Friday #ArtCrush is a weekly blog series highlighting students in their final year at OCAD University.  This Friday’s #ArtCrush is Sheana Canthan, a fourth year student majoring in Photography.

In this issue, Morgan and Sheana talk about how lighting changes the mood of her fashion shoots, collaborating with other artists and turning your art practice into a business.


Who or what are you main photographic inspirations?

My main photographic inspirations would be Annie Leibovitz, Nick Knight, Mario Sorrenti, Tim Walker, and Peter Lindbergh to name a few but, most of my inspiration comes from other art mediums and my surroundings as well.


What is your favourite lighting set up and camera/lens combination?

My favourite lighting setup would be rembrandt lighting. This lighting pattern gets its name from the painter, Rembrandt van Rijn who often utilized this light in his work.


Untitled #1, 2016

Can you walk us through how you set up the studio during one of your shoots?

For my shoots I usually set up the studio depending on whom or what I’m shooting and the concept/mood of the shoot. If the look is more grungy, I’d use a more harsh lighting setup, but if its something more eerie and whimsical, I’d use a softer lighting setup.


How does your shooting style change on location vs. in studio? How do you see these two options as changing the mood or lighting of your shoots?

When I shoot outdoors, I love scouting for different locations and having the subjects interact with their surroundings vs. in studio unless I have a set stylist working with me, sometimes I might be limited on props and create a story around what resources I have. Depending on whether I shoot on location, or in studio, I always preplan the lighting setup that best conveys the mood for the story I have in mind.


What subject matter do you tend to spend the most time working on?

The subject matter I tend to shoot the most are people and fashion.


Untitled #2, 2016

Do you collaborate with other artists on your shoots? What do you see as valuable about collaborations between artists?

I do collaborations with all types of artists whether it is a stylist, illustrator, a sculpture and installation artist or painter. I love mixing other mediums of art with my work. I think its important to collaborate, because it allows you to expand your horizons and network with other artists, which is important in this industry.


When scouting or looking for models, who or what do you look for?

I usually have a theme or concept in mind that I want to execute and I search for models or people based on that. I also work with modelling agencies as well.


What makes you finalize the last couple images that you publish, after you have done a full shoot?

Usually images that strike to me or flow with each other and best convey the story or concept I had in mind for the shoot.


Untitled #3, 2016


Where do you see your career path going and who would you most like to work with/for?

I would eventually like to shoot commercial or advertising work and be signed to an agency.


What is your advice for artists who are looking to make their art practice into a business?

This is something that I’m still learning so much about and its really trial and error and what works best for YOUR art practice. Something I wish I had started much earlier was collaborating, attending more networking events and building an online presence. The more people you meet, the more your work gets out there. Its really word of mouth in this industry, aside from have an online presence on social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Youtube depending on what your art practice is.


Untitled #4, 2016


Are their any specific OCAD U Faculty who have influenced your work? A specific discipline or course?

BETTY!!! Most of the work I produced in my first three years at OCAD was surrounding gender, sexuality and nudity. Betty really pushed me as a fine artist to think about my art practice and why I make art.


What is one piece of advice you would give to someone looking to collaborate with other artists?

REACH OUT TO THEM!!! The worst answer you will get is a no, and if so, there are a million other artists out there. (80% of the time it’s a YES)


To see more of Sheana’s work you can visit her website

and instagram: @sheanacanthan


See Sheana’s work at the

102nd Graduate Exhibition at OCAD University, May 3rd-7th.

Friday #ArtCrush is a weekly blog series highlighting students in their final year at OCAD University.

Interview by Morgan Sears-Williams

About the writer: Morgan is a fourth year photography student and runs the Friday #ArtCrush series on the OCAD U Photography Blog. She loves speaking to other artists about social justice, how to break barriers within artist communities and nurturing the arts in alternative spaces. She is the Art Director for The RUDE Collective, a student representative on the Photography Curriculum Committee and has done workshops on intersectionality and allyship relating to LGBTQ folks. To see more, you can visit her website or her instagram.