Bergland artist to be featured at gallery

Peggy Revell

A decade of toiling over his art has come to fruition as Bergland artist Tony Sepers will see his “Watch for Pedestrian” exhibit go on display at the Pictograph Gallery in Atikokan from Jan. 8-Feb. 16.
“It has to do with being human and the profundity of being human,” Sepers said about the numerous paintings and pieces he’s been creating over the past 10 years, with inspiration for them being drawn from the walking figure seen on crosswalks.
“The reason I use [the figure] is because it isn’t anyone or anything, and you can load it up with whatever slice of humanity it needs or is necessary at the time,” he explained.
“So if I have an idea about something that has to do with being human, I will follow that idea through with painting.
“Painting is another way of reasoning,” Sepers added. “It’s another way of trying to figure out why what’s what, what’s real and what’s not, and to try to sort that out loud.”
His work with “Watch for Pedestrian” already has been on display at Winnipeg’s Cre8ery Gallery in November. Now, district residents will be able to see it in Atikokan’s gallery thanks to funding by the Ontario Arts Council.
“It’s such a brave outfit because it’s such a small community, 3,000-3,500 people, and they have an art gallery? A public outfit?” Sepers remarked, referring to the Pictograph Gallery.
Born in the Netherlands, Sepers immigrated to Guelph, Ont. with his family in 1957. He first studied commercial art at what is now Mohawk College in Brantford, and had various exhibitions throughout the region.
He returned to school, attending the University of Guelph and graduating in 1979 with an Honours B.A. in Fine Art.
Living in Fergus, Sepers established a picture-framing, small gallery, and art supplies store with his wife, Karen, had various art exhibits, and was active in the arts community of that area.
His wife—whom he married in 1969—originally is from Rainy River District. and it was on a return visit to the area that they decided to sell everything they had and move up to the north 10 years ago, with Sepers concentrating on painting.
Many may be familiar with Sepers’ wife, Karen, as she ran the grocery store in Bergland up until the end of August of this year.
“I wanted to do something that meant something to the locals,” Sepers said of his choice of using the pedestrian figure, noting he’s a figurative painter.
“I figured that a ‘watch for pedestrians sign,’ it’s not only figurative but [people] can relate to it.
“And the creative things that you can do with it are endless, really—so far, so good that is.,” he remarked, adding that “by the look of it,” he could go another 10 years.
“There will come a time when I’ll want to put it aside for something else,” he admitted.
While the theme started out as being about the “pedestrian” figure, Sepers noted the letters he has included have become “just as important.”
“I also use letters throughout all of my work basically,” he said about the pieces that will be in the exhibit in Atikokan.
“There are times when the letters are more important than the figurative. And to me, [a] letter is almost like a person in the sense that they form association, to provide meaning and to group meaning.
“It’s a very wonderful thing if you think about it,” he enthused.
To see some of Sepers’ work and more, visit his website at
Information on The Pictograph Gallery, including its hours of business, is available online at