Marie-Eve Proteau is a Canadian artist based in Trois-Rivières, Québec. She’s working full time in her sunny little studio accompanied by her curious rabbit. After exploring her work as a painter on various unconventional supports, she’s now focusing on her first twisted love, acrylic on canvas. An iconic feminine theme prevails in her paintings in a form of surrealist portraits where the emotions are implicitly drawn from the complexity of a relationship between two people; expectation, worry, obsession, secret, domination, soulmate affection.
The translucent textures are in contradiction with some more disturbing and darker allusions. Contrast between strength & fragility, beauty & uniqueness is an important aspect in her artistic approach. She completed her Bachelor of fine Arts Degree at the Université Laval in Quebec and her paintings were presented in, Canada, United States, Japan, Hong Kong and Switzerland.
Interview with Marie-Eve Proteau
Q: Tell us a little about your method and how you came to favor this medium.
Drawing has always been my first love since my childhood, a space to develop my own creative cocoon. Later, in college, I began to integrate acrylic in my backgrounds and slowly this medium took all the space. I have to admit that my first experience with acrylic was not totally a love at first sight. But with years, I learned to appreciate the challenge of this medium, to test the limits of it, to blend my palette the most smoothly possible. And for some years now, I combine a little touch of dry pastel too at the end of my process, especially for some highlights.
Q: Do you consider yourself a story teller, does your art have a message?
Emotions are the main essence of my work, to reach the spectator and give him the opportunity to draw his own impression of the little symbols I incorporate into my pieces. Some persons in my entourage tell me that they sometimes have the feeling that even if my paintings are not self portraits, they feel that it’s the case in some ways. I protect my intimacy behind a lot of layers but at the end, my work is still really personal & raw. And I love to suggest things, not giving all the answers. So I give the introduction of a story with some clues, but the rest is a team work in a way. There is space to make it your own in some points, to write a personal ending. A sharing journey.
Q: When you create art is there a particular audience you are try to reach?
Not precisely. I combine a lot of inspirations in my work to build some ageless and sometime ambiguous gender for my characters. I could say that the audience reached by my paintings is a one with open mind, an opening reception to be close to his own emotions and to be willing to dive in those too. I don’t create with the intention to reach a precise audience even if my work is essentially really feminine, the people who appreciate or adopt my piece, which I’m always grateful, are really varied.
Q: What inspires your creations?
I’m a hypersensitive person with a lot of contrasts. Those two essentials elements are in the center of my paintings. I’m always interested in the blending of two opposites living together in a piece. The esthetic of the characters is at first often soft, fragile even pleasant but always the shelter of a darker allusion. Gazes are at the heart of my artistic process too. They are the connections between my intentions and the spectator; choosing with a lot of caring my palette is a part that I literally adore too, it’s closely related with the emotions and the general vibes of my pieces.
Q: Is there someone special who has encouraged your work and your path as an artist?
I had the chance to grow up in a family which allow me the artistic liberty that I need and I always felt supported by them. My art teacher in college was especially a real pearl in my artistic evolution and really feed my appetite for colors and teach me strong techniques with diligence and it really gave me a good basis for the rest of my learning years. Precious friends, inspiring artists who keep help me to love what I do are an essential part for keeping my light sparkling.
Q: How would you define beauty? Is there a deep or intense sensory manifestation or a meaningful quality that speaks to you? Can you describe what quantifies the essence of beauty for you?
For me, beauty can be define in so many different levels, and it’s really personal to each person and that’s the beauty of it. Sensitivity, charisma and heart qualities in a human can make the physical beauty emanate in a so much powerful way. I’m appeal by the contrast between strangeness originality and delicate and fragile beauty. When a piece is able to touch me, to move me, I think it’s because it’s the home of something beautiful, something real. The perfect combinaiton of rich colors, a gaze filled with love, a delicate skin, a characterial nose, every element can be iconic and beautiful if it’s connected with your own vibes.
Q: When looking for a subject or a model, what qualities do you look for specifically? What is most important to you?
Most of the time, I combine various models in one to really create a personal photomontage for the beginning of my pieces. This process is part of my work for a very long time now. Sensuality, fragility, & intense feelings trough the eyes are essential. I love to blend different ages and genders to make the character really unique and one of a kind. I kind of instinctively feel it, when it’s the right blending.