The Art of Gilles Arseneault


Artist;  Head Injury Survivor; Labour, Environmental & Community Activist; ex-Carpenter;

Friendly Troublemaker


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Big Exhibition:

Gilles’ work is on view at

the Yorkville Public Library

22 Yorkville Ave.,

just steps from Bloor-Yonge Station

August 2 to August 31, 2016




Meet the Artist:

Reception Wednesday August 24

5:15pm to 8pm

                                                     Be there or Be Square


below: Gilles' bio

Examples of Gilles' Art

Favourite Links



Gilles Arseneault hails from Acadia, born near Dalhousie New Brunswick in May 1955.  After spending 3 years at U. of Moncton, he came to Toronto in the 80s to work as a carpenter.  An enthusiastic labour and Gilles-Eco1environmental activist, Gilles was an early advocate of green reconstruction as a major source of employment and real prosperity.  He founded the first Environment Committee in the Canadian building trades—at Carpenters local 27 in 1991. With two friends, he founded Green City Construction and was lead carpenter on the CMHC Healthy House, 1995-96.  At Green City, Gilles was particularly concerned with waste management, and was an advocate of deconstruction & reuse, rather than demolition.  He served on the Waste Caucus of the Ontario Environment Network.  Gilles was also a member of the Coalition for a Green Economy for over ten years, from the mid-90s

until the Coalition's dissolution in 2008.

Gilles’ artistic activities began as a student, but throughout the nineties he began to commit ever more time to his creative side.  His works included some amazing sculptures, made from construction site waste—shaped, glued, screwed and brightly painted. His artistic and activist concerns merged in his work with the Mayworks festival of labour arts, for which he served as a board member in 1995-96.  In 1997, a near-fatal fall resulted in a serious brain injury and a coma of several months duration.  Gilles has made a partial recovery and has renewed his focus on painting, using his one good hand—his right one (he used to be left-handed).  Gilles continues to live in Toronto with support from Bellwood’s Centre for Community Living, Community Head Injury Resource Services, Creative Spirit Art Centre, family and friends. In the last few years Gilles has been confined to his wheelchair; however he continues to combine his artistic statements with his environmental concerns.


1999 - Exhibited at Mayworks Festival

2000 - Honorable Mention Award Broken Fence Society juried environmental art competition.      

2005 - Exhibited at the Distillery District.

2006 - Exhibited in Nathan Phillips Square during

              Brain Injury Awareness Month.

         -  Painting featured in the Brain Injury

              Association of Ontario calendar.

2008 - Exhibited at Yorkville Public Library.

           Exhibited in Toronto Outdoor Art Show

2009 - Exhibited at International Day of the Disabled

2010 - Exhibited in Toronto Outdoor Art Show

2012 – Exhibited at Queen West Art Crawl

2013 – Special Exhibition at Flying Pony Gallery & Cafe, Toronto





                        Gilles at Flying Pony Exhibition





The following pictures are a few samples of Gilles’ work, old and new, including a couple of his pre-accident sculptures. 



One from his Creative Spirit Gallery works


Contemporary Works (2008)

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                      Two  pre-accident paintings

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Pre-accident Painting & Sculptures

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Contemporary works (2012-13)


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satisfied customer Prof. Gene Desfor at home


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Contemporary works (2007)

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                 Two More Pre-accident Paintings

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                  Head Injury Assn. Calendar

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 A Few Favourite Links


Mayworks festival of working people and the arts

Creative Spirit Art Centre

Bellwoods Centre for Community Living

Community Head Injury Resource Services (CHIRS)

Tangled Art + Disability

Art Gallery of Ontario

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)

Martin Liefhebber Architects 

Manufactured Landscapes

Sonja Persram’s Sustainable Alternatives

Green Homebuilding

John Todd Ecological Design 

Grassroots Recycling Network

WindShare / Toronto Renewable Energy Cooperative

Community Bicycle Network


Building Materials Reuse Assn.







Gilles’ former construction company now operated by Peter Shepherd, (416) 535-6707




Gilles in 1992


Will McGarvey Art

Michael Moore

Labour Council of Toronto

Carpenters Union

Worldwatch Institute

Rev. Billy & the Church of Stop Shopping

Seppo Leinonen’s amazing EnvironMental Cartoon Gallery

Blade Zone

Other Vital Video Information:

Trailer Park Boys: Ricky on littering

McKenzie Brothers on twist-off beer caps

A. Whitney Brown: “I Support Our Troops!

Van Jones: America is not broke!

George Carlin on the American Dream

      Coffee and Cigarettes                             




Special thanks go to Joanne Schwartz (of Toronto Public Library), Pete Broadley (of CHIRS), Debbie Wright (of Bellwoods), and Jacques Arseneault in helping Gilles get his work to the public.  Also to Ellen at the Creative Spirit Art Centre for providing invaluable resources—spatial, material and instructional—for Gilles at the Centre. 

For general information on Gilles’ work, contact Pete Broadley (of CHIRS), Joanne Schwartz at (416) 656-5449 and Brian Milani at (416) 968-1282

For art purchases, contact Jacques Arseneault at (416) 539-9039






 webpage courtesy of Brian Milani at