Check out the video of Jonathan Bielaski’s photoshoot with Marek Mikunda from Steam Whistle
“Be determined, pay attention to detail and respect tradition.”
Name: Marek Mikunda
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Occupation: Brewmaster, Steam Whistle Brewing
Marek’s love for brewing started at a young age in the Czech Republic. He always knew he wanted to be a brewmaster so he started at a brewing technical school at just 15. By 18, he had brewed his first beer at a brew house in Prague. The challenge was to make sure that the process was perfect, otherwise, the next batch wouldn’t be very good.
Marek travelled the world before he settled in Canada in 2000. Five years later he joined Steam Whistle. Because Steam Whistle focuses on brewing one kind of beer instead of offering variety like the other brewers, they are steadfast in a focus on quality instead. With respect for the traditional methods instead of cost-cutting or wild experimentation, Marek can focus on delivering consistently great beer.
His passion for beer comes from the heart. “You need to put a lot of dedication in to beer,” says Marek. “Otherwise you won’t have a great product.”
You may think that brewing one kind of beer, a Pilsner, would make the job repetitive doing batch after batch of the same type of beer. But it’s not at all – it’s incredibly challenging. When dealing with yeast, malt, hopes and people, every day is different. Just as people have different moods, yeast can also randomly decide to work slower.
Marek’s where he is so that he can be challenged and successful in resolving those challenges. That’s what grabbed his heart about this occupation and it’s why he can’t see doing anything else but being a brewmaster for the next 20 years.
“It’s lovely to feel physically exhausted at the end of every day.”
Name: Vincent Perez
Location: Kingston, Ontario
Occupation: Pressman and Designer
The artisan in Vincent Perez sacrifices the easier, more modern digital press for the art of mid-century analog printing. He says it’s all about friction. Take social media as a modern medium for an example. It’s most successful when the platform demands the least of its user and therefore less friction. The challenge of the mid-century press and the physicality of its use entail friction ensuring hard work and a rewarding feeling alongside a tangible result.
There’s craftsmanship involved in using an old letterpress. Experimentation too – the digital press is too advanced to allow for that. There’s individuality to the final piece unachievable with a mass production press.
Vincent loves the holistic production. As a designer, he controls production from design to printing to distribution. Most designers simply email or FTP their design files to the printer and receive a sample at the end. But Vincent gets the satisfaction of combining manual labour and creativity to produce a beautiful, unique printed piece.
It all started with an art project. Vincent received scraps from a printer to make books, and during that journey he realized that he wanted an education in design. While at NSCAD in Halifax, Vincent wiggled his way into Dawson Printing – a teaching print shop at Dalhousie. And his collection of old presses began as did his knowledge and experience.
A true collaborator, Vincent now works with his own clients to develop high-end designs and printed pieces in his own shop, Everlovin’ Press. “There are times when clients want me to do things I never intended, and I always have to think about being in a business to do what I love, and making a living. But my mentors taught me to always remember why I started this business and to always guide myself that way.” It’s led to Vincent’s version of success – the physical satisfaction of hard work, while servicing customers invested in the final piece of art.
Photography: Jonathan Bielaski www.jonathanbielaski.com
Words: Jodi Szimanski
“Music is all or nothing, and I’ve decided to make it my all.”
Name: Hugo Pineda
Location: Cambridge, Ontario
Occupation: Music & Event Producer
The foundation of everything Hugo does is music. Growing up, Hugo Pineda played in a band with family members and others from church across Ontario. But Hugo found himself moving towards the production of music instead of the actual playing. In high school, he took a co-op placement at Angus Audio in Cambridge to learn more about the business.
After high school, Hugo gave the business world a try, though never forgot his musical roots. Through retail and finance positions, Hugo developed his business sense and a strong network. He decided that he missed music and versatility of the world around it, so while his brother was building his career as a musician, Hugo decided it was time to return to the music world and manage his brother. From there, a business grew and it went beyond producing music.
Everything Hugo did as part of the company – 586 Event Group – still related to music. From providing entertainment at weddings to football championships, Hugo puts on a show to make clients` events a success. It means never being bored and interacting with new clients all the time. The randomness of their schedule is as inspiring as the music they play.
Photography: Jonathan Bielaski
Words: Jodi Szimanski
“I try to tell a story.”
