Monthly Archives: August 2013

Canadian artist – Luc Guérard

One introduction leads to another; that’s how I have been tracking down outsider artists in Canada. Pierre Racine (see earlier blog) suggested that I talk with Luc Guérard in Montreal, Quebec. I discovered a treasure-trove of art on Luc’s Facebook page. There is not much that Luc does not do: his paintings and assemblages are amazing.

I had fun talking with Luc. He talks like his paintings look – he is bursting with ideas and you can almost see them bouncing along the telephone line. He has two passions: his son and his art. Luc talks a lot about his disabled adult son. He is proud of his accomplishments and obviously enjoys their time together. You will see his son’s drawings on Luc’s Facebook page. He likes to focus on one object, like a truck, and draw it over and over and over again, filling the page with overlapping, beautiful patterns. It’s not hard to see Luc’s influence – like father, like son?

Luc is in his 60s and has been painting and drawing since he was a child. He was accepted into art school in 1968, but his father didn’t want him to go. Instead, he taught himself how to be an artist. He has explored many media, like painting, assemblage, and wood sculpture.  He also wrote a novel, which seemed to be a good place for his imagination to take flight. The novel is a satire, he says, where the main character goes on wild adventures. From seeing his art, I was not surprised to learn that objects in the novel transform and morph into new things – the world is not what it appears to be. Sadly, publishers rejected his work as “kitchen writing” and were flat-out insulting to him. My impression is that Luc shrugged off their insults and carries on, regardless. (Good on you, Luc!)

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As with most artists I meet, Luc has given up on having his artwork accepted by galleries and continues to work (prolifically) on his own. He sells directly from his home and has come up with a unique way to price his art:  $1 per square inch. I can see gallerists rolling their eyes upon hearing his pricing strategy. But, having been around the art scene for many years, it’s as good a system as any, in my opinion.

Check out Luc’s work – you’ll be delighted.









































































































Back to northern Canada – the Haida Gwaii


Ever on the look-out for Canadian outsider artists, I continued my search on a recent trip to Haida Gwaii (formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands) on the (very) North West coast of British Columbia.

I am the least likely person to have survived as an early pioneer, but I love Haida Gwaii.  I don’t like bugs and dirt, I couldn’t forage for my food, and I am terrified of bears. Really terrified. On this trip, my son kindly bought me a can of bear spray for our forays into the forest. Thankfully, we didn’t run into any bears, which was lucky since I have a broken ankle and couldn’t outrun a squirrel. But I digress.

I love the northern regions of Canada for its complete solitude. Eagles and ravens are as common as sparrows and the silence is broken only by the sound of the surf. The Islanders are off the grid – literally. The Haida are the indigenous people who have lived there for millennia. The more recent residents are there because they want to do things their own way. The northern tip of the island, where we stayed, refused electricity when it was offered. Surely the island had to be swarming with outsider artists?

I asked several residents about artists who might fit my description of “outsiders”. They looked puzzled because, they say, everyone is an artist in Haida Gwaii. In the long days of winter, they all retreat into their homes and create things: music, art, poetry. Strangely, this is the same response I got when I enquired about outsider artists in the northern Canadian province of Yukon.  Maybe my definition of outsiders should include everyone who lives above the 60th parallel?