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Question 4: What formal studies or progression of activities did you pursue?
My journey, really, is when I got my camera at age 13. I had the angle of the National Geographic, of that kind of photography, traveling around the world, taking pictures of rare cultures, and making pictures for an institution I considered to be at the ultimate in photography at the time. That’s what I saw when I first began to seriously consider, then I enrolled at l’Université de Moncton. The University, the Department of visual arts at Université de Moncton, has its problems, its qualities, but its biggest quality was that we had tons of space, tons of resources, go ahead. That’s the atmosphere I needed to work. After seeing the Marcel Duchamp slide, after that, anything I would think of, I would do. So, the real journey, the degree or the institution as far as I am concerned, that was only a place where I could do some work, get some feedback, talk with people, see work by other people. Just to be in an atmosphere that surrounded you, to be “weird” and let our imaginations take us where they pleased. Those experiences we all had as a generation were really interesting. So as far as I am concerned, the bachelors degree, that was not necessarily about studying, it was experience really, and I kept up the experience afterwards when I went for the Masters at Concordia where I was basically looking for the same kind of environment. Except, there was something that I found was missing in my education at the bachelor level: the whole theory aspect, the philosophical aspect. I’ve always had this philosophical bent and it didn’t get nurtured at the bachelors level, once again simply because I was young, I was innocent, because I wasn’t taking charge of my career, let’s say. But I didn’t create the situation that could have nurtured me on that side of things So, the Masters at Concordia, it’s because I knew it was a demanding program theory wise, that it would require as much reading as work in the studio, and that’s what I wanted. So to Concordia I went. Naturally after Concordia, I went completely to the other side; if it wasn’t about theory, it wasn’t art. Really, I had lost all of my imagination. I no longer knew what I was doing as an artist. If it didn’t come out of theory books, there was no way to justify my work. Really I became somewhat of a reactionary, etc. Right now I can say it’s within the last… I finished my Masters at Concordia in 1992, I can say I found my work again five years ago. So, getting an education in arts was for me a way to stop doing art for a while. At this point, I find it probably was the way my journey was supposed to go, cause right now I’m learning how to mix philosophy and visual stuff, which I’ve always wanted to do but that I could never find satisfactory tools to do it with. Now, it’s like everything has started clicking. So the degrees, the school stuff, that’s all very nice if your mind is clear on what it means to make art in an academy, in an institution. Cause, it’s not the same as… For example, Yvon Gallant who learned painting, he paints because it’s something bubbling out of him and stuff; his impulse is completely different. So, as far as I am concerned the desire to attend university; that was because it nurtured that very impulse. But I really don’t feel that it was going to university that made me become an artist. I think it was already set in and then going to university nurtured it. I’d get upset; I was really a reactionary. I’m happy I got older and away from that. It was tiring but I needed that environment to find out who I was. Cause that’s what being an artist is all about, to have a sense of oneself, in some way.