Name: Daniel Callan
Location: Long Sault, Ontario
Animals have always fascinated Daniel Callan. He had all kinds of animals growing up. When he was 14, he favourite pigeon died and Daniel went to visit a taxidermist. After asking a lot of questions the taxidermist told him to come back on Saturday and he’d show him what to do.
After that, Daniel studied animal anatomy, went through reference photographs and practiced – a lot. By 1995, Daniel joined the Canadian Taxidermy Association and started entering competitions. He competed against the score sheet letting the deductions tell him what he needed to improve.
After seven years, Daniel had moved from the Novice division, through Professional, to Masters to the division of Excellence in every category but three. His best score: 97/100 for an African lion in 2006 that won best in show. Daniel used the competitions to get better and learn. He practiced taxidermy because he loved animals and strove for perfection. It takes research. Daniel doesn’t just mount animals – he builds scenes with movement and hints of their habitat – he tells a story.
Seven years ago, taxidermy became more than just a hobby. After the paper mill in Cornwall closed, Daniel was left without work, so he started Callan’s Artistic Taxidermy. This year was his best year yet. He enjoys that his many customers respect the animals enough to mount them and is honoured that they choose him to do the work. He wants every one of them to say “Wow!” and relive the hunt. As Daniel says, “I get to tell a story,” and every day he gets the chance to be close to something he has been fascinated with his whole life – animals.
Photography: Jonathan Bielaski
Words: Jodi Szimanski
“If you’re going to build something, build it right.”
Name: Stephen Milton
Location: King City, Ontario
Occupation: Master Gunsmith
Stephen Milton is pretty sure his parents thought he was a proper nuisance as a child. He always took anything mechanical apart to figure out how it worked. Before he put it back together he would always make at least one adjustment to improve it. Besides fiddling with mechanical things, Stephen drew, painted and had a passion for shooting. Growing up in the U.K. countryside, he often hunted birds and rabbits. He was also fascinated with the inner workings of fine shotguns and rifles.
His appreciation for art led Stephen to admire the beauty of fine shotguns and rifles. As a mechanical engineering apprentice, he amazed many of his mentors with how quickly he could solve problems. But Stephen missed working with guns, so he took a five-year apprenticeship with a gunsmith and eventually decided to branch out on his own as a freelancer.
He made parts and repaired shotguns and double-barrel rifles for established companies before he emigrated to Canada to start his own business, Precision Arms & Gunsmithing Ltd. His quality craftsmanship quickly earned him customers. There’s fine detail in every piece that Stephen uses to build the guns – there’s no “close enough” – everything must be precise down to the moisture content in the wood.
It doesn’t stop there. Stephen doesn’t just care about the mechanics of the gun, it has to be built beautifully. Form and function are married together in Stephen’s guns. He loves seeing the finished product and the appreciation of it in the faces of his customers.
Stephen can’t imagine doing anything else, and he believes that everybody should love what they do. He believes that doing something that you don’t love that pays more is wasting life, and in life sometimes you just have to create your own benefits.
|Sorry things have been slow posting lately. I have been working on some great assignments in the last part of the year. Where has this year gone.|
|On to 2013!|
|I am currently looking for new people for our 2013 additions to "For The Love Of It" if you or anyone you know that would be great to profile let me know.|
"I honestly wouldn’t feel like myself if I was doing something else"
Name: Mike Collins
Location: Hamilton, Ontario and wherever his plane takes him
Occupation: Pilot for the U.N
Mike started flying at the age of 15 because it’s is what he was born to do, at the age of 5 he had already decided that he was going to be a pilot and couldn’t stop talking about airplanes and flying. I asked Mike if he could see himself doing anything other then flying. He said “I honestly wouldn’t feel like myself if I was doing something else”.
Mike managed to get a flying scholarship through the Air Cadets and completed his glider license.
Before he was flying for a living he was in the military as an infantry soldier and also worked at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario. Even when he was doing those jobs though, he really did just feel completely out of place. He eventually was only doing those jobs so that he could save enough money to put himself through flight school.
The reason Mike chose to work for the U.N was because it would be something completely unique. He gets to see things that 99% of the population watch on T.V or just read about. Things that the average person may not be able to handle or want to handle. He flies to places like Darfur, Sudan. Just as we were talking through email about this project he had flown over a Volcano in Goma, D.R.C. Mike is normally based out of Congo and spends two months there and then 2 months at home and then back to the Congo.
It’s not an easy job, he says that “sometimes you feel like you’re trying to put together one complete life with two halves that don’t always fit”. It is also hard to always be living out of a suitcase, in different beds, constantly moving around and missing those close to your heart. It can be very difficult, but with the right amount of balance and the right people surrounding you, it can work.
Mike finally feels that he is exactly where he is suppose to be in life and is doing what he was meant to do.
Photography: Jonathan Bielaski Environmental Portraiture
“If you want to learn how to do something, you just have to do it.”
Name: Mike Silva
Location: Kitchener, Ontario
Occupation: Hardscape Technician
School wasn’t Mike Silva’s thing. After he finished high school, he started working in a bakery, but he really just wanted to be outside. Some time working with an asphalt company helped Mike realize that he loved construction. Hands-on training as a welder/fitter earned Mike a job in the automotive industry. After six years, Mike’s job was cut and he returned to the asphalt business.
On the interlock crew, Mike started offering suggestions on how to do things differently and more efficiently. New ideas weren’t welcome. Mike didn’t really think about his next step, he just did it: he quit and started his own company Platinum Stone Design. Two months later, he subcontracted the company he left.
With a new business, Mike suddenly discovered a love of learning. From books to Google, he found design inspiration and instruction. He learned even more about masonry and stonework, and added new knowledge of woodworking and plants. Mike’s desire to take a design and make it even better made for long days. He’d work until 10 pm on someone’s backyard and then go home and think about new designs – he even taught himself how to develop full design renderings. Manufacturers chose Mike as a contractor of choice to install their products after he became a certified interlocking pavement installer.
As a hardscape technician, Mike concentrates on the structural part of backyards. But it’s seasonal work. The coming winter makes fall a tough time to stay motivated. That’s why Mike encourages his team, and himself, to take courses, focus on design and work on marketing. Mike would rather have his phone ring than make cold calls.
His honesty and obvious joy for his work quickly convinces clients that he can help them make a lifestyle change. Mike wants them to enjoy the process and then come home and relax in the environment he creates. He knows his clients are making a big investment and wants them to love the results. It drives him to be the best at what he does.
To help make his clients’ dreams a reality, Mike looks for inspiration online, in art books and even searches for ideas while travelling. He loves the creativity and that he never knows who he’s going to meet. His ability to make clients comfortable sparks a chemistry that develops into a beautiful backyard and makes every project a success.
Photographer: Jonathan Bielaski
Writer: Jodi Szimanski
“Every encounter you have with a patient can make a difference in the quality of their life. You better make sure it’s a positive one.”
Name: Veronique Boscart
Location: Kitchener, Ontario
Occupation: Nurse and Researcher
Growing up, Veronique Boscart knew that she wanted to be a nurse. Her mother is still a passionate nurse with a strong work ethic in Belgium, and so are her two sisters. It wasn’t until she was a teenager that she discovered her passion: gerontology. Veronique said the words every teenager says at one point during the summer: “I’m bored.” Her mother took her and her sisters to a nursing home and asked the manager to give them jobs.
Veronique fed and talked to the elderly and found great rewards and a source of joy. She learned that if you listen to your patient, it’s easy to make them happy, because sometimes all it takes is adjusting their pillow. And their eyes tell you everything even when they can’t verbally communicate their appreciation.
She looks in the eyes of her students too – for that a-ha moment when they understand. Veronique teaches to build passion in the next generation of healthcare providers. More importantly, she wants to pass on the importance of being patient advocates because older patients can’t always stand up for themselves.
First and foremost, Veronique is a nurse. Then a researcher; she will only do research if it will improve the care of older people. This makes her a better teacher. As the Schlegel Research Chair in Enhanced Seniors Care, she has the opportunity to practice, research and teach. She also shares the Schlegel model of care which is that you treat life first. She tells her students that they should never just treat a broken hip, you treat Betty who has a broken hip, and she’s diabetic and hypertensive. She reminds them that Betty has so much life and wisdom, and that it’s a gift to be part of Betty’s life journey.
Veronique learned this early on. When she moved from Belgium to Canada she held a Masters in Nursing and one in Education, and had already been a practicing registered nurse (RN). While she waited for the paperwork to process so she could practice in Canada, she decided to learn from the bottom up and learn English. She worked as a member of the cleaning staff at a nursing home, then as a personal support worker before becoming a registered practical nurse (RPN) and finally a RN. Her journey taught her to shift to the patient’s perspective and reset priorities based on her patient’s needs, and sometimes that’s been a shoulder to cry on before a blood test. This made her realize that it’s always life, not care, that should come first.