Claire Desjardins is an award-winning abstract painter who comes from a long line of artists and grew up in Montreal, Canada. She worked for many years as a graphic designer, and her work is an attempt to navigate through everyday chaos towards calm.
What's your project?
My project is really quite simple: my goal is to create moments of joy in people's day-to-day, starting with my own.
What made you land on this as your overall goal?
Making people feel joy is important and can be contagious. While doing so may not be a concrete project, positively affecting people's states of mind can, I believe, change the world. It can help to create optimism where there is none, a sense of community and caring, and it can help to spread love, universally. The language of art and love can tap into our collective psyche, and make this world a better place in which to exist.
If you had to describe your style in 3 words, what would they be?
Joyful, colorful, abstract.
We love that you say your work is “an attempt to decipher the chatter” in your head. Could you go a bit deeper there?
Inside of my head is a busy place. I find that making art is a way of laying out all the chatter, so that I may organize the moving parts that occupy my mind, all day, every day. Painting allows me a way to see something physical that is a reflection of what is happening inside my mind, something that I am responding to emotionally, and it allows me to more clearly express and frame my perceptions. The movements are often intuitive. I am able to control what I create, and to alter it in ways that please and calm me. It is soothing for both my mind and my spirit. Some people lean towards yoga; I make things with my hands.
For a lot of creators, it's easy to have a vision but not know where to start or how to get there. When you have a blank canvas, how do you begin/start painting?
My first rule is to turn angst into action. One way of doing this, is to try not to worry about the final result, and just do something. When I'm able to remove the worry barrier (that I think many people experience), then I am free to do whatever I feel like, with a sense of bold confidence. When I am able to dismiss negative self-talk, I feel liberated and am able to be more creative when faced with a blank canvas. That feeling is empowering.
What impact do you intend for your art to have on others?
I want to tap into that area of the brain that makes people relaxed and happy; I want people to feel lightness and joy.
Tell us about when you gave up your full-time job to pursue your love of painting. What helped give you the nudge to take the leap?
Change can be intimidating and uncomfortable for anyone, and I am no different. I was working as a graphic designer in the head office of a large marketing communications firm when I got laid off. The company was going through big changes, and though I expected it, losing my regular paycheque was still a frightening shock to my system.
I had other interests which I decided to explore as career options: my main passion was abstract painting, and so that's where I started. Because I really and truly loved to paint, it made the transition easier, and I think that people saw this in me and my work. I used my background in marketing and communications to put myself out there, and I wasted no time getting in touch with people in my network who I thought I might be able to help me in some way.
I worked night and day, not just on creating my art, but also trying to promote it. It paid off. That lead to getting into my first gallery, and soon, US retailer, Anthropologie, came knocking at my door (2011). Being a full-time creator is something that I now fully identify with.
How do you stay inspired to create? Who or what inspires you?
I am always looking for new mediums with which to represent my ideas, whether that means painting, hooking a rug, or welding a steel sculpture or some other activity. Sometimes, I'll see something in one medium that I will want to try to represent in another one. Working in multiple mediums, and creating work using different kinds of materials and tools is exciting to me, and helps to keep it fresh in my mind. That is what keeps me going back for more.
Be sure to follow @claire_dejardins_art to find out more about her and her work!