OCTOBER 30, 2017
ARTIST AT A GLANCE: RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS
The colour of joy is: yellow.
My joy comes from: creation.
Love is: within each of us.
I know I am happy when: I’m in the flow and feel the fluidity of a stream of inspiration.
When I whisper the word bliss: I am truly connected with who I am and I feel energized.
Montreal is: artistic.
Art is: life.
I FEEL, THEREFORE I AM
Zoé Boivin’s artwork exudes a quality of presence that the artist herself embodies so well. To stand in front of one of her pieces is to have a profound and intimate encounter with oneself through art. The content of one’s heart spills out in front of the eyes. Zoé demonstrates dexterity in artfully integrating different media to express feelings through form. For Zoé, art in its essence is emotion. For this reason, it is fitting that her work is abstract. As she likes to say, she paints emotions. In her words, “Across every form of art, the purpose of art remains the same. It’s to translate emotions so that people can reconnect with themselves when needed and open their eyes to see with their soul.”
With an air of wistful remembrance, Zoé recounts how the very first canvas she sold brought tears to the person’s eyes. The experience was cathartic and they felt a sense of unbridled happiness. Zoé singles out that moment as her greatest satisfaction as an artist.
The way Zoé sees it, the role art plays in people’s lives today is to support people in tapping into their source energy. “A bit like mediation does,” she adds. There is a peacefulness that glistens in her eyes when she tell me this much the way that light scintillates across the surface of a lake, inviting one to become at once calm and pensive. I wonder out-loud whether, like author Brené Brown she would say that, ““Vulnerability is the core, the heart, the centre, of meaningful human experiences.” “Life is fragile,” she tells me, “and it is only when we connect deeply with our nature, the ultimate form of vulnerability, that we are able to make that mean we’re strong.” In her view, vulnerability is a necessary ingredient to be able to lead a life of rich meaning.
“Life is fragile and it is only when we connect deeply with our nature, the ultimate form of vulnerability, that we are able to make that mean we’re strong.”
Recently, Zoé has been painting the emotion of birth and renewal. The through line of this emotion is self-determination and disentangling oneself from the opinion of others. She is exploring how much of what we take on is actually our own. The question that is born of this kind of reflection is: Who am if, in the words of poet Nayyirah Waheed, “I am mine before I am ever anyone else’s”?
“Who am I if I am mine before I am ever anyone else’s?”
When asked what she holds to be the most powerful emotion, there is a thoughtful pause and then she answers: “Freedom.” Freedom potentiates love. I unearth this when I later ask her: “If there were one lasting impression you could convey through your art before the whole world went blind, what would it be?” If there were only ever one thing that you choose to commit yourself to, let it be what came to mind for Zoé: “Love.” Love and only love.
THEATRE FOR THOUGHTS
For the artist, the world and everything is a stage. Or at least it seems that way for Zoé. In fact, her largest yet unrealized projects have to do with exploring performance and installation art. She aspires to leave her mark in the epicentre of the art world: New York. She envisages an outdoor installation that would become inextricably enmeshed with its surroundings.
Zoé Boivin’s professional and artistic trajectory has been wide and varied. She has approached her life as she would a canvas: with broad brushstrokes and a flair for detail. This is how she cultivates creativity in her life, by bringing the little things into the whole of her awareness. She relates creativity back to openness, our ability not only to look out onto our lives through a window, but to step out of the box and think differently. This is exactly what she had to do when at age 24, she veered away from her background in Communication to pursue a career in the Arts. “It was as if I had taken a canister of white paint and strewn it all over my life,” she says almost defiantly.
“It was as if I had taken a canister of white paint and strewn it all over my life.”
Zoé’s paintings are an amphitheatre for emotions that we get to spectate. A distinctive visual vocabulary emerges all her own. Her experience working in the film and television industry has allowed her to channel her focus and hone her craft with the remarkable ability to captivate an audience.
Zoé tells me that she has always had a deep sense of knowing that she was an artist at heart. The first time she said the words out loud, her friends giggled. And yet, as she stands before me in her studio surrounded by a universe of her own creation, one has to concede that sometimes when you know, you just know.