“The object isn’t to make art, it’s to be in that wonderful state which makes art inevitable.” ~Robert Henri

I was born in Los Angeles California, the love child of Slovenian actress and artist Inga Bennett, and aspiring photographer, Roger Brent.

I grew up in Toronto Ontario with my mother and step father, artist, David Bennett. Together they had an art business which they called ‘David & Inga’s Love Nest’, you can imagine how mortifying this was to me as a child, lol. I grew up totally surrounded by art and quirky artistic weirdos, which I now know was very much to my benefit.

I sold my first painting, and abstract called ‘Frogs in the Sun’ to an art dealer from France for 750 bucks. He assumed it was one of my parents painting, as it was at their art show, and no one told him otherwise.

 I moved to Oshawa at the age of 16, out on my own and ready to take on the world. I worked in a local art supply store, where I accepted some of my first painting commissions, and started teaching private classes. In fact, some of those commissions were for another local artist, who then signed them and sold them herself, for several times what she paid me. She even used my paintings in her portfolio! I was only 16 and didn’t know better, so I was happy to take the cash she gave me (40 or 50 bucks) and keep my lips zipped about it. It was actually somewhat flattering.  

Much to the chagrin of the few art teachers I have taken classes with, I paint in a variety of mediums and styles, constantly experimenting with new forms of art. They would have liked me to pick a style and stick with it. This is probably why, with the exception of a few classes at Hawkeye community collage in Iowa, and a few private classes, I am for the most part, self-taught.

I have exhibited my artwork in galleries and cafés across Canada and the United States. One notable mural I painted was in a cafe owned by now ‘Rock Star’ yoga instructor, Sadie Nardini. It was a 15 foot tall Betty Paige on the ceiling of her cafe ‘322’.

Recently, I had a residency and exhibit at the Robert McGlaughlin’s Gallery ‘A’, here in Oshawa Ontario. I was a bit of a sore thumb there, much less refined than the gallery employees, running around in my bare feet and doing interpretive dance among the installations. I made better connections with the security guards than anyone else, that was fun. I am really grateful for that experience, and hope to have more like it.

My greatest masterpiece is my daughter Estrella, who is running, rather than following, in my footsteps. In many ways she’s miles ahead of me. She has already done a co-op at the largest local public gallery (RMG) and has started teaching as well. I’m so proud. I have parented her on my own for her entire 18 years of life, and all of my doubts and fears have been assuaged by the brilliant young woman she has become.

“Monique has been teaching private and group art classes since the age of 16. Recently, Monique completed an art residency and show at the Robert McGlaughlin ‘Gallery A’ in Oshawa Ontario.

Her friendly and exuberant personality combined with skills and experience make for a thoroughly enjoyable class experience!”