An interview with artist Isabelle Tremblay


Who is Isabelle Tremblay and what do you do?

I am an emotional person who dedicates her time and applies herself to the art of paint.

What art do you most identify with?

I think it would have to be figurative symbolism.

What was the first thing you did today?

One of my habits is to stare at the sky, when I wake up…

What are the main topics you deal with in your work?

It’s us… you and I… the divine, beauty, order and each and every one’s reliance, on all aspects. The path of Life… and our perfect inclusion in it.

What is your most meaningful moment of your career?

The most meaningful moments are always around the magic of an encounter… Art is a bridge between my private universe and someone else’s.

When the bridge is being used in that sense, and that two spirits, two hearts touch, it is always meaningful to me. It reminds me of why I do what I do.

The surprise of someone letting me know that my work, my inspiration, has impacted their emotional life is so beautiful… its so far from the superficial…

That depth touches the truth… and that has a great value for me. It’s a context, a concept, that I love.

What’s your favorite artwork and why?

My favorite artwork, the very first, is our spirit, our body and afterwards, it is nature. I couldn’t go around it. I admire the order of the universe and all the micro elements, invisible to the eye. As far as a human made artwork… there are way too many that I love! I couldn’t possibly choose one in particular.

But when I think about the Renaissance classics… about all those portraits so rich, by candle light, from which we can smell the material, the surrounding air and noises…. Just by looking at them. Michelangelo always had a strong impact on me, since my youth. Da Vinci, Ingres, Mucha, John Singer Sargent, Charles Sprague Pearce, Elizabeth Sourse, Leonor Fini, Betty Goodwin, Dominic Besner….

What does your current workplace look like?

It’s very simple…. I work in a room in my apartment. The small room that has a view on the park, on the side on which the sun rises. A table, two easels, plants, a wide array of colors, a wooden bench and a sound system, with my wireless earphones. And through all that, access to freedom and the joy of simply being there.

Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?

I’d probably say the way that my brother and his partner have handled and overcame the incredible challenge of their daughters’ sickness… And the tremendous loss that followed. To top it off, they are still together!

What jobs have you done, other than being an artist?

Once upon a time, I sold jewelry at a kiosk in Chicoutimi. I also worked in a photocopy center as a graphic designer, following my bachelor’s degree. Finally, I worked for a few years as a modeler for Ubisoft, in the years 2000.

Why art?

Because expressing myself is my nature…I am constantly looking to create, to find beauty and harmony around me… Art has imposed itself to me.

What memorable responses have you had to your work?

I think it would have to be when a woman saw one of my paintings in Gallery MX… and that she froze before it, teary eyed. She had to leave the Gallery to gather herself, after what she came back inside to purchase the painting, because the character I portrayed looked a lot like her deceased sister… Such a moving experience!

What’s the best advice you’ve been given?

I did not receive much advice. However, I did read a lot. So, I would have to say that the best advice I ever got was to trust myself… to follow my heart… to take a chance… to believe in myself.

What do you do in your spare time?

I like to walk, to bike, to take pictures of nature, to listen to music and to sing. To take the time to see my girlfriends. I also appreciate emptiness and not doing anything, relaxing.

What food, drink, song inspires you?

Sushi, grilled vegetables, green tea, San Pellegrino, spring water. I know, I am too reasonable! As for music, it’s hard to choose: “Against all odds,” by Phil Collins (such a classic) and “Bridge over troubled water” … This year, “All I ask,” “When we were young,” Adele.

Your Happy Place?

In the woods, under the trees by the river side. In front of the easel. Or in the car or in my home, listening to music.

What makes you happy?

The wonderful conversations I have with the people I love. Dancing and singing. Being inspired. Completing a painting.

What superpower would you have and why?

I would like to have the power to travel through time and dimensions as I please. I would also like to have the power to fly and morph. It would answer my unquenchable need to go further and would please my passionate and mobile spirit. My quest for the mysteries of life would be enriched!

What is your dream project?

I dream to one day have a house of my own, immersed through nature. I wish to take care of that place and to have the space I need to create whatever I desire… on top of painting. I would make it my own little paradise, in which I would welcome those who come by… so they could also benefit from it.

Name three of your favorite artists.

John Singer Sargent, Michel Ange, Ingres.

Professionally, what is your goal?

To be excellent in what I do (painting). In the technique as well as in the ability to communicate my visions and emotions and continue to live of what I do and ideally, even better.

Magna Linea,  an exhibition by Isabelle Tremblay, doors open October 3rd at 5.30