Questioning Creatives

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This article was written on 11 Mar 2014, and is filled under illustrators.

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Pierre-Paul Pariseau

I’m a Montrealer (Canada), probably in the second half of his life, that have been living the creative life for more than 20 years now. I have been working for clients in North America and Europe since many years. I also exhibit my work regularly. Evoking currents of surrealism and pop art, my creative work invites us into a world of images where everything is possible. Happy coincidences, anecdotal events inspire the artist in a fantasy that translates into images made of vibrant colours, stunning juxtapositions and hypnotic reveries. My anthropomorphic creations seems to request storytelling but never impose one. The intensity of my work confuses and attract in a way that does not dictate to the viewer, but stimulate imagination to explore unrestrained. An invitation to discover enigmatic mixed media images that captivate and intrigue.

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When did you decide you wanted to be illustrator?
I always loved art but didn’t really started before I was in my twenties. I did a few clumsy oil paintings then but soon discovered the technique of photo-collages. I was amazed by the surreal imagery that could be created using a few “cutouts” from photos in magazines; I had found my medium. At the beginning my collages were very simple. I used a pair of scissors and glue for many years. My big influence then was the surrealist artists like Dali, Magritte, and others. Everything that was surrealist, in painting but also in literature, in poetry and in movies. Photomontage pioneers also like John Heartfield, Max Ernst, Jacques Prévert. Rapidly although I became inspired by a lot of things coming my way, in my surroundings, to a point that it is difficult to name anything in particular. Later on my photo-collages became more “sophisticated” and I started to exhibit in cafés, cultural centers and galleries. Not much after I decided to build a portfolio and go see art directors of publications around town. I received an immediate positive answer, it was the beginning of my career as an illustrator and it goes on since.

Would you recommend studying at art school?
Not necessarily, I am myself a self-taught artist. This said, studying could be a very good thing, why not.

How long was it before illustration became your primary form of income?
It took around 2 years to be fully able to live only from my illustration jobs.

Could you describe your typical day?
In the morning I first take care of emails and some promotional activities. I go out to have an expresso and read a little bit. I note then important things that I just thought about (apart from my daily agenda) that I should remember doing today and the next days. After dinner I start working on the commission job I have to do. If necessary I might stop to change my mind doing other things (going to the supermarket, doing house chores, etc…) and stay away from the current job to be able to come back with a fresher point of view on it. Same thing when creating new personal works. After supper I can continue working late in the night or go out, read, watch a movie, depending how much I am busy with work. It goes on like this during the week-end often.

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What do you wish you’d know when you first started out?
Good question. I do not know really. It is good to discover the trade from day to day. I do not think that I made major mistakes.

What’s the best thing about being an illustrator?
Free to manage your time as you will, which means being very busy all the time.

What’s the worst thing about being an illustrator? 
Possible financial insecurity .

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If you weren’t an illustrator, what would you be? 
A musician, a writer, something in the art.

Any other tips you could share? 
To a beginner I would say: Listen, observe, look carefully and be interested in the cultural and social lives of the world around you and beyond. This will enrich your visual vocabulary and allow you to better translate your ideas and emotions. Consider your personal works as important as the commissions and vice versa, because they nourish each other.

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