Cut out for Col­lage

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Vic­to­ria Vanier, Stanstead

Any­one who has stopped by the Creperie le Tomi­fo­bia over the sum­mer prob­a­bly no­ticed the in­ter­est­ing art­work grac­ing the res­tau­rant’s walls: fas­ci­nat­ing col­lages that were cre­ated by some very

in­ex­pe­ri­enced but tal­ented lo­cal artists. “I’ve learnt in my train­ing that ev­ery­one is an artist. First we peel away the lay­ers, then we can cre­ate. The art of col­lage is more ac­ces­si­ble to peo­ple,” ex­plained Re­gent Gre­nier, a lo­cal col­lage artist who gives cour­ses at both the Stanstead Recre­ation and Cul­ture Cen­tre and Manoir Stanstead.

With a back­ground in psy­chol­ogy, Re­gent made his first col­lage about fif­teen years ago while tak­ing a per­sonal de­vel­op­ment course. “I re­ally liked it, so I started first by mak­ing cards for friends and fam­ily. I started work­ing on my first can­vases in 2001 and, a few years later, I had an ex­hibit in the Plateau area of Mon­treal. It went great and peo­ple loved it – I was an artist!” said the self-taught col­lage-maker in an in­ter­view at his beau­ti­ful log home over­look­ing Lake Mem­phrem­a­gog.

Re­gent, whose artist’s name is Julis Garnier, cre­ates imag­i­na­tive, sur­real im­ages that draw in the viewer us­ing paste, pa­per, sharp scis­sors and a steady hand. “I’m al­ways try­ing to cre­ate har­mony in my work.” He seems as en­thu­si­as­tic about shar­ing his so­phis­ti­cated col­lage-mak­ing tech­niques with oth­ers as he is about mak­ing col­lages him­self. “It’s a form of art that any­one can do, and who doesn’t like turn­ing the pages of a mag­a­zine and look­ing at pic­tures? It’s a lot of fun, the time passes fast, and the stu­dents cre­ate works of art.”

“We held a vernissage at the Manoir Stanstead with the work done by the res­i­dents there,” con­tin­ued Re­gent. “Now their work is hang­ing on the walls of the halls. We also want to make some cards with their art, so it will be cir­cu­lated and seen by oth­ers, not put away in draw­ers.”

He has also de­vel­oped col­lage-mak­ing cour­ses for peo­ple with spe­cial needs, bring­ing his work ex­pe­ri­ence with that clien­tele to­gether with his artis­tic tal­ent. “I’ve cre­ated a course that raises self-aware­ness and helps with per­sonal de­vel­op­ment. I’ve seen peo­ple change, trans­form. My goal is to see those work­shops given in other school com­mis­sions.”

It took Re­gent, who was born in New­port and grew up in Beebe but left when he was a teenager, forty years to make it back to his home­town. “I moved back about five years ago. I hadn’t planned to re­turn but I was liv­ing in Austin and it was get­ting very de­vel­oped there. I was look­ing for a more tran­quil place and I found it – in Beebe. Now I’m very in­volved in the com­mu­nity, and I even had one of my aunts tak­ing my course! I’m just ‘un petit gars du coin’ – that’s how I in­tro­duce my­self now,” joked the jovial artist.

The col­lage ex­hibit at the Creperie Tomi­fo­bia will con­tinue through Oc­to­ber. For more in­for­ma­tion about tak­ing the col­lage-mak­ing course, which is min­i­mally priced, at the Stanstead Recre­ation and Cul­ture Cen­tre, call Mr. Gre­nier at 819 704-0701.

Col­lage artist Re­gent Gre­nier at his home in Beebe.

Photo Vic­to­ria Vanier

“L'abon­dance” by Julis Garnier, Re­gent’s artist name.

Photos Vic­to­ria Vanier

Re­gent Gre­nier, seen here with one of his col­lages, will teach col­lage-mak­ing at the Stanstead Recre­ation and Cul­ture Cen­tre.

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