It's not often that one encounters a three year old with the ability (or ambition) to draw detailed still lifes, yet that's exactly how Emilie Gignac first found her start as an artist.
Working primarily in various painting methods, she has since developed her own recognizable body of work, encompassing feminity through delicate details and a focus on neutral palettes.
We spoke with the artist about her early drive and what's kept her motivated since then. Read on to learn more.
When did you first start making art and has it always been within the same medium?
When I was just three years old, I would wake up much earlier than my sisters and parents and I would challenge myself to draw detailed figures before they woke up. Once I was done, I would sign the drawing and display it on the fridge for them to find.
At this age, most children are still learning how to properly grip a crayon and they are likely to draw scribbles that can't be identified by anyone other than themselves, but drawing came naturally to me. Over the years, the mediums that I've used have changed on a regular basis, but I have always mainly worked with acrylic paint.
You've expanded to objects, applying your paintings to home goods and even totes and backpacks. What brought on this decision?
As people grew more and more interested in purchasing prints of my artwork, I decided to make them available in more than one medium. Building frames, packaging prints, and delivering them is quite a time consuming task, which is why I decided to make an online store with Society6. It's more efficient and enables customers to view all of my artwork in one location. I'm a huge believer in interior design and how small, intricate details can really bring a home to life.
Who are your largest influences within the art realm?
While I attended the University of Ottawa, I was fortunate enough to have professors that were established Canadian painters. They quickly became my mentors and my biggest influences. I was incredibly grateful to have them by my side during the last two years of my Fine Arts degree. They took the time to meet with every single one of us in our individual studios and pushed us to create art pieces we didn't necessarily know we could create. If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't have done as much experimentation and research to define and refine my artwork. The conversations we had regarding my pieces were invaluable and have had a major impact on my use of mediums.
How do you think social media has effected the public's perception of art?
Social media is now the go-to place for anything people want to learn, including art. Countless individuals are teaching people how to paint, draw, create websites, design logos, calligraphy, and every other art form available. This gives the viewer the impression that art is easy and that anyone can do it, which is true on a very simplistic level.
However; art is a process and takes pride and patience. It comes from a very personal place within the artist and each piece of art is intended to invoke a feeling or sentiment by the viewer. However; these tutorials and the popularity of memes undermine the hard work done by true artists.
The reality for many artists is that their passon isn't their full-time job. What is your advice on staying motivated enough to tackle your dreams on a daily basis?
The secret to [producing daily] is to set aside a specific amount of time dedicated to art alone. I've learned that it's important to continuously experiment. I've also learned to explore different mediums, or at least, different ideas. Once we have perfected a particular process or concept, we often tend to create pieces within that category. If you continue to shy away from experimentation, you will miss an opportunity to expand your fine art horizons. Remember that your art doesn't need to be recognized world-wide in order for it to be considered successful. Most importantly, enjoy making it. Don't ever let it become a task, or something that needs to sell.
Emilie's Top 10:
- Art supplies - An endless amount.
- Goofiness - Making someone laugh is a big win!
- Water - Always my drink of choice.
- Meaningful jewelry - Always wearing something.
- Cross-body card holder - Life is too short to fiddle through a purse.
- Honey - In my tea, oatmeal, hair. At all times in my kitchen cupboard.
- Reality TV shows - My guilty pleasure.
- Rollerblading - You haven't lived if you've never rollerbladed.
- Awareness - Just being aware, empathetic, and understanding towards people and things.
- My dad - The funniest human being you'll ever meet.