My name is PEDNÒ. I am a Visual Artist from Montréal.
I studied art 30 years ago, and then became a hairstylist, channeling my creativity in this art form for over 25 years. 10 years ago, I began to seriously to paint again using acrylics.
Why are you an artist?
I am an introspective individual; it’s easier for me to put my thoughts in imagery than in words.
How important art is for you?
Since childhood, I expressed myself through some form of art to release my emotions. Whether painting or creating a new look for someone, I am a creative individual.
What did you do before or during becoming an artist?
I have been hairstylist for 25 years and have seen thousands of people in front of me improving their image. It seems logical now for me to paint faces, creating an image that draws on all those years of improving people’s self-esteem.
Does the creative process happen easily for you?
No. It’s painful sometimes to push myself beyond my limits. I am perfectionist and want to improve with each painting. I’m not in my comfort zone when I do this. In fact, I don’t think I’ll ever be, but the satisfaction I get when I complete a painting makes it worth it.
What happens to works that don’t work out?
I am lucky; I don’t have many pieces that are left. I think that timing is important. Sometimes those that don’t sell immediately become more valuable later.
The business or marketing side of art can be a challenge to some, what are your thoughts?
All I can say is that we don’t hear the best singers on the radio, we don’t see the best painters and sculptors in the gallery, or the best designers in boutiques. What is difficult for many is that they don’t know anyone in the artistic middle, they don’t have the resources. Many get disappointed and loose the sacred fire. My advice is to keep focusing, never loose faith in yourself, and if you’re good, time will prove you right.
If someone says to you, “oh your work is decorative and lacks any meaning…” your response would be?
I would say, “It has nothing to say to you, but to the person next to you it does.”
What or how do you respond to the term “Starving Artist”?
We don’t have to starve to be taken seriously these days. There is a myth among some artists who think that if they want to be taken seriously, they have to create art that is not commercial which only a few purists will like. Come on, we have to eat and pay the rent as well. My art is commercial and I’m happy with that. It comes alive when someone loves it and with pride, buys it to cherish and show to others. Otherwise, it is in my studio waiting. Not only do I not have a problem letting go, I am grateful.
Which is more important to you, the subject of your painting, or the way it is executed?
Both. To me it is unfinished if the painting is smooth. For me, it has to have a physical presence as much as a visual. That’s where textures comes in. I use a lot of glitter to catch and accentuate the points of light, I use thick paint to do the hair or to emphasize some part of the painting, but it has to be calculated. I don’t like the skin to be sandy or rough, I like it smooth. For the rest I use movement and textures. I recreate the real texture of clothing by using the accent or applying the paint with a spatula. It’s like sculpting with colours.
How long did it take to develop your own style?
It took me four intense years. I had admiration for some artists when I started and they served as my inspiration. I never copied, but rather tried to understand their perception of light and the technique they were using.
Trial and error brought me to an understanding of light and the way movement influences the subject. I’m not a master yet, but I’m getting better. I now know what I’m looking for, I want to paint the light. It is light that gives volume, life and humanity to an inanimate subject. My goal is to transmit my perception of light. I use beautiful faces or bodies to demonstrate this, intensifying the subject, emotions and movement.
Of course, I have developed my drawing style as well. I have my colour palette and reflect about the harmony of it all. My style is this beautiful subject, with intensity, emotion and texture that is done in a glamourous style. Maybe 5-10 years from now I will paint other subjects, but I will keep in mind my goal and technique.
What do you love/hate about being an artist?
I love the satisfaction of creating something from nothing. I love when someone is touched or in admiration of my work. I also love the evolution of my work, the challenge of surpassing myself.
What I hate is the mood swings that comes with it and I don’t like to be the victim of bad critics, or living in the eyes of others. I don’t like to feel that I have reached my limit and need to reflect, or being in doubt of my work. I am more in peace accepting the negative side, and rather than nourish it, I transform it into colour.
Did you intend to become a professional artist?
Not at first. I started to paint again after a 15-year break for fun, in a therapeutic way. I did 15 paintings that were hiding in my living room, and one day I found the courage to show them to the owner of a restaurant. This person was exposing local artists by displaying their works in his business. He proposed I display mine, but I was so shy and afraid. However, I knew I had to do something with the paintings so I held an opening and displayed them for a month, and to my surprise, I sold everything.
That was the beginning. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone, and step-by-step, I acquired the skills and the confidence. I sold art to three important art collectors in Montreal. They have Matisse, Gauguin and Riopelle to name a few. I think this is a form of recognition. I am at the beginning of my career and already I feel fortunate!
Did you have an inspirational teacher, and how did that affect you?
I had a teacher that believed in me, she herself had been a model for Picasso, she knew the man, and she saw something in me that I couldn’t see. She wrote a letter to introduce me at L’ Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Paris, she intervened on my behalf to get me a scholarship, but it was my punk years and I was rebellious. During this period I met my boyfriend, left school to study hairstyling and nothing could have changed my mind. This teacher and another one tried to convince me, but my path was different from their expectations. Life is strange sometimes since it brought me back to painting.
What can you say about your work that might not be evident to the viewer?
Don’t look through the pulpy lips or the intense glimpse for someone you know, these persons are the fruits of my imagination combined with a certain reality. Classic portraits limit my creativity with technical constraint; I’ve done many portraits, but have more fantasy and freedom this way.