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Question 5: How has your artistic practice or approach developed over the years?
Normally I’ve always painted things that happen to me or something I’ve seen. Lately I’ve been working from my memories and the past, because my sign is Cancer so I love the past. I love objects that come from the past, I like to wear jewellery that comes from the past, watches that used to belong to someone else. Once I was living in Montreal, I had moved there, and we were heading to the bank, and as we got near it, there were lots of police cars. When we looked inside the bank we saw a guy in there with a gun, and he was like this with his gun, he was holding up the bank. There were people outside crying and people inside crying as well, and everybody around was excited about this. The police came and I don’t quite know what they did but we hung around for about half an hour to watch what was going on. I just went right to the studio and did a painting of the hold-up at the National Bank, and that’s the way I usually work. For a long time, I used to draw, I’d start with a drawing, sort of to tell myself: the building is here, the dog is over there, and so on. Lately I’m using my paintbrush more. I’ll get the colour and I’ll draw directly with the brush, to define the shapes I want, and then, when I’ve added a few layers of paint of various colours, different finishes, and when I’ve defined the characters, when the painting is more or less finished, I put black lines around these people; that’s what brings out the colours, first of all. So the yellows that are not too yellow, well now they come out super bright, and at the same time, there is more definition, you can see that the fellow is holding a fish, that it’s a woman who is knitting, and so on. I’m just now doing a series of fish. I’ll spend a day or two doing that and then I’ll look at it and sometimes I add some more fish or I take some away, or I partly erase some lines and try to do them over. I have some drawings I’ve done that I’m using as reference, so whether it’s painting number one or number twenty, it’s the same fish. Can we speak about somebody else? We went to see Léo LeBlanc one time, and he had cut out little men and little cows and little houses, sort of like paper dolls. He had his canvas, he would do the sky, he would do the grass and then he’d take his houses and change them around and place them. I was impressed with that, I found that really beautiful. So I’m sort of working along that line, it’s not exactly the same but sometimes, I don’t really care… Recently a woman I know asked me if I would like to come and watch her giving birth to her baby. Now I wasn’t too sure if I wanted to go but I said to myself, what the heck, it’s my first chance ever to see something like that, so I decided to go. I expected that everything would be real serious and that everybody would be sterile up to the eyeballs. But not at all, it was like a big party, everybody was there, there were twelve people in the room. There were cameras, there were children, everybody, doctors, coming and going. And then she gave birth and I saw the whole thing, I was sitting at a specific spot where I could see everything. It was quite fascinating. And that’s how I come up with my paintings: I witness something, then I paint it.