Lester Coloma is a Hamilton-based mural painter.

Lester’s story really began with his father and mother back in the Philippines. Both his parents grew up in poverty on farms; Lester’s father, Ernesto, eventually studied to become an architect. At some point, they met, fell in love and were married. They started a family, but they weren’t happy with the situation in their country in the 1960s, so a plan was hatched to move the family to Canada.

Lester, the middle of five children, was the first to be born in Canada. It had taken several years and much sacrifice for the Coloma’s to make the move to Canada, where they settled in the Hamilton region. Ernesto took a job with the city’s planning department and they had two more children.

Lester showed an aptitude for drawing at a young age. His father would often praise and criticize his drawings, providing lessons in proportion and composition to a very young child. It wasn’t until Lester’s Grade Three class had to draw self-portraits that Lester realized the impact of what his father had taught him. His father taught him to use the full page and as the years went by, Lester found larger and large surfaces to cover.

The Coloma’s always encourage their children to pursue their dreams and use their talents, and Lester professes a profound gratitude to both his father and his mother for his life and his career as an artist. He feels a sense of responsibility to his parents that comes from love and doesn’t have an ounce of regret or resentment. It is this sense of responsibility that brought Lester back to Hamilton after studying at OCAD (Ontario College of Art and Design) and working in the GTA.

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For more videos on Hamilton makers and creators, check out ReMakeHamilton.ca.

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