This month we chat with Alexandra Levasseur, a Montreal based painter and animated film maker.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself… how you got started?
I was born in Shawinigan, Canada, in 1982. I grow up by a lake, in a quiet rural area. In 2000, the age 18, I left the house and moved to Costa Rica where I leaned Spanish and did my studies in Fine Arts at the University of Costa Rica. Following, I started working as a graphic designer for advertising agencies. Then, I left Costa Rica and went to do postgraduate studies in illustration in Barcelona. I came back to Montreal in 2010 and started my own illustration studio and worked on my painting. In 2012, I studied Animation Film at Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema, Concordia University, in Montreal. The same year, I was approached by an art Gallery in Montreal and started exhibiting my paintings. Since then, I have exhibited my work through many galleries in other cities and created various animated films.
We love your emotional and majestic depiction of the female form… What inspires your work?
My work being in part autobiographical, the representation of the feminine figures helps me express my anxiety and struggle to understand our short life on earth. This representation of women also serves me as a universal symbol to illustrate the enigmatic beauty of nature. Influenced by the work of theorist and filmmaker Jean Epstein and by physicist and philosopher Étienne Klein, I seek to explore the links between nature and different art forms, and to contribute to the intriguing conversation between arts and science. In the light of this dialogue between arts and science, I am particularly interested by the notions of time and space, life and death, and I look for answers in Biology, Physics and Geology theories and their respective latest discoveries. In this era of crisis and anxiety, my work questions our perception of the reality based on our limited human senses and knowledge of nature.
When creating new art, what's your creative process?
After having established the main idea of the piece, I gather pictures of landscapes and human figures or shapes that I feel would give the mood to the piece, and I create a composition, like a collage. I destroy and transform the images and adapt them to my style. I like this first part of the process because it restates one of the main theme of my work which is the transformation of the matter. I then define the color palette. When the sketch is ready, I prepare the support for painting and work the final piece.
You’ve shared your work in exhibitions and art fairs all over the world, from San Francisco to Barcelona… what city was your favorite destination?
This is a hard one. I must say I have a weak spot for Barcelona, mostly because there are my favorite friends, and the Mediterranean Sea and the patatas bravas... Also, Costa Rica, because it is my second home. And amongst others, San Francisco was really lovely and I have met the sweetest people when I was invited to show my work there.
Is there a historic or notable (gallery, museum, exhibition) you would wish to oneday showcase your art in?
I would like to participate to a biennale (Venice most preferably!) and have my work exhibited at Musée des Beaux Arts de Montréal or Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal.
What’s your day-to-day life like? What do you do when you’re not creating art?
I usually wake up around 7am and get ready to go to the studio. I’m a day-light worker. I practice yoga and classical ballet many nights a week. I love to cook and drink wine with my friends during the weekends.
You've amassed quite a following on Instagram… what impact has it had on your business?
It is very stimulating to receive all this appreciation and the good comments from people around the world every day. It keeps me motivated and push me to advance further my practice.
If you had one piece of advice for our readers as it pertains to creating and sharing their art, what would it be?
Be authentic and original.
Can you share with us what you are currently working on? Any big projects on the horizon?
I am currently working on 2 long term projects. The first one is an immersive installation composed of ceramic sculptures and scenery elements. It is the third phase of my project Puzzle which originated with a series of paintings and was followed by the making of my last animated film entitled “La Singularité”. The installation is planned to be exhibited in Spring 2019. As for the second project, I am currently in the research period of a collaboration with contemporary dance collective La Tresse. I was offered the incredible opportunity to participate as the set designer for the creation of their new dance production entitled L’Encre Noire. The evening-length work will culminate at Agora de la Danse, in Montreal, in Fall 2019.