- Q?Can you tell us a bit about your training background?
I am a born and raised Montrealer. I trained as an illustrator at the Dawson College Illustration & Design program in 2001. I lived in in Florence, Italy, where I perfected my style. I immersed myself in its artistic environment. Florence has more art per square foot than any other city in the world. I spent days in the Uffizi Gallery, The Accademia Gallery, the Pitti Palace(especially the Gallery of Modern Art on the second floor) and the state museums. I also visited and admired the contemporary art galleries as well as the magnificent art in the cathedrals, churches, palaces and piazzas. Most of all I painted.
In the early years, I certainly paid my dues – I took many commission-painting jobs, doing landscapes and portraits. I was also very fortunate to be guided by a great teacher, now a dear friend of mine, who whipped me into the painter I am today.
- Q?Can you explain to us your fascination with birds?
Well first of all, birds are totally awesome because they can FLY! … anywhere, any time and they sing! Seriously. People generally love birds. You know that birds have always been seen as symbolic creatures among all indigenous people.
Birds have also fascinated me, since I was a child. I was often told I was a free spirited child and I guess I related to birds in that ‘freedom’ kind of way. I drew a lot as a kid but never painted. In fact, my first serious art class was when I got to Dawson College.
- Q?What’s your creative process like?
I don’t have the luxury of time – or peace and quiet for that matter, so meditation for inspiration is not how it ‘comes to me’ as it may for most artists!
Visualization is key for me. Before I begin a painting, I have to see it as a completely finished piece in my mind. I have established the subject, the layout, the colors and the size… I even sometimes see it hung in a particular setting or establishment. My visualization happens while I’m busy doing everyday, mundane stuff. I know it doesn’t sound very rock and roll, spiritual or romantically poetic but it’s real.
Luckily, my studio is in my home. Once my other life’s work is under control, I execute.
- Q?How did you come to create these amazing sculptured frames, mirrors and chairs?
These frames happened because I couldn’t find what I was looking for.
The idea for my frames came while I was playing dinosaurs with my son. A messy floor full of kid’s toys can be quite inspiring. The combination of shapes I saw in these toys along with the added flowers and shells would make up the composition of the frames that I had been looking for. Hardware stores, toy stores, antique malls and thrift shops have become my playground.
I start out with a simple sketch on foam core. Then, I layout all my supplies and study them. I draw out a grid and begin the placing game. It is like a puzzle, you have to figure out which element to place where in order to achieve your desired shape. Once everything is glued and nailed together I then cut away the excess foamcoar from the surrounding edge and attach it to the frame. Finally, I seal the deal with spray enamel.
I never know for sure what shape it will take. It makes for a very interesting creative process. It is always so exciting to see it evolve into something quite beautiful.
- Q?Are all of your works successes?
Well, it depends on how one measures success. Artists usually measure success as Faith, Followers, Fame and Fortune.
- Faith is the confidence that I can produce what I envision. That I can get the message across.
- Followers, or people, who like my work, or my message, enough to buy it or tell others about it.
- Fame, or publicity, that brings attention to my work and attracts gallery dealers, art critics, museum curators and writers.
- Fortune is the income from selling enough work to support myself comfortably, without having any other source of income.
Certainly, some paintings have been very much appreciated by the new owners and by people who have enjoyed them. Some do stand out – like the ones I did for the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts or the Montreal Symphony Orchestra or the Montreal Mural Festival. They have been enjoyed by thousands of people.
Some of my paintings are in private collections, some are in galleries, some are completed and in my studio, for sale, and some are works in progress.
Yet, if I have worked for two days on a painting that it just doesn’t look right, I gesso the whole thing over, even if someone else might have thought it was great and would have paid for it.
Not everything we do in life works out, but we always learn something from the journey and the experience.
- Q?We understand that you spend your time between Montreal and Miami. Why?
South Miami has a very exciting artistic vibe.
I go to Miami in December to catch the Art Basel in Miami. If you are an artist and have to pick one holiday out of the year, it should be in Miami in the first week of December for Art Basel! Just get ready for a sensory overload… you will be completely over stimulated, so make time for at least two months of recuperation – on the beach, of course!
Also, I have pieces in the Judith Liegeois Designs Gallery in Naples, Florida and I have had pieces elsewhere.
- Q?Tell us about this new direction in your paintings?
As an artist, I have always been fascinated by sacred geometry. It’s all around us, in nature, in architecture, in art, etc. It’s always there. Subliminally, we all see it. It defines our sense of what is beautiful. Our subconscious sees it; even if we don’t.
I have started to incorporate it in my paintings and murals in a visible, conscious way to show our eyes what our soul really sees. This new direction has been a kind of refuge for me.
The alchemical symbol for air is an upward-pointing triangle, bisected by a horizontal line and I have included this in my paintings. Painting these landscapes with wide-open skies has helped me to release emotion in a way that is particular to painting. It’s just you, some paint and a canvas. I love that alone time I have created for myself while painting. It’s my blessing, my refuge, my happiness…and I hope that the viewer feels that energy.
I hope that the viewer will ‘Stop’, even if for a moment to take a good deep breath. It will slow down your racing mind and soothe your pounding heart, I promise.
- Q?The message to the viewer to stop and reflect seems to recur in your work?
Yes, I suppose that it does.
My birds are a single theme against a solid color background. They are always still. For me the inner stillness of the bird symbolizes self-awareness. I hope that it inspires reflection.
Life is hard at times, messy and complicated… I am notorious for never stopping and always pushing through it all without taking a minute for myself – We could all use a little reminder to STOP a second and take a good deep breath. It will slow down your racing mind and soothe your pounding heart.
I hope that the painting serves as a creative catalyst to help the viewer choose a way of living that counters the frenetic reality of the regular challenges and disruptions of our crowded, chaotic and cluttered modern lives.
Personal stillness is all about taking the time to deal with your own thoughts, emotions and awareness. It’s a place of peace. The return home from there refocuses us on the colourful and inspiring blessings in our lives.
- Q?Are there any new developments or exciting events coming up?
Of course, I am doing murals, paintings, commissions and exhibitions.
I am very excited about the ongoing, mural work I am doing in many Starbucks coffee shops in Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto; I did a mural for the new restaurant, Mad Radish opened by David Segal of DAVIDsTEA; and I am doing amazing, painting commissions for private collections.
I was very excited to be featuring my latest work in collaboration with Montreal fashion icon, Marie Saint Pierre. The Maison Marie Saint Pierre presented ‘ACTE I: CAPSULE 30 ans’ (June 2017), the thirty-year celebration of their brand and their newest fashion collection. Marie Saint Pierre’s collections are distributed in its two Montreal, Miami, online stores as well as in a multitude of sales outlets throughout North America.