First Impressions: Audra Auclair
This artist reveals how many hats she has to wear as a freelance creative…
This freelance artist has to wear lots of hats.
What was your first paid commission, and does it stand as a representation of your talent?
They were two acrylic paintings for a local restaurant. I was proud at the time, but I’ve grown a lot since.
What’s the last piece you finished, and how do the two differ?
A gouache portrait inspired by Japan during Golden Week. It took me three hours to complete with confident lines, colours, style and knowledge of anatomy. That first commission took weeks. I was untrained, afraid and insecure.
You’re a child, you see a painting or drawing that changes everything… Where are you and what are you looking at, and what effect did it have on you?
I decided I was going to be an artist the first time I watched Sailor Moon in our duplex in Vancouver. I was six and it blew my mind. I’d never seen so many beautiful colours, movement, and strong female characters that inspired me. I wanted to recreate those feelings, the inspiring characters. I wanted to create what I dreamed to be.
Does one person stand out to you during your early years?
My mum had faith in me, encouraging me to follow my dreams. My high-school art teacher, Kerri Colwell, fought to bring us to the city to experience real galleries, and she created a safe space for us. My partner, Lopi, helped support me while I worked 70-hour weeks to get my career started.
Is making a living as an artist all that you thought it’d be?
I’ve taught myself so many skills I didn’t expect I’d need to learn about more of the admin side: managerial, business and so on. Most artists I know joke that only 20 per cent of our jobs is creating art and it’s true! I wear more hats than I’d expected I would, but it’s worth the precious moments I get to create.
What advice would you give to your younger self to aid you along the way?
Don’t have an ego. Work twice as hard in the beginning, because that’s what it takes – no one will do it for you. Don’t attend school for graphic design, because it’ll only put you in debt and delay your success.
Do you have an art tool that you can’t live without?
I’ve fallen in love with gouache for the smooth matte texture and beautiful effect that it creates. I use M. Graham & Co. but often I’ll apply Holbein Acryla gouache for the base layers.
Is your art evolving? What’s the most recent creative experiment that you’ve made?
I feel like my style is becoming “mine” and that’s a place I’ve been struggling to reach for 10 years. I’ve been experimenting with oil paints this past year and really enjoy creating larger pieces that allow for more detail and complexity.
What does the future hold for you?
I’d like to complete the sci-fi/fantasy comic that I’ve been developing the past five years. I’d like to travel more to help me create outside of my current confines. Since I grew up in remote places, there wasn’t much to feed my brain with. Now I want to feed it with culture and things I’ve never seen before, to enrich my own style, find happiness in it. I’d like to make books of my art and travels to look back on and to inspire people like my younger self. Audra is a Canadian artist who specialises in exploring the surreal and beautiful female form with her transcendent fusion of fine art and illustration with a variety of mediums. You can see more of her paintings and learn about her future art projects at www.audraauclair.com.
I decided I was going to be an artist the first time I watched Sailor Moon
Rue “An expression of our restlessness and mental issues steering us down wrong paths.” Scatterling “This piece was created with gouache and watercolour. They are mediums I certainly favour.”