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Question 1: When and how did you realize you wanted to be an artist?
That date is more or less precise in my mind, but I will preface with the fact that around age 5, I saw a special spindle for weaving cloth. That spindle had been sculpted by hand, and I thought it was a boat. So I had perceived at the time that this form had been transformed by someone. That was on a farm in Quebec. As for my interest in drawing and so on, I would hurry to finish my homework or my lessons at school just to have the chance to draw on the chalkboard. My pieces started to be in demand, I would say around age 10, in fourth grade. I was sculpting by then and people were fighting to have my carved model airplanes. Well okay, they weren’t signed, but in any case they were still in demand. Then in grade 7, at the age of 13, it was little Maurice Richard characters. My friends at school would run after me to have little sculpted animals or things like that. But as for actually becoming an artist, I think it was with all the skill I had - the skills I knew I had, and that at the time people were a bit dazzled by – I knew I could have earned a living with this, by setting myself up along the Trans-Canada in Edmundston. On the other hand my teachers discouraged that, telling me: You’re better off starting gradually. At that time, I wanted to throw myself into the field of artistic production, or hand-crafting. But it really came to the surface when I finished my studies in high school. I worked for three years in the offices at Fraser’s in Edmundston as an “office boy”, an office clerk. After six months they offered me a job higher up, a promotion, but I refused the offer. Even if I didn’t have the means to go… Doctor Laporte was really important to me and I knew that he wanted me to go further… So it was at the age of 17 I decided that I wanted to make it my career. I was very proficient in the basic technical skills, especially in wood-carving, but I had also read encyclopaedias and a magazine, Art News. I knew that there was a whole world waiting for me and I wanted to go further.