Fraser Brinsmead was born in the small community of Lac la Biche to a physician father and a musically gifted mother. He moved to Edmonton along with his parents and siblings in 1956, and it was around this year that his love for music and art began to emerge. Fraser's first glimpse of "the big city" affected him quite deeply, and his passion for art and music turned into an architectural career that has now spanned over three decades. During this time, Fraser always tried to imbed a sense of place into his renderings. The building was the focus, but the people and landscape had to create a believable story. This approach subsequently laid the groundwork for the journey to many exhibitions as a painter and, in 2017, to retire from his architectural practice.
As an architect, Fraser has always been keenly aware of the incredible richness and vitality of city life. His paintings are home to people oblivious to being watched, people who play, work, and live in an urban context. They are familiar scenes into which the viewer might feel compelled to join in, hear the sounds, feel the crowd, breathe the smells and experience the light. Many works hint at a deeper story that will entice the viewer to elaborate, while others have layered themes that reflect the complexity of modern living.
Though he has explored a variety of subject matter, including musicians, construction workers, athletes, and natural landscapes, Fraser is always drawn to the urban landscape. The persistent allure of the imagery of the city is his most consistent muse. The buildings loom large, and people are reduced to small action figures adding scale and a shared ambivalence about the power of the city that engulfs them. In some instances, the buildings overpower the life going on around them, while in others, there is a sense of balance and peaceful co-existence. The vantage point is used to invite the viewer into the scene to breathe the air, smell the aromas and hear the sounds. These images attempt to encourage the viewer to question the impacts this built world might have on our daily lives and perhaps to see the city with a more critical eye.