Recently I sat down with artist and friend Rebecca Chaperon in her studio to talk with her about... well all sorts of things! As with any good chat our conversation veered from subject to subject but the overall theme seemed to revolve around the freedom and the bonds that go hand in hand with working for ones self. Here is a part of our conversation :
S.K-Ok the obvious- your work is so mystical where to you pull inspiration from?
S.K- I feel kids take art in school often to get an easy grade- I took it because I loved it and was passionate about it- I'm hoping to pass this onto our kids. What was your early exposure to art like? did your family encourage and support you?
R.C- My mom was always making things, knitting, sewing, baking bread. It was like there was nothing she couldn't do- it was a real inspiration! There was this attitude of independently understanding something and making an effort to craft it through practice. We also would make drawings together and she and my dad read to us ( Rold Dahl and C.S. Lewis). They were supportive when I went to art school although none of knew what I would do afterwards. Going to art school was a tough decision for me at the time, my parents left it up to me completely-I was worried what I would do afterwards/what my path would be. Now I know that no one can tell you what your path will be like as an artist but you will try different things and you will come to understand how you want to pursue your creative practice.It's exciting, there are many opportunities out there but you have to be persistent and clear about what you would like to do.
S.K- Do you have any feelings on the role of art in the education system? Or should it be left to the parents as an extra curricular activity?
R.C- I think that art is important at school. I just don't think that it is utilized very well with in the system, at least not when I was at school. Everyone should get a chance to develop visual organizational skills. It will set people apart in their fields even when they are working outside of the typical art world. It would be great if schools presented art as a visual language no matter what field of study you enter. I do not think it should be left to parents alone to develop this skill.
S.K- What do you feel is the most important part of the practice of being an artist? Or more specifically- your favourite because the most important and favourite are often very different!
R.C- my favourite parts of my practice are sharing the work with others and seeing the ideas come together in the studio. In the studio I work very hard to get to the point where it "all comes together", things can be a bit disheartening when you are working away on something for a long time but it's not quite coming together, you have to keep pushing until it starts to work- it's really rewarding when you get there! I love to exhibit my work and I love when others get something out of the images, they talk to me about their perceptions of the work and it's really like they are sharing a bit of themselves by describing how they understand it. It's a beautiful thing to have the work reciprocate like that!
The most important part of the practice has been balancing life with studio work. I have a pretty simplified schedule in order to keep up my practice- not much socializing and lots of exercise keeps me happy and healthy!
S.K- OK so this is a fun one- if you were stranded on a deserted island what art supplies do you wish to have with you?
R.C- Winsor and Newton Series 7 brush- size two, Golden Fluid acrylic paints, stretched canvases. I guess I'd need a sketch book, tracing paper and a mechanical pencil too. Oh- and some gesso.
I always come away from any encounter with Rebecca feeling fresh and full of inspiration, she always seems to tap into whatever I am thinking about- perhaps she is part empath? With an illustrated ABC book coming out next fall through Simply Read Books, and a recent Canada Council Grant for another project in the works this is an artist who is on the brink of something great! If you haven't already flown over to her web site prepare to be blown away by past and current works, follow Rebecca's blog for a glimpse into the workings of her studio plus updates on the ABC book.