Untitled 1, 2016, Inkjet printing, Hahnemühle RAG PHOTO paper, 25.9 x 16 inches.
How did you get into debt?
I have gotten into debts as a result of studying visual arts in Canada, living in a single-parent family, in the countryside near Québec City. I got my first loan at the age of 18 to pay and cover for my basic needs: rent, travel, transportation and my everyday bills. Later on, when I got to college and graduate school, I received loans to cover for the tuition fees of my six years of visual arts studies. These loans have also helped me to buy art materials and support my student practice. In recent occasions, I have even increased my debts to cover for the production of my work in preparation of shows and exhibitions.
Untitled 2, 2016, Inkjet printing, Hahnemühle RAG PHOTO paper, 25.9 x 16 inches.
How does your economic reality effect your art?
I just permanently immigrated to the United States from Canada. My art is affected by the difficult economic reality that results from my college and graduate school debt and the fast rise of rents in Brooklyn, New York. The income from my free-lance teaching position at the French Alliance is not sufficient to support both my living expenses and my artistic practice. Since I don’t have dedicated revenues that I can allocate to supporting my practice, I can’t afford a studio, which makes me struggle to make art experimentations and join artist communities. Luckily, I have been able to join residency programs, but these limitations have slowed down the progression of my practice. I missed the chance to progress in creative and stimulating environments on regular basis. Despite this difficult path, I can say that my abilities to create while facing the challenge of being an artist without a studio helped me to make myself a confident person, able to create in a diversity of situation and to consider nothing for granted. As a result, I oriented my work towards outdoor practices, ephemeral installations and photography.
Untitled 3, 2016, Inkjet printing, Hahnemühle RAG PHOTO paper, 25.9 x 16 inches.
Would your work look different if you weren't in debt?:
My work would certainly have another dimension and more impact if I did not live in a precarious situation. My financial reality and limitations have really practical consequences: while I have experience and practiced painting, sculpture and installations, I can’t reasonably engage in such practice at the moment, due to lack of space and resources to purchase material. The means and materials I use now to produce my work are reduced and limited to my camera experimentations and photo paper printing. Despite these difficulties, my work has been exhibited in several occasions. But there again, I have to compose with limited resources and often have to compromise on the quality of the material I use (i.e. framing material). Finally, I can’t print and accumulate all my work because of a limited budget and space. Thus, I must limit my artistic production, be very stringent and