Hélène Montpetit, Comtemporary Visual Artist
Hélène Montpetit's artistic career spans more than half a century. She has been a singer-songwriter, puppeteer, storyteller, poet, craftswoman and painter. She was born in the small historic town of Lachine, Quebec in October 1954.
Nicknamed "the artist in the family", she showed an aptitude for drawing, music and dance from an early age. In her community, the arts sector had a bad reputation, so it wasn't possible for her to take classes or be professionally mentored. However, she found in her mother an ally whose support came in the form of gifts of artists' materials and demanding criticism. Hélène was always drawing, imagining stories and illustrating them. She is still proud of the Bobino token she received from her favorite childhood television show La boite à surprises for a drawing she submitted to a contest.
In her early twenties, she began working with oil paints and joined a collective of craftspeople to explore batik and screen printing. She went on to work in communications for NGOs, business associations, and community groups, gaining practical experience in graphic design.
Although her work is easily recognisable, Hélène does not aim for uniformity. She can tend towards figurative realism or veer towards pop art or expressionism, depending on what a project inspires. Her piece Momma Told Me There'd Be Days Like This won the Judges' Choice Award at the Artistes à Montréal Valentine's Day Virtual Exhibition in 2022. Her acrylic painting Fall The Dancer won an honourable mention in the True North competition organized by the New York group See Me in May 2023. More recently, three of her works were exhibited at Galerie d'art Viva Vida's 15th annual Celebration exhibition of small format and one-of-a-kind pieces.
Fascinated by our interactions, I like to study human beings and their impact on the world.
After several years spent in music venues as a singer, I rediscovered my first love: visual art. To recover my eye-hand coordination and reacquaint myself with media, I first concentrated on rendering the facial expressions and body language of my subjects. I collected photographs from the 40s, 50s and 60s, such as those by Vivian Maier and Garry Winogrand, and chose the medium, colours and style according to what they evoked in me. That's how my first series, entitled In My Childhood, came about.
I believe that art should be accessible to everyone. A successful piece inspires, educates or questions. Just as in my songs, my passion for big issues has gradually asserted itself in my work as a visual artist. My new series, Fudgesicle/Apocalypse, tackles the major themes of peace, environmental protection and social justice.
As for influences, the 21st century is spoiling us! A click of the mouse opens the doors to art galleries and museums. The works of artists from all over the world are available on our mobile phones. As a child, I wanted to paint like Da Vinci. As a teenager, I discovered Modigliani, Gauguin and Toulouse-Lautrec. Since then, Colville, Schiele, Wyeth, Homer, comic book and pop art, as well as the works of my counterparts on the seven continents. More recently, I've been delving into art history and incorporating elements of the palette, shapes and symbolism of medieval art.
Whatever I may be working on, I draw on all my subjectivity and creativity to create pieces that I hope will either elicit a resounding "yes!" from my audience, or leave them wanting to know more.
February 2024 - Artists in Montreal online Winter Exhibition.
February 4- April 7, 2024 - Looking Back, Looking Forward, Teaser Showcase for 3rd annual Forms, Face & Spaces, figuratively speaking! exhibition, Artway Gallery, Shoppers World, Brampton, Ontario.
January 2024 - Mural Mosaic - Montreal Children's Hospital mural project.
December 2023-January 2024 - Viva Vida Art Gallery and Art Centre - Celebration, 15th annual small works and one-of-a-kind Exhibition.
June 2023 - Artist Network Artists to Watch Competition
May 2023 - See|Me True North Exhibition, New York - Honourable Mention
February 2023 - Artists in Montreal Virtual Valentine’s Art Show
August 2022 - Artists in Montreal Virtual Summer Exhibition In My Childhood
February 2022 - Artists in Montreal Virtual Valentine’s Art Show - Judge’s Choice Award
Member, Artists in Montreal
Associate Member, Society of Canadian Artists
Artists in Montreal’s Featured Artist, August 2022.