Alain Bé­dard

Magazin'Art - - Summary - Maxime Rioux

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.”

Full time

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.wes­tend­gal­le­

Koy­man Gal­le­ries, 1771 St. Laurent Blvd, Ot­ta­wa, ON, K1G 3V4 www.koy­man­gal­le­

Towne Square Gal­le­ry, 94 George Street, Down­town Oak­ville, ON, L6J 3B7 www.tow­nes­qua­re­gal­le­

West­mount Gal­le­ry, 88 Ad­vance Road, To­ron­to, ON, M8Z 2T7 www.west­mount­gal­le­

Rouge Gal­le­ry, 245 3rd Ave­nue South, Sas­ka­toon, SK, S7K 1M4 www.rou­ge­gal­le­

Chase Art Gal­le­ry, 450 Bea­cons­field blvd, Bea­cons­field, QC, H9W 4B9 www.cha­seart­gal­le­

The Ve­ge­table Sel­ler, 30 x 36 in

Wal­kers Street, 24 x 30 in Next page: The Most Beau­ti­ful Au­tumn, 24 x 30 in

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