Cut out for Collage
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.
“L'abondance” by Julis Garnier, Regent’s artist name.
Regent Grenier, seen here with one of his collages, will teach collage-making at the Stanstead Recreation and Culture Centre.