In anticipation of our release with artist Audra Auclair, we sat down with the talented artist to live about her life, art and more. Read the short interview below:
Where were you born and where are you now?
I was born in a very small town in Alberta which is the prairie province of Canada. Now I live on beautiful Vancouver Island, Canada.
What are your first artistic memories?
I've always liked to draw but my first moment of being "inspired" was when I watched Sailor Moon for the first time. I think I was 5 or 6 years old. It gave me goosebumps and most of my creativity while growing up was fueled by the small amount of Japanese media I had access to in rural Canada.
How has your style evolved from over the years to now? Have you always dealt with the same themes?
I think my themes have remained pretty consistent throughout my life. I've managed to become more comfortable with experimenting with things outside my comfort zone lately (landscapes and still life paintings). I've always used art as a way to express my style, interests, experiences or emotions, as many artists do. But there are always new ways to put my thoughts into a visual form that helps create a better feeling of what is inside my brain. That is what I've been trying to channel lately. It takes more time but it's worth it and feels comforting to show the finished work to someone and have them relate to it. I want people to look at my work and see something in it that touches a feeling or experience they've had, I want them to feel less alone or more understood. That connection is what I'm trying to strive for moving forward. Even if people don't have the connection it's always fulfilling for me to offload my feelings onto the paper.
Could you tell us a bit about this week's release with us, "Death & Transformation?"
I painted "Death & Transformation" with oils on a large canvas which was unique for me as I usually work on paper with gouache or watercolor. I painted this piece just before I started receiving psychiatric help for depression and anxiety. I was "coming undone", I felt stagnant and that I'd lost all love for art and life but I began learning why and that was a fascinating process for me to see all the pieces of things that had led to my brain shutting down. I had newly diagnosed conditions that had shed light on what was happening internally and it began a journey of me learning how to cope. Everything from the colors to the dripping effects were my attempt to create the feelings of hope but also of being lost. The stellar jays symbolize diagnosis and/or pieces of depression or oneself. The face on the bird ties back to a painting, called "Rue", that I had made prior to getting help which symbolized terrorizing thoughts. Even though I made this during a dark stage I can only see hope and encouragement when I look at it because that is what I felt when painting it. By adding the embellishments of flowers and cherry blossom petals I could update the painting to reflect my current mindspace. I feel like it adds that extra layer of transformation to show I'm at a place where there is regrowth and new positivity.
What is a normal day like in the studio for you?
There is never a normal day and most times I don't enter my studio. I know that it's because of ADHD but I wish I could stick to a schedule, that is my biggest struggle. Usually I try to fit drawing and painting in when I can but for now I'm still recovering and taking things slow.
What is the hardest part of creating a work?
Creating has never been hard for me. The hard part is everything around it. The logistics, social media, having to record reels, emails, marketing, planning, etc. those are the things that kill my creativity. I'm still trying to figure out how to be inspired while doing all of those things.
And what is the most rewarding part?
Pulling off a great concept that looks good enough to pass my standards. Then putting that painting up on the studio wall with some clips and staring at it makes me feel every good feeling I can think of.
When you're not working in the studio, what are you up to?
I love to swim in the river. I enjoy night walks and easy hikes in the woods. I read lots of fantasy novels, take up random projects that I finish half of the time and I cuddle my cats. I journal and plan how to make my home better. I do this by finding beautiful things online which I add to my cart and then rarely buy (it all ends up on my pinterest). Plein air painting has become a new love of mine that has helped me significantly. I play a lot of minecraft with loved ones and watch an embarrassing amount of minecraft videos on youtube.
What can we look forward to from you in the future?
I have some bigger gouache paintings in the works that have some deep meaning and I plan to add some more intricate backgrounds thanks to my recent plein air excursions.
"Death & Transformation" will be available Thursday, June 2nd, 2022 at 1PM Pacific.