Bancroft Studio Tour

MICHAEL HANKUS / PHOTOGRAPHER

So, what brought a young man with an architecture degree from Ryerson (now Metropolitan) University from the Big Smoke of the GTA to the hills of Bancroft? Well, it was the physical beauty of the North Hastings area that he as a photographer and videographer found attractive—plus the calmer, less rat-race driven lifestyle that exists here. But, as well, his employment with an Etobicoke creative agency called Cicada that “specializes in renderings, video, animations, web, print and interactive modes in producing content for marketing and branding strategies”—and for whom he is able to work online from home—combined to bring it all together.

He purchased the former house and property of artist Cheryl Ellenberger—that sits at the mid-Bancroft location at the top of John Street, on Cleak Avenue—early in the pandemic. And when his artisan mom—who makes mosaics and quilts—moved in with him for a time, she discovered and hooked them up with the studio tour—with Michael participating last year for the first time. And now he has taken on the handling of social media promotion for the group.

Hankus’ beginnings were in Burlington where his Polish immigrant family got their Canadian start. He moved through the two lower levels of the education system. And dipped into the creative with piano lessons as a small child. And followed that up with training on the guitar; then playing bass and eventually drums for various bands in high school—a passion for musical instruments and music that continues to the present. He also took on recording production for himself and bands with whom he maintains connections.

Various family members were big fans of photography—including a grampa who was very technically skilled and his mom who shot photos with a good grade single lens reflex camera—and with which Michael shocked himself by taking a memorable closeup photo of a frog that he felt was a strong early accomplishment. A photography summer camp taught him basic shooting and film processing. And this all helped shape involvement in the craft that is an element of his work and the centre of his artistic passion. Early work involvements revolved around the digital rendering of buildings and their locations—skills he has enhanced considerably with the ongoing leaps in programming and rendering that

become available and that he cultivates. He began working full time at cicada in 2017—after a summer internship in 2016. (He had previously completed a summer internship in Poland in 2015 in architecture.) 

As a photo artist, Hankus leans into “capturing the moment” and documenting what he sees all around him—not just with his still camera but in videos—exploring themes such as landscapes and buildings (portraits of homes) and people and music concerts. And it will be framed prints of those moments that he will have on display at his 24A Cleak Avenue home in Bancroft during the last two weekends of September. To connect with Michael Hankus, email him at michaelhankus@gmail.com

(Profile writing and photo by Allan O’Marra)