Information Technology Services (ITS)

IT@UofT People — Maryam Shafiei

Published on: February 17, 2021

The backbone of any successful team is its hard-working people. The University of Toronto’s Information Technology Services (ITS) division is privileged to employ outstanding individuals with diverse talents that extend beyond work-related education and skills.

In this segment, entitled IT@UofT People, we will get to know our IT@UofT team across the tri-campus community and find out more about their hidden or not-so-hidden talents and/or pursuits outside of work.


Maryam Shafiei pictured with her art work: a painting of a pink flower

Maryam Shafiei, Faculty Liaison, Technology, within Academic & Collaborative Technologies (ACT) and Centre for Teaching Support and Innovation (CTSI).

Name: Maryam Shafiei

Department: Academic & Collaborative Technologies (ACT) and Centre for Teaching Support and Innovation (CTSI)

Title: Faculty Liaison, Technology

How long have you worked at U of T?
I have worked at U of T for over seven years.

What is your secret or not-so-secret talent(s) and hobbies outside of work?
While I enjoy a variety of visual arts, drawing and painting are my passion. I have tried different styles and media, but I often use oil paint. I also enjoy digital photography and making illustrations.

How and why did you get involved in these hobbies?
When I was 13 years old, my art teacher introduced me to a professional painter who offered private drawing and painting lessons at her studio. She taught me a lot about painting during that summer. That was the first time I learned how to use oil paint which was so mesmerizing, and I really felt drawn towards it.

When/how did your interest in this area(s) begin?
I always loved colour pencils and markers since I was a kid. I used to draw from my book illustrations and colour them. Learning to use other media, such as oil and acrylics, opened the doors of a new world to me, which I am still trying to discover.

Do you have any professional training in this field?
I spent two summers taking private painting lessons starting when I was 13 and a few years later when I was 17. I have also been trying to learn more about different techniques and styles by watching a lot of videos posted by professional painters.

What type of subjects do you typically like to depict in your art?
There are many themes that excite me when I think about starting a new painting, but I have mostly been focusing on still life subjects in my recent paintings.

How you would describe your style of art?
For me, this has been a continuing development that has evolved over time. I have tried different styles that I thought would suit my subject matter at the time. Having said that, I would consider most of my paintings realistic.

Who/what are your inspirations?
My main influences have been the great masters of painting — from Da Vinci and Rembrandt to Van Gogh, Monet and Egon Schiele. I always think how amazing it would be to learn to create even one thing as beautiful and moving as their artwork. I am also inspired by people who pursue their passions seriously and try hard to find and make time for their passion even when they are busy. I am following some of them on Instagram.

Do you sell/donate/gift any your art?
I have given a few of my paintings to my friends and family as gifts. I am currently working on creating a collection of paintings with a common theme that I wish to exhibit at some point. In that case, I may have the option to put them up for sale as well.

Anything else you would like to add?
It is never too late to start something new.