Zoe Boivin is an upcoming Canadian painter. We are delighted to present our collaborative collection inspired by her latest trip to Morocco. It’s a visual explosion of colours and emotions on canvas and as they often say in Morocco “It’s a pleasure for your eyes”. We also had an inspiring little chatt with her, scroll down to read our little interview.
1- How do you approach a blank canvas? Do you already have a plan? For example, have you already worked on some sketches or have you chosen a colour palette?
I love drawing no matter where I am. I always bring a small sketchbook with me so I can draw whatever happens to catch my eye. I take pictures of shapes that inspire me, often at the most unexpected moments (graffiti on a wall, an unlikely object in a room, some strangely aligned leaves on the ground, etc.) I then use these pictures and sketches as visual references in my studio that guide me when I’m working.
When I get to work on a given day, I let my feelings guide me. I take time to refocus before I actually start painting. I never set out with a specific idea. I often start with a few ink blotches that I have let dry on my canvas beforehand, this organic composition becomes the starting point in a piece. Then the dance begins, my hands guide me in the flow of the creative process. I listen to very loud music that helps me express my emotions with colour and images on canvas. I always try to eliminate any resistance and give free reign to my intuition and emotions that guide my movements. I never choose colours or shapes beforehand; they emerge naturally in the process, and I am always surprised and even astonished at the results. Amusing fact: the process is really messy!
2- You often say that you paint your emotions and that your travels often inspire your work. This series was inspired by your trip to Morocco. Can you describe specific moments that inspired you?
One specific day, I was really inspired. We were in a bus with a lot of other people crossing the High Atlas region on our way to the desert to spend the night in a Berber camp. It was a long journey, more or less 10 hours, but time went by really fast. I was hypnotized by the seemingly endless snow-capped mountains and huge reddish-brown sand dunes with white striations, a veritable visual delight. Along the way, I worked in my sketchbook a lot, in the company of our bus driver Mohammed who sang along with the local radio.
We would stop to eat, take a break and enjoy a cup of mint tea (yummy) and the mountain monkeys would come join us along the road.Once we arrived at our destination, we set out at sunset to cross the desert on camels to get to the camp. The colours and shapes created by the shadows and the last sun rays of the day were so carved out, it was breathtaking. It felt like I was roaming and meditating on a large abstract canvas. Then we ate a traditional tajine dinner (with our fingers), and ended the evening with Berber dances and songs, under the brightest starlit sky I had ever seen.I will never forget this day, the most emotionally and visually inspiring day I have ever experienced.
Finally, every moment I spent in the souks, whether in Fes, Essaouira or Marrakech, were incredibly inspiring.It is a unique experience to meander down the narrow alleyways, filled with people, sounds, odors, colours and crafts of all kinds.Despite the frenzy that can sometimes be overwhelming, I have fond memories of moroccan life where inspiration lies around every corner.
3- When did you decide to pursue painting as a career? What triggered it? Was it a hard decision?
When I was 24 years old, I went through a life-changing period in my personal life that made me reflect on my identity as a human being and as a woman. I was looking for my voice. I had done a bit of sketching before then, but only for myself.
At that moment, I was also working as a stand-in on the set of of the Xavier Dolan movie, The Life and Death of John Donavan. I found the experience very rewarding. It was very inspiring to rub shoulders every day with a young talented artist and watch him work. His drive and passion resonated within me, and I understood something very important: you cannot be afraid to do what you love and to follow your instincts.
I then started to share my work on social medias and to reflect further on my approach, to work on my technique, to become more confident as an person and an artist,etc. I started to work hard, even while we were filming. I would use my breaks every day to work on small collages in my exercise book, and I slowly integrated watercolours, then paint, and eventually all kinds of mixed media, all of this on mounted canvases that I now paint in my studio.
Do you work as an artist full-time? What are your days like? Do you have a routine that allows you to paint regularly?
Yes, I am now a full-time artist. I work in my studio every day, and occasionally, I work on movie sets. I like to be immersed in the universe of fiction. It really inspires me in my work as a painter.
My ideal day starts bright and early with a walk outdoors where I can calmly observe nature.Then I get ready and go to my studio for a session not having even glanced at my computer or my cellphone.That’s how I keep my creativity , my dreams and my thought-process fresh in my memory. However, I also have to maintain a balance between my artistic work and my obligations such as office work, correspondence, emails, meetings, etc.The life of an entrepreneur and an artist both require attention. It is a wonderful balance, and I feel privileged to pursue such fulfilling work.
Thank you so much sharing Zoe! I hope you guys will have a look at the complete collection inspired by Morocco right here.