Thursday, July 17, 2014

DPW Spotlight Interview: Andre Beaulieu

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings.

To enter to win Andre's painting, "Summer Cream" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Andre's DPW Gallery page:

Born in Quebec, living in Paris. Doing one painting per day (or there about) since October 1st, 2011.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

When I was a teenager, I painted a reproduction of a Swatch watch on the wall of my bedroom (my parents were thankfully very patient). On canvas, I started making reproductions of logos (like Rolling Stones tongue) and after, I did things like the Perrier and Evian logos in a large format.

Did you have any stops and starts in your painting career?

Once I started to do paintings, I did perhaps ten canvases over ten years (evenings and weekends) while I worked as a car painter in the body shop at Mercedes and BMW. I started painting full-time in October 2011.
Summer Cream
(click to see original image)

Enter to win by clicking on the link at the top of the home page announcing Andre's interview.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I started with acrylic, and then moved to oils. I’ve done reproductions, airbrush, street art stencil, and still life, hyperrealist reproductions, and now large-format Parisian cafés. I’ve experimented with some left-handed (non-dominant) paintings as my right handed paintings tend to be very realistic.

Which ones have "stuck" and which ones have fallen away?

Now I’m doing right-handed oil paintings, reproductions of cityscapes, figurative/realist.

Cafe Au Canon des Invalides
(click to see original image)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I’d like to improve my technique; since I’m self-taught, there are certainly lots of techniques and methods that I have yet to learn.

Who or what inspires you most?

I’m inspired by Hopper, Rod Penner, Keith Haring, Andy Warhol. And as for things to look at, I’m inspired currently by Parisian cafés within walking distance of my apartment, especially when they have good sunlight and a bit of movement.

Apple Preserves III
(click to see original image)

What does procrastination look like for you?

When I’m stuck on a painting, I’ll often leave it and work on it again the next day. Instead, I’ll take pictures for new paintings, or go buy supplies, or do some designs. I don’t wait more than until the next day to keep get going again.

What techniques work to ensure that you make time for your art?

I work the same hours that I did when I was an employee (9 am to 6 pm). I go to work every day, take the metro, pack a lunch, go to my studio – I approach it as a regular full-time job! The studio is new – I used to paint every day in our living room, and have only been in the studio for about 5 months. Approaching it like it’s my regular full-time job for the past (nearly) 3 years has helped me get representation with a gallery in Paris at Place des Vosges just as of last Friday, so this is really exciting.

And as far as having time, I’ve been lucky in that I have focussed solely on the creation of the art. The management of my website, mailing list, Facebook page, and the communication with the clients has been done (up to now) by my wife. Now that I’ve progressed to having gallery representation, they’ll be doing the sales and marketing work. So me, I get to paint all day long.

Cafe Le Buci
(click to see original image)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I paint exclusively from photos, so I first look for good photographs. Now I am taking all of the photos myself, but before I used to also rely on a combination of my own images as well as creative commons images on Flickr (or with permission from other photographers’ works).

To find a Paris café to paint, I wait for a sunny day, head out with my camera, and just walk the streets looking for the right image (there are over seven thousand cafés in Paris apparently!).

How do you keep art "fresh?" What techniques have helped you avoid burnout and keep your work vibrant and engaging?

I treat it like a full-time, regular job. I work 5 days a week with weekends off. I take vacations. I’m also happiest now that I’m painting exclusively what I want to (thankfully, also what the gallery wants to represent).

Cassette 60
(click to see original image)

What do you feel you are learning about right now as an artist?

Right now I’m learning how to navigate the system of how gallery representation works, as well as figuring out what will sell and at what size (I’m working up to larger and larger canvases).

What makes you happiest about your art?

When I finish a canvas, the satisfaction it gives me when I’ve done a good job of reproducing the photo, getting the colors right, as well as improving on the photo so that the painting is better than the original image.

Thanks, Andre!

© 2014 Sophie Catalina Marine Cruse

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