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Question 13: Does your everyday environment stimulate your creativity? In what way?
Of course it’s quite a rural enough atmosphere here and it’s beautiful. On the other hand, in relation to outlets for visual arts, I try to create as many outlets as possible and other people have created some after me. Even so, there is presently a really good structure for exhibiting our young artists. However, we don’t have the resources to do our visual artists justice. There is some progress being made with collectors but there aren’t enough of them. If we compare the market value of works here, a painting done here does not necessarily have a lesser market value than a painting done elsewhere. But what happens is that there are scales, there are national criteria that often pervade decision-making committees. And also, people identify with styles, or with methods. Take for example an Yvon Gallant, and other artists, I don’t like to name other artists because I would have to name too many, but the practical context of survival in our region is inadequate. I spent a good part of my life fighting, and being hated by politicians, for trying to improve this. Even today I try to hold back as much as possible, to leave room for the young to try and continue the battle, and they are doing well. However, I sense that the people aren’t always free. You can’t push too much, because there are functionaries everywhere, right. I’ve faced it often and it was damaging to me. For example, a small detail such as paying fees for an exhibition. The very existence of exhibition fees is attributable to Jack Chambers from London, Ontario: he asked of the National Gallery of Canada for an exhibiting fee. Initially he got galleries to pay for slides. There’s been quite an image revolution since then. As for artist’s copyrights and so on, I represented this province at the Canadian Artists’ Representation, from 1971 until 1980-something. Galleries in the Atlantic Provinces considered me a rebel, because I pushed and I pushed that issue. There was no way they would pay exhibition fees. Let’s say that they more or less penalized me by not exhibiting me. Because I was asking for an exhibition fee and my artist colleagues were not. In other words, it’s like a type of union, finally.