News / Winnipeg

No horsing around: Winnipeg man deals with PTSD through art with an equine twist

Daniel Lemire sketches Winnipeg's local music scene, and some of them have a long face.

Daniel Lemire says his art helps him deal with PTSD. If you're looking to purchase a print, you can find him at Times Change(d).

Meg Crane/Metro

Daniel Lemire says his art helps him deal with PTSD. If you're looking to purchase a print, you can find him at Times Change(d).

Sometimes, it takes a little horseplay to deal with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as artist Daniel Lemire demonstrates with his art.

“With post traumatic stress, suicide...does not have to be imminent," Lemire said in a recent interview.

For him, the most important part about dealing with the illness is to have a sense of purpose.

About four years ago, he says that purpose became providing shelter for a homeless musician who he would watch preform at the Times Change(d) High and Lonesome music club.

“I don’t drink. I don’t drug. And therefore, I don’t have a lot in common with the bar crowd,” Lemire said.

Choosing to draw the musicians on stage instead of trying to connect with other audience members, Lemire packed his shirt pocket with pencils and lugged a bag of paper with him to shows.

Lemire says he started drawing around the same time he was self-publishing a book about PTSD because he wanted to illustrate it himself, and that sketching musicians helped to counter-balance the dark and depressing images. 

Eventually, Lemire got sillier with his art and, in many of his pieces, horses began to replace the humans he saw on stage.

Now, his apartment is full of pastel-coloured pencil drawings coloured of local bands such as the Dirty Catfish Brass Band, Dr. Hotbottom and The Solutions, all as both humans and horses.

“I thought what I was doing—and I don’t know if I am or not—was to promote some of the local music that’s good,” said Lemire.

However, he doesn’t actually sell any of his art. You have to track Lemire down in person, usually at Times Change(d) on Sunday evenings, to make a purchase. 

When someone does buy a print, he sends the money to organizations supporting refugees or working to end the use of child soldiers, such as the General Roméo Dallaire Foundation.

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