MTL Blog`s Feature Friday is back in your lives with this week`s edition focusing on Eric Clement. Eric`s art really spoke to us and we just had to have him be part of Feature Friday. His unique fresh and vivid style truly hooks ones eye to the point that you just cannot look away. It was long overdue as well because when the idea first came about to start this weekly feature Eric was the FIRST person we thought to interview. Well the wait is over and the timing was met to perfection because Eric is now here to answer a few of our questions.
MTL Blog - We understand your time is precious Eric so we thank you for this.
Eric - Not a problem.
MTL Blog - Over the years you have obviously experimented with quite a few mediums with your art. Could you explain to us your most preferred ones and also the ones you really find too much of a hassle to ever go back to.
Eric - Right now, I work primarily in acrylic on canvas. It’s kind of rare where I’m studying because it’s not too forgiving. I mean, it dries fast and it’s tricky to blend or give the illusion of volume. But for the hard edge graphic paintings I’m making, it’s much easier to achieve the effect I’m looking for. I want the paintings to look as good from 10 feet away as they do 10 inches, and acrylic helps me achieve that. I have a certain way of handling and mixing them which helps me achieve my desired finished product. I wouldn’t say there are mediums I find to be a hassle, necessarily. That said, I would love to do more printmaking but technically, it’s really demanding and my attention is being directed almost exclusively to painting at the moment.
MTL Blog - We`re curious to know where your style originates from. It’s an original as heck mash up that we have not ever been exposed to.
Eric - I think like any artist, I walk around with this head full of images and influences. All of my work is a projection of my thoughts and points of view, which are themselves influenced by all the things I see, hear and read every day. To get more specific, right now I’m really interested in ideas of corporate logos and branding. This is not by any means a new issue for artists, but coming from a hip hop background, I feel like the material really defines our identities now. I’m not so much hating or putting a negative spin on this either, I’m just curious about how objects like a baseball hat now hold so much meaning to some people. A simple hat with a logo can hold meaning about where you’re from, what you enjoy, r even about specific subcultures, such as gang membership. Contrast today’s symbolism with the baseball hat of the 1950’s when all you were saying with a baseball hat was that you enjoy America’s favorite pastime. I am really interested with how hip hop in particular tends to appropriate fashion trends towards greater symbolic meaning.
MTL Blog - In your opinion where exactly do you think the underground art scene is heading here in Montreal?
Eric - I’m not really sure if the term underground applies all that much anymore. In the past, the gallery system tended to ignore street art or what is considered to be ‘low brow/outsider’s art'. But that is starting to change. Amazing groups like En Masse are showing at the Museum of Fine Arts, while Under Pressure Fresh Paint gallery is also putting together some large scale shows this year. The line between underground and traditional work is blurring right now and I’m stoked on that.
MTL Blog - If any are there many outside influences migrating into the Montreal art sub-culture keeping the creative vibe fresh or would you rather say the community solely feeds off itself?
Eric - Right now I’m working in the studios at Concordia and I’ve had the opportunity to meet artists from all over Canada. I think art is kind of a global thing which is fresh. I mean ideas are not limited by geography so people coming from all over add their flavor to our local scene. I also feel that culturally Montreal has a strong identity and the concerns and issues faced by native Montrealers or transplants kind of mirror what it’s like to live here. I love it here. This is home for me.
MTL Blog - Brief us on your education path and would you recommend other young and upcoming art souls to pursue the same route.
Eric - Damn! My educational path is long and winding with a couple of long breaks. I took time away to make some music with my group Side C so I’m a little behind in terms of my academic career. I did a CEGEP degree in Fine Arts which was pretty fun - kind of lit my fire. After that I started studying at Concordia but really was not open to the experience which made it really tough to maintain. I came back after a long time away from school this year to finish my degree and I think I attacked it with a different attitude. I’m just really stoked to put in work. Lately, preparing for upcoming exhibits, I have been putting in 10 and 11 hour days 5 or 6 days a week which is really tough but so satisfying when the results start to show. I would say the education path is not for everyone, but as a young artist you really need to make that call yourself. Having said that, my experience since coming back to Concordia has been dope. I have met a lot of crazy talented artists who kind of give me a kick in the ass and professors who can really help push and expand your practice.
MTL Blog - What are your current projects, art shows and or functions looking like right now? Care to elaborate about them?
Eric - Well Friday April 13th I will be showing some paintings alongside two crazy skilled artists Trevor Wheatley(www.trevorwheat.com) and Isaac Holland(www.isaacholland.ca) .The show is going down at Voodoo Ink Tattoo shop located at 4148 Rue St Denis (Between Rachel and Duluth). So I would love to see mad people there at the vernissage the works flow really well together and I’m stoked on what I have to show. Coming up in May (25th, 26th) I have a piece showing in Chromatic 3rd edition which is collaboration between S.A.T and MASSIVart. It’s taking place at S.A.T 1201 Boul St Laurent . I am also really proud of the release of GillaTeams/Side Cs first music video entitled “Jurassic Parking” filmed by Villaview Cinema.
MTL Blog - This is a loose question but where exactly do you envision yourself down the line in the art game?
Eric - On top of the game. Ha ha. Seriously, I don’t know. I’m just going to keep grinding and making art that I’m proud to show and music I’m proud to listen to.
MTL Blog - Great stuff mate and now finally why do you really think the chicken crossed the road? Was it really JUST to get to the other side?
Eric - The chicken crossed the road so he could tweet about it...oh yeah follow me on twitter https://twitter.com/#!/BigSips
Check out Eric`s other contact info below!!!
Lastly if you wanna see some of Eric`s art in the flesh come out on April 13th 2012 to VooDooo Ink Tattoo shop...BE THERE!!!