DELIGHT IN DICOVERY
Figurative painter born in Québec City, Alain Bédard began studying art at the Sainte-foy College in 1976, where he learned graphic arts techniques for three years. In 1979, he left home for New York City where he hoped to improve his techniques. This voyage evidently had a profound impact on the young artist. “I took advantage of the opportunity to discover great museums, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Fine Arts which housed works by Dali and Picasso. It opened up a whole new world for me and allowed me to better connect with art, to see what was being done. Dali was still alive when I went to New York. He is one of the painters who greatly inspired me. I painted a number of surrealistic works at the time. But, when I came back to Québec, I became aware that the public was not quite ready to accept this particular artistic style,” reflects the painter.
From 1980 to 1984, the young artist undertakes graphic communications studies at Québec's Laval University. He is fortunate to have renowned artist Claude A. Simard as one of his illustration and graphic design teachers. He obtains his bachelor's degree in Graphic Design three years later and works as graphic designer and illustrator for a number of large advertising firms in Québec. A year later, in 1985, he opens his own graphic design office and participates in several advertising campaigns in Québec until 1992.
“Les Cartes Pôle Nord”
Since 1992, Alain Bédard primarily focuses on his painting, but also on the promotion of art. He is the founding owner of “Les Cartes Pôle Nord”, a company that specializes in the creation, diffusion and sale of greeting cards designed by Canadian artists. “In my capacity of graphic artist, I was often asked by corporate clients if I could produce Christmas cards. Only one or two such companies then existed, so I decided to start my own card business and offer my own products. The first cards I sold were drawn by hand, one by one. They were black and white and I personally added colour. We became quite successful overtime and gained significant market shares. The firm has now been in existence for 30 years.”
As the adventure promisingly continues on, it also serves to highlight the work of local and foreign artists. “Each year I request permission to use works from some thirty painters. In this manner, I contribute to their promotion. A few well-known European painters and illustrators also participate in the project and are happy to see their paintings thus featured in North America,” shares the painter.
Shapes and colours
Although his interest in Dali and Picasso began when he was a young man, it has not faded overtime. “When in Spain, two years ago, I was fortunate enough to visit an exhibition that grouped together works from Dali and Picasso. Seeing such an explosion of colours and shapes was an amazing experience,” recounts the artist. Thus, shapes and colours appear to be primordial in the mind of the creator. “Had I not become a painter, I would most like have become an architect. I've always been interested in architecture and it is quite apparent in my work. I always loved to paint houses. One of the things I enjoy doing when I travel in Europe is observe the architecture to see the colours, see how the buildings were constructed, this type of thing.”
Decidedly a source of inspiration, colour is at the heart of each of Alain Bédard's paintings. One may say it is his signature. “I work with colour extensively. Not so much with shading. I like to paint in solid colours to create focal points, to oppose warm to cold colours that complement each other well. Colour really is the element that inspires me the most,” explains the painter. Colours and shapes however are not the sole variables that contribute to define these works. “I create two types of paintings. The first gives the observer the sensation of entering the canvas, of becoming part of the painting. The second is created to simply be looked at. I choose the type of painting I feel like doing according to my mood. I love the idea that spectators have a role to play. A painting may of course simply be hung on the wall, but it can generate a more elaborate experience. A painting represents a moment fixed in time that we enjoy rediscovering.” Constantly driven by a profound need to express his emotions and discoveries through colour, figurative art has become for the artist a true lifestyle and preferred mode of communication.
A professional painter
“The best honorary title I've received throughout my career is that of Professional Member of the ‘Regroupement des artistes en arts visuels' (RAAV). To be recognized as ‘professional' by my peers is the best distinction I can receive,” states Alain Bédard. Clearly he worked very hard over the years, but the good times also abounded. In 2012, for instance, when he was lucky enough to have as mentor for over a year his old teacher and friend Claude A. Simard, one of the most important Canadian painters of the last 35 years. “Claude and I saw each other regularly. I asked for his help and he readily accepted,” shares Alain Bédard. “As a university professor, Claude never told students what to do. He rather guided them towards finding their own solution. This is how he taught me how to ease my gesture, how to relax and have fun, how to look at my work.”
His paintings now displayed in numerous important art galleries in Canada, Alain Bédard enjoys an enviable reputation and distinguishes himself through his colourful, luminous and vibrant paintings. His works are part of many great private Canadian, American and European collections. “To be present in six or seven galleries as is presently the case for me, one must paint some 70 canvases per year. It represents a full time job of 40 hours a week. Initially, you must build a name for yourself,” he underlines. If Alain Bédard wanted to start over his career, it is very likely he would follow the exact same path. “I haven't chosen this line of work, it has chosen me,” concludes the painter.
André Bédard’s paintings scan be found in the following galleries:
West End Gallery, 1203 Broad Street,victoria, BC, V8W 2A4 and 10337, 124 Street Edmonton, AB, T5N 1R1 www.westendgalleryltd.com
Koyman Galleries, 1771 St. Laurent Blvd, Ottawa, ON, K1G 3V4 www.koymangalleries.com
Towne Square Gallery, 94 George Street, Downtown Oakville, ON, L6J 3B7 www.townesquaregallery.com
Westmount Gallery, 88 Advance Road, Toronto, ON, M8Z 2T7 www.westmountgallery.com
Rouge Gallery, 245 3rd Avenue South, Saskatoon, SK, S7K 1M4 www.rougegallery.ca
Chase Art Gallery, 450 Beaconsfield blvd, Beaconsfield, QC, H9W 4B9 www.chaseartgallery.com
The Vegetable Seller, 30 x 36 in
Walkers Street, 24 x 30 in Next page: The Most Beautiful Autumn, 24 x 30 in