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  • Gray Hammond

About Dominic Hay

Updated: Dec 19, 2022

Dominic Hay has always sought adventure. As a three-year-old he loved exploring the forests of Trinidad in search of huge black beetles and hummingbirds. Hunting for interesting critters was the origin of his #creativity. He lived across the street from a large sugar cane field, and outside his driveway was a small bridge over a tiny mountain stream. Within that little ravine was an enormous spider web, bigger than he was, holding a spider whose body was bigger than his hands. Looking closer, he could see that she was as big around as his own head.

The symmetry of the perfect orb web and the enormous spider fascinated Dominic, and he often revisited that enchanted place.

Dominic’s grandmother trained his mother to be a concert pianist. He became familiar with classical music early on and was very moved by the dark moods of Beethoven. His father was an industrial process engineer who was always fixing something, often with Dominic holding a light as he worked patiently to find a problem, then invented a solution to solve it. This early immersion in #art and science, plus his natural curiosity and his teaching ability, have marked Dominic’s career ever since.

Dominic has been a student of visual arts and creativity all his life. He took his first art lessons before the age of five, but that wasn’t a positive experience as so many of the other kids were always screaming and throwing paint. His paper mâché balloon collapsed – he tried to paint the crumpled mass along with the other kids, but the instructor became angry, sent him home, and he was dropped from the program – for trying to apply paint in an art class!

Despite that introduction to arts education, Dominic graduated from the University of Toronto in Fine Art History where he focused on the creative impulses of the artists he studied, searching for common threads within visual cultures.

He worked for over 20 years as a sculptor, visual artist, and graphics designer. He taught sculpting at the Royal Ontario Museum, and at the Living Arts Centre he taught drawing classes to people who believed they couldn’t draw, to great acclaim from his students. During this time Dominic became interested in pattern and how visual resonance created excitement within artworks, as well as how natural phenomenon such as the human ability to recognize faces worked cognitively, and how humans could see unintended images within the natural world.

As Dominic studied more about brain function, he began to see how the human ability to sort out signals from noise was a core building block of creative activity. This led him to study geometry, which led to more ideas such as mathematical proofs and the foundations of logical reasoning, and the descriptive structures of languages. From these roots Dominic studied ideas about how people became social creatures, and what leads individuals to affiliate themselves with tribes, cultures, or brands. In doing so, Dominic looked to understand how individuals and societies form and support identity structures that are the basis of cultures. From there he started asking questions about how those cultures perceived their own creativity, and what roles it played within societies.

Dominic’s natural visual sense enables him to see at once which features of a pattern are the same, and which are different. In recent years he has profitably applied this talent to analyzing graphs of commodities markets.

Dominic is past president of The Mississauga Arts Council, and the Toronto Bicycling Network, and was Chairman of the Incorporating Board for the Community Foundation of Mississauga.

He still has his collection of three hundred model airplane kits which he has been building since childhood, making many of the parts himself from scratch.

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