club.

Earlier this year, a Rotaract member asked Mr. Wilding to redesign a flyer for a business and that first taste of work as a professional graphic designer encouraged him to try his hand at it more seriously. Self taught, he mainly does posters in his spare time on themes that interest him, primarily video game and movie posters.

"I look at other people's work and see what I am attracted to in their art," he said. "There are a few sites online where artists can post their work for comments and criticism. I follow my favourite artists on these sites so I decided to post some of my work for them to review."

Mr. Wilding's initial posts received much feedback and positive comments and one of his pictures was posted to another blog site that received even more hits. Eventually his work was noticed by Kotaku, a popular website about video games which features news stories, reviews and forums.

"A completely random person suggested to the website that they look at my work and they liked it, so they wrote about it and posted pictures. I woke up one morning and there it was and people were talking about it. It got a lot of views that day and since then it has gotten even more."

To date the page has received more than 200,000 views and numerous comments and 'Likes.' He began making prints of his works available for purchase and now works with online stores to sell his art on T-shirts.

"I know I'm not going to make much money at it. It's just fun to get it out there and for people to see it and like it," said Mr. Wilding. "It's rewarding to know people like it and want to have it on their walls."

That isn't to say he's giving up physics for Photoshop, though he isn't sure if he'll continue to design in his spare time or make it a full time job once he graduates. But he does see similarities between his interest in science and his interest in art.

"A physics degree is basically a bachelor's degree in problem solving. It's looking at problems from different perspectives and deciding how to analyze information. That's kind of how I approach what I do with art. So as different as the two are, I still approach them the same way because both come from a place of creative thinking. That's why it's been easy to go back and forth between the two, because they are not as different as other people might think they are."