Interview performed, written and translated by Elizabeth McLellan
I had the pleasure of speaking with Marilou Lyonnais Archambault about her work as as a visual artist and graphic designer. She collaborated with us on our recent project with Centrefold to create a stunning Zine, with artist profiles for the event. Her work is informed by the human relationship with technology and the digital world, as well as by music and shared creativity. These questions will give you a peek into her process of artistic creation, and the inspiration behind it.
Graphite: Describe your work.
Marilou: My visual practice is principally guided by my anecdotal relationship with the world, and the referentiality of the contribution of technology to our daily lives. In my work, I affirm that the nature of the image has changed since the beginning of the 20th century, with the arrival of the photographic image. I want to position myself in relation to this revolution. Virtual imagery, digital technology, and the web have monopolized today’s image consumption, so I construct my visual stories from the pervasive and omnipresent effect of everyday objects
G: How did your career in graphic design/digital art start?
M: My career in the domain of graphic design started about two years ago, when I started improvising on projects for my friends who wanted visual artwork for their band’s performances. I have always loved spending time in front of my computer, and after the second summer I cultivated my abilities in photoshop, illustrator, and indesign. So, it was with great pleasure that I started getting paid for my work.
G: How important is/was a formal education in your field to your successes?
M: I think that I would not be able to do what I do presently without my formal education. I have always opted for concentrating on art in all of the various degrees of education I have received, and I think that this tendency has had a large impact on the formation of my visual style and narrative. The trend right now is to think that “art school is a waste of time and money”, but I am in complete disagreement. Yes, we can learn from each other, from traveling to other countries, and from ourselves, but I think all the same an educational framework is still important: in both understanding the lessons you are taught, and revolting against those very ideas. I have had incredible professors, who have given me the passion and desire to continue to discover and learn more.
G: What do you value most in your work? (the message, the aesthetic, the color, the form, etc…?)
M: I think that it is a combination of the moment, the form, and the colour. I create most of the time from instinct, impulse, and chaos, so I am able to depict things that both trouble and fascinate me. What I value most, however, is the externalization of that moment, where I can take a moment to reassure myself that all is well. The result is an image that unconsciously breaks the rules of composition of symbol and form.
G: Do you see yourself working as an artist for the rest of your life?
M: I very much want to. I am presently working on my bachelors degree in art education , and I think that this road will be rich in expanding my practice, and sharing this knowledge is important to me. The generational cultural knowledge that I have to share, and that students have to share with me, drives me creatively. I am excited to share the knowledge I have, and to learn from listening: recycling the intellectual material between my peers and I.
G: What types of art inspire you ? do you get inspiration from music, film, fashion, or mainly from visual art?
M: The two fields that inspire me the most are visual art, of course (I am a large consumer of art boots, galleries, museums, and online archives), and music. I am a sort of sponge: soaking in knowledge, and knowing when to release it unconsciously into my work. The second domain closest to my creations is definitely music. I have been playing music for 15 years, and musicality has always had a large impact on the way I envision life and art. Abstraction and deconstruction are at the core of my practice, and I think that music contributes a lot to my ability to depict these elements visually. With music I am taken to the non-places: the immutable elusive spaces where 1+1=3, and where real creativity blossoms.
G: Are there any strong political/social messages you are working with/trying to get across in your work?
M: No. Art has reason to exist just for its own characteristics, properties, and the experience it facilitates. I am not particularly interested presently in some grand cause, except maybe in the pervasiveness of virtuality in my works with websites. Before all else, however, I think that creating visual art is a political act in itself, given its precarious status in the capitalist system we are living in. It is this drive that principally interests me at the moment: creation as resistance.
G: Does your language/culture influence your work?
M: I think it does most of the time. I write before creating. I write in an automatic style that allows me to express everything that passes through my head, resulting in the exquisite bodies that I capture in an image. My image entitled Cool Romance of roses in Listerine, is a result of this process. In that sense, I create like I write: thinking about the plasticity of words and the way the are formed into speech.
Have a look at Marilou’s Facebook page for more art.