Gaetanne Lavoie

Born in: 1978, Cornwall, ON, Canada

Lives in: Kingston, ON, Canada

Media: Painting

Describe your work in 3 words: Colourful, cheeky, affecting

See More Work:

Bite Me - Oil on Linen 18 x 12 in.

"The underlying current in all of my work is my desire to express ideologies of freedom through consciousness. My oval portrait series is based on Edgar Allan Poe's short story, "The Oval Portrait", about how beauty is simultaneously the creator and destroyer of beauty. My oval portraits are meant to consider dogmas of beauty, consciousness, and identity in relation to the human condition."

What themes does your work involve?
Some themes that are present in my work are spirituality and consciousness, human nature, psychosis, freedom and self-imprisonment. We are the creators of our metaphorical prison and we can choose to change that through awakenings. I like to use symbols; such as, butterflies, hummingbirds, skeletons, cages, furry handcuffs, etc., that enhance ideas of freedom and free will in relation to the thralldom that my culture projects to be "law" but is in actuality "choice". I choose to challenge these beliefs by characterizing contradiction. Finding, listening and following a higher consciousness requires us to go against what we've been taught to do by our cultures which in and of itself is contradictory. I have a North American viewpoint but believe that these themes cross borders.
Describe your creative process.
Because I'm always driven by the same theme, my pictures often change compositions. I work on several different series at the same time. This keeps me interested and believe it or not, focused. I find it difficult to remain interested in working on only one series and having several different types of pictures on the go keeps my attention, which adds to my productivity. In the end, everyone wins! I am a day worker and prefer to wake up early, get my morning started with a great workout and then head to the studio. It's actually quite boring, I work until lunch, eat a bite then work until 4-5 pm. When I have a deadline I'll kick in into high gear, but that's the gist of it. I also need other ways to spend my time away from Fine Art, into athletics, family, friends, and greenhouse hopping. 😉
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
Humans influence my work. Seeking inspires me. I make art because I have no other choice.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
I remember being in undergrad and the BIG conversation was "What is art? Can you define art?" Their answer was almost always "No" and that the plastic cafeteria chair was no less art than Michelangelo's David. I, on the other hand, believe that you can define art, and will even go so far as to say that there is such a thing as good and even better, great art. Art is subjective and what a collector loves is indicative of their personal aesthetic. Regardless of personal taste, there is a rhythm to great art which consists of practice, training, understanding and deliberate choice along with natural instinct and impulse. Great art involves the artist having the expertise to know when to make a deliberate aesthetic choice or to allow your process to flow.
What is the role of the artist today?
I think the artist today is what the artist always was. I create art partly because I love it, partly because I can't live without it, partly because I have a lot to say and rather than bore everyone around me with my antics, creating a work of art is a much more interesting means of communication. Artists are leaders and revolutionaries who have the potential to change the world as we know it...and the funniest bit about that is that you don't need to be an "artist" to be an artist. Every human on the planet has the potential to live an artistically inspired life. The role of the artist today is to follow the beat of their own drum and exemplify that life to their surrounding cultures and if part of that is creating "artwork" then our planet is more beautiful because of it.

This page was published by Circle Foundation for the Arts © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist