Edith Lebeau Interview
A lot of people claim that to be successful, you need to reside in large artistic hubs. You grew up in the small town of Beloeil, Quebec and studied in Montreal. As an artist, do you think that there are benefits working in smaller markets?
I guess there are benefits but to tell the truth, I have no idea. Yes, I grew up in a small town but haven’t shown my work there. So I cannot compare.
How was your experience at l’Université du Québec à Montreal? Was there anything that the school could have done to improve your learning experience?
My experience was good, but I can’t say if it really helped me that much to improve my skills. Yes the teachers were showing us art from artists I didn’t know before so for that I’m grateful. I have always been attracted to paintings portraits, comics etc; but I felt the school was pushing more on abstract paintings, videos and other “nontraditional” art forms. I would have loved to get a more “academic” or “traditional” training. What I mean by that is that I didn’t learn how the masters were painting portraits, or learn how to paint with oil, encaustics etc. I would have loved to follow a portrait or oil class. So I pretty much learned portrait on my own and got better with time.
Do you think that it is better to be a self-taught artist or traditionally trained? Why?
I don’t think there is a better way. I’m sure that self-taught artists are as good as traditionally trained artists. I just think that it’s a talent that you either have in yourself or you don’t. If you practice enough you will get better. So I don’t think that there is a “Better” way. Maybe certain people will get better faster if they are traditionally trained because of the different type of help they will be getting but it’s not a certainty.
We know how difficult it is to be successful as an artist. What were some of the adjustments and sacrifices that you had to make professionally when you first started approaching galleries?
Well, first I think the word successful might be incorrect about myself. Yes, my work is getting seen internationally, and I get to show my work in beautiful shows with a lot of crazy good and amazing artists! I consider myself very lucky to be invited to these shows and to meet the people. I’m very grateful about it, but I’m not “Successful” yet. Maybe I’m wrong, but in my mind the definition of a “Successful” artist is an artist that has “Sold out ” solo shows and I’m still far from there. I have not had a solo show yet, but I’m not complaining at all, believe me, I just don’t think the term describes my situation.
Throughout your career, you have done a multitude of group exhibitions. In your point of view, what are some of the advantages and disadvantages of group exhibitions?
Like I said, group shows are amazing because you get to show your work alongside the works of other amazing and talented artists. It is always a pleasure to show my work with artists that I look up too. I’ve done a two persons show at Distinction gallery, California, in February with Casey Weldon. We did a piece together. I started the painting, I did a portrait and then I mailed it to him and he finished it. It’s one of my favorite pieces!! It really turned out great! Our style really fits well together. It was a great experience! The downside of a group show is that it can mean fewer sales for you because it offers more diversity and choices to the public.
Do you have any plans of exhibiting your work in Montreal?
It’s not that I don’t want to show in Montreal, I would actually really love to. It’s close to where I live and it’s nice to show in your own country. Montreal is a beautiful city and it would be nice to sometimes save on shipping! I just didn’t have any opportunity with the galleries. The market in Montreal/Quebec is pretty small. There aren’t a lot of galleries that are showing portraits, pop surrealism, lowbrow etc. And my work doesn’t fit in galleries that only show traditional landscape or abstract paintings. So I haven’t found my place in Montreal yet, maybe soon… who knows, right?!
Edith Lebeau grew up in Beloeil, a little town of Quebec, Canada. As a young girl, her artistic development was influenced by a fascination with popular culture, Greek, Roman, and Celtic mythology, movies and fairytales.
Influences that continue to be seen in her work today. Lebeau mostly paints female figures, portraying them as superheroes, villains, goddesses, and nymphs, their look being the most important thing in her work: they tell their own story through their expressions and emotions. A certain ambiguity is intentional. Lebeau often blurs the story to encourage the audience to make it their own, letting the character question the viewer.