Scribble Artist Interview with Guy Laramée!
Scribble Town (ST): We are constantly traveling on a journey. It’s amazing how each part seems like a whole world of it’s own with all it’s intricacies and surprises. From books, to words, to feelings, all these experiences connect us, either to each other or to our surroundings. That’s how I felt when I saw Guy Laramée’s work. I found myself walking through his artworks, which are fantastical microcosms in the grand scheme of things.
Due to it’s uniqueness, I would rather not attempt to classify your art, but how would you describe it?
Guy Laramée (GL): People define me socially as an artist. I make art.
ST: What are you up to at the moment?
GL: Right now I’m doing exactly this : beginning what looks as an “Atlas of No-Mind”.
ST: Wow, I can’t even begin to imagine just how overflowing with indescribable findings this atlas will be!
Your artwork is very full, complex and interdisciplinary in a playful and magical way! How do you combine music and art? And what about words and art? For example, your poem titled Rain has many oil paintings related to the text. What came first?
GL: I don’t combine music and visual art. They were different moments of my life. Maybe I’m more multi-disciplinary than interdisciplinary.
I have a love-hate relationship with words, that’s why I both love and destroy books. I find that words are beautiful, they open up entire worlds, but at the same time they fix things in a way that binds us.
Rain (pluie in French) came as a body of work first. But while I was doing the research and starting the actual paintings, I collected poems and texts to understand my feelings about rain, how rain is profoundly nostalgic, calming and beautiful. To translate these feelings on a more existential level, I wrote the poem.
May it rain
May it rain on this troubled world
May this rain erase borders
May it mix colors, forms, and times.
May it rain upon me
May the sound of this rain
Wash myself from myself
May this rain dissolve me
Until I recognize myself in trees, mountains, and people.
May I keep hearing this rain
Through the clamour of ambitions.
May it rain
May it rain upon our confused minds
And (that) through this rain
May we return home.
-Guy Laramée, March 2010
ST: It’s a beautiful poem! It lends itself to giving the reader images in their minds and context for your paintings. How have your studies in anthropology inspired your artwork? What has been you artistic path? I can see your interests run deep and wide with the range of mediums and concepts you use.
GL: Anthropology came as a way for me to understand that there exist different worldviews and that in their own world, they are all equally valid. They clash one with another, but all worldviews have some fascinating coherence. Thus my problem was/is : if truth – by definition – is unique, if truth can be equated to Oneness, then how come it manifests itself under so many guises, in so many forms? How can Truth encompass contradictions?
The variety of mediums I used only reflect the incapacity of each medium, of each piece, of each work to say it all. The incompletude (uncompletedness ?) of each art work keeps me on the move.
ST: The way you manipulate and use books as sculpture is amazing! How did you start carving books? Please let us know more about Les Livres-Lumier. I would love to visit those mountain tops one day!
GL: I cannot really say how I’m doing it because I feel more and more that it is not me who is doing this. When I enter the process (often reluctantly…!) I am possessed by a force that is quite powerful and that “decides” so to speak how things are going to go this time, what tools will be used, etc. Tools and processes change all the time, sometime new tools have to be created. The only thing I know for sure is : since I invent tools, I’m not a monkey, thus I must be human (lol). Even that I don’t really know for sure. I’d rather see the artistic process as a process of Unknowing rather than a learning process.
ST: Your work ranges from 2D to 3D. Do you feel that some of your 3D works could also work at 2 dimensional pieces? How do you decide what mediums and platforms to best portray your ideas?
GL: Once I showed an art magazine to a friend who happens to be a photographer. There was a piece in there that was quite ambiguous, like a painting stretched on a sculpture. I asked him ” “What do you think, is this a painting or a sculpture ?” I went for the sculpture. I shouted at him, laughing : “It’s neither ! It’s a photograph !!”
Think about it : 99 % of the art works you saw in your life, you know then only through photographs. Interesting, right ? So in a way you could say that the ‘essence’ of the work can make it into a translation, either photographical or textual; or you could say that for you, the real work is the photograph. If you were to be true to yourself, the work for you is a photo.
So of course my 3D work works very well in 2D, people buy it after seeing it on the internet…!
ST: You’re absolutely right! The transformations between mediums and documentations of those changes creates a whole new piece of it’s own every time.
When you come up with an idea what is usually your process for working it through?
GL: If I had found a recipe to make my work, I would SELL IT ! There’s no recipe. Like in love. The moment you fix it, it’s gone. That’s the beauty of it, that’s why also I’m always in a state of profound anxiety (half kidding : it is not easy to make insecurity your home…).
ST: Did anybody encourage your creativity when you were a child?
GL: Nobody encouraged me really. My parents gave me the usual painting boxes and tools, but when they saw that it was becoming serious, they did their very best to discourage me. I wish they had succeeded, really, because see in what mess I’m in now : don’t know where the next $$ are going to come from, don’t know what I’m going to do this morning, don’t know how I will ever come out of that terrible state of solitude that I ended up closing myself in, etc etc. Creativity is not a choice and thus it cannot even be fostered. Creativity is an imperative. It is the imperative of life itself. We chose nothing. We follow the current of life or resist it. Even to think that we decide to follow or resist is fallacious. The current of life is all there is.
ST: Guy, what would be some artful advice for our Scribble readers?
GL: Don’t fear solitude. That’s the only advice I can give. When you are alone, don’t try to escape it. Drop your cell phone in a pond. Put your TV to the trash bin. Stop losing your time on computer screens. These things suck your creativity.
Be alone as much as you can. Then the voices of the muses will take care of the rest. They will guide you.
ST: I understand what you mean. We are, in the end, our own best friend even though sometimes it can seem like we are our own enemy! Thank you so much for sharing with us! You have given us all whole lot to chew on- from concepts to techniques. Scribblers, for more inspiration please have a look at Guy’s website at http://www.guylaramee.com.