Friday, 6 March 2015

Imaginarium Creator & Musician: Charlotte Blanchard

I was able to catch up this week with Artist Charlotte Blanchard to discuss her current: fine art and musical endeavours. I have said it many times; once you are bitten by the art bug regardless of medium you will be open to creating! Not only are Charlotte’s harmonies mysterious but also chalked with immense passion. Moreover her illustrations, clean lines and lucid images riddled with profound meaning and lush hues from every spectrum of the rainbow. One thing I especially relished about Charlotte’s work is that she is strives to be fearless; when it comes to putting her pieces out there for the masses to gaze upon with their trance-fixed optics.

For additional information on Charlotte you can follow her via: Facebook & Soundcloud!

Rania: What is your first art memory?

Charlotte: My first “art” memory was of looking through my dad’s record collection and being absolutely mesmerized by some of the surreal, and frightening (to me) cover art. Looking through albums simultaneously served as my introduction to music as well, since I’d want to listen to the music that pertained to any album art I found terrifying or interesting.

Rania: Are you a classically trained Musician or Visual Artist?

Charlotte: I took two years of classical piano training and music theory in my early teens, but to me, that’s not enough to consider myself “classically trained”. . .and I’m definitely not classically trained with regard to the arts.

Rania: Do you compose music or write lyrics?

Charlotte: I attempt both, though music has always been more important to me than lyrics. I write lyrics to fit the melody most of the time (as is evident by the superficial nature of my lyrics).

Rania: Do you play any instruments; if yes, what?

Charlotte: I am mildly proficient in piano and guitar (and thus any related instruments like keyboards, organs, harpsichord, bass, banjo etc.)

Rania: Who are your biggest Visual Arts & Musical influences with regards to your work?

Charlotte: My primary Visual Arts influences include: Audubon, Bacon, Ryden, Shag, Ragnar and many other lesser-known artists.

My primary Musical influences change often, but I suppose the ones that are most constant are: Haydn, Bach, Beethoven, Bizet, Tchaikovsky, Salieri, The Beatles, The Doors, Nirvana, Lana Del Rey, Metallica. . . ok I guess that’s a long enough list for now.

Rania: Where is the strangest place that inspiration had struck you?

Charlotte: Inspiration strikes me, most often, when I’m engaged in mindless tasks, like washing dishes or doing yard work. On rare occasions, I’ll force myself to sit out on my patio with a nice cigar and glass of bourbon and use that time to reflect and imagine. But I guess the strangest times are when I’m nervous about something, or fearful.

Rania: With the onset of social media; how vital of a tool do you feel it is for Artists and why?
Charlotte: It’s absolutely essential. There’s currently no better way to connect one’s art with a relatively “captive” audience. People are “forced” to look at your art as they scroll through their newsfeeds on Facebook, for example. They don’t have to “like” it, but they have to see it. . . and isn’t that all an artist really wants? . . . is for people to see their work?

Rania: What is your working environment like?
Charlotte: My office is simple . . . just a small black desk and a computer.

Rania: Who are some of your favourite illustrators and why?

Charlotte: Mark Ryden comes to mind. I like his work, not so much because of his subject matter, but more so because of the way he portrays the backgrounds in his pieces. The settings for most of his pieces are deeply intriguing to me . . . the things he chooses to include, like faint homes or twisted trees, somberly-hued skies . . . they remind me of moods and scenes I experienced in my early childhood, when life seemed full of mystery and dangers.

Rania: Where do the ideas for your illustrations come from?

Charlotte: I do not know.

Rania: How many pieces do you feel are essential for a good quality portfolio?

Charlotte: I would think at least one.

Rania: What do you feel are strong components of a song or strongly illustrated piece?

Charlotte: A successful song will have, at the very least, a “hook” and preferably a unique chord progression that surprises the listener. My songs have neither, but I’m working on that.

As for what makes a strong illustrated piece . . . I think it should either have a very strong core idea/message . . . or if it doesn’t, it should, at least, be skilfully executed. To have both of those traits is ideal . . . but it should have at least one. My work has neither, but, again, I’m working on that.

Rania: How do you feel about all of the drastic cuts made towards Art Education in North America?

Charlotte: I’m indifferent toward that really. Art is so closely linked with humanity . . . it’s so engrained in our physiology. . . that even if “the arts” had NO public funding. . . people would still create art. Art culture will never fade away so long as there are people. . . in other words, art will happen whether it’s funded or not. Additionally, with a world’s worth of information at our very fingertips these days, anyone who has interest in art history, or in the masterpieces of the past, could, quite easily, “educate” themselves on the subject.

Rania: Where in the world would you like to travel for inspiration and why?

Charlotte: I’d love to spend a few years in the arctic, or perhaps, specifically, in Greenland. Cold climates and habitats hold a “warm” place in my heart.

Rania: All artists go through a creative block; how do you contend with yours?

Charlotte: I don’t worry about it. Blocks always go away on their own. The world is too full of exciting new ideas and possibilities . . . I can’t imagine anyone who is immersed in such a world would stay blank-minded for long.

Rania: If you had a super power what would it be?

Charlotte: Flight