Today we’d like to introduce you to Claire Desjardins.
Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I grew up in a family where making art was always very important. My mother was a great influence, as she has always been a life-long learner and artist. She spurred us on, encouraging us to make art from a very young age. We grew up knowing how to find things and put them together, and now it’s part of my DNA.
For years, I worked as a graphic designer and art director, working in the web and mobile space, in downtown Montreal. I worked in the marketing departments of large communications firms. In August 2011, the company I worked for was acquired by another one, and I got laid off my day job. That is when I decided to try my hand at being a full-time artist, and to see where that would lead. In very little time, I was contacted by US retailer, Anthropologie, for a licensing deal, and I was picked up by an art gallery in Toronto. This was a good sign. Things moved very quickly from there, and I didn’t really have time to think about it. Within a moment’s notice, I became a full-time, working artist, and I have never been happier.
Since those early days, I’ve participated in a number of art fairs in Canada and the US, I’ve led painting workshop, and I now paint most days in my studio in the woods, located in the Laurentian mountains, an hour north of Montreal. Most recently, my time has been consumed by the launch of my new clothing line, the Claire Desjardins label, which will be on store shelves by late February/early March 2019. It’s all very exciting, and as an artist, it’s very nice to have a source of passive income. I have worked hard, and been blessed, ever since my career turn took me in this direction.
Please tell us about your art.
I paint abstract paintings using a mostly vivid colour palette. My paintings are mostly larger (5 to 12 feet), but lately, I’ve been painting some smaller pieces, as well. I don’t have any political messages to convey through my art… My paintings are really about my own personal journey, and I hope to convey joy.
There’s something very engaging about painting on a large format surface: I find that by working on a large surface, I become one with the artwork. I feel it around me, and I become a part of what I am painting. It’s hard to ignore a big piece of art in a room, and I find that kind of exciting. The smaller pieces that I’ve recently been playing around with, feel more intimate. It’s a nice contrast to the larger pieces, which can take up a room.
Do you have any advice for other artists? Any lessons you wished you learned earlier?
With the onset of social media, sharing artworks has never been easier. This is great, insofar as marketing oneself goes, but it’s a double-edged sword: it has also made it easy for the copycats out there. It’s true that nearly every artist is influenced by those who have come before, but every so often, I stumble across paintings that look remarkably like ones that I’ve created, posted by people who follow me, and I have felt disheartened by it. There are copyright laws in place, but who wants to go there? Even if one is willing to take legal action, the laws are fairly obscure.
My advice to budding artists is to find your own voice: make art every day until it becomes second nature. It will then become yours, and it can save a potentially messy situation.
How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
I post my artworks online, regularly, on my website, www.clairedesjardins.com, where I sell them. I am also represented by a number of galleries in Canada and the US, both online and in physical buildings. For a full list of galleries that represent, upcoming exhibitions and art fairs, please see my website.
- Address: Gore, Quebec, CanadaTag: #clairedesjardins
- Website: www.clairedesjardins.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/claire_desjardins_art
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/studioclaire
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/clairedj
- Other: www.pinterest.com/clairedj
Photos of Claire Desjardins at ArtExpo New York and in her studio: David Glickman. All other photos: Claire Desjardins.