In music they call it sampling, but when placed in the hands of an artist the results can be vibrant and surprisingly original. The same principles apply, cutting and pasting, layering images upon a bed of creative expression. It is more than just a remix of images, the product is a completely original piece. What is exciting is the endless supply of images and all the possibilities that lay within. The genre of mixed media is consistently growing, and the work of Montreal's Pierre-Paul Pariseau has been involved in the scene for years. His work has been seen in numerous magazine and he has won several awards.
Orange Alert (OA): As a professional illustrator how do you balance personal work and professional work? Are there qualities in your personal work that you do carry over to your professional work?
Pierre-Paul Pariseau (PP): Personal work is as much important as professional work, and the contrary is true also. There are different qualities in both kind of work. The personal projects are very important because then you can let yourself go completely in the depths of your imagination, into a loose narrative. You can be "crazy" as you want, to surprise yourself as you never did before. My personal works do not always have clear meanings, they allow a wide space for interpretation. Being totally free it is more easy to experiment with the different technics (no deadline to respect, you have the time to re-do as you want) and to come out of this with interesting discoveries that you can use in commissioned works later, if relevant.
The constraints (subjects, sizes, delays, etc.) brought by the professional works can be an important challenge for the spirit. It is a positive experience that brings you into areas of discomfort that could be, at the end, very freeing. Again, you discover part of your imagination that you would probably not have otherwise. This state of mind can be used in your personal works later on.
Both kinds of artworks, the personal and the commissioned, are feeding each other.
OA: You work a lot with found images are there any legal issues involved with this type of art?
PP: Of course you have to be aware of the copyright laws when you use this medium. It is allowed to use part of photos. I transform so much the cutouts I use that the final image has absolutely nothing to do with the different sources it comes from. I never had any negative feedback about this all along my career so I must have "well behave", be respectful.
OA: You seem to utilize a lot of vivid colors in your work. What role does color play in your work?
PP: The colors play a very important role in my work. After the composition is done and it is pretty clear where I am going with this image it is the colors that brings everything into life. They create the energy between each part of the image, put emphasis on certain parts, give the general mood. I like vibrant and lively colors but working in b/w would be great also or in a certain tone if needed.
OA: In your professional work, is it difficult or painful to make alterations to your images? Have you ever refused to change an image?
PP: I never had any problem making alterations to my images. I probably have been lucky to work with experienced and sensitive art directors because I have learned a lot from them and the changes they asked me to do. This, especially, at the beginning of my career as I am a self-taught artist; I have learned the craft day by day doing commissioned works and the personal ones. I remember doing some compromises that were not at the best for the final result, according to me, but everybody was happy except me. I wouldn't do it again now.
Now that I have more experience I am not ask so often to change anything, I have a good idea what would be best for the picture and what is wanted from me by art directors. If there is a change although I always keep an open mind, I listen and I learn what there is to learn, concerning the picture or something else.
OA: Is there a specific quality or trait that makes a piece a Pierre-Paul Pariseau piece?
PP: I think that my style is easily recognizable. It is difficult for me to describe it although, you see it and that is it. The way I use the color, surrealism, pop, composition, humor; all these are used in my own personal way that makes a picture of mine easily recognizable. Other people can tell you more about this than me, perhaps I do not have enough distance from my work to describe my style with words easily.
OA: What's next for Pierre-Paul Pariseau?
PP: More illustrations to do with a various range of clients, plus a continuous collaboration with the current ones, I wish. A trip to Europe in the current year is also something expected.
OA: If you could sit down for coffee with anyone (living or dead) who would it be?
PP: There could be so many people I would like to have dinner with. This question comes right at the time when I was discussing this with my girlfriend the other day and we had just seen an interview with Alice Cooper on TV. He was witty, humble, saying all kinds of interesting and funny anecdotes, that we said we would love to invite him for dinner (curious choice isn't it?), with friends and other famous people. These days I am reading books by Alexandro Jodorowsky and I would love to meet the man. Next week it could be someone else.
PP: I listen to all kinds of music but comes often electronica when working, bands like Fila Brazillia, Thievery Corporation, Bonobo, The Cinematic Orchestra, Morcheeba, etc.... But lately I have been listening to John Coltrane and Chet Baker. Tomorrow it could be French singers... and the day after some groovy hip-hop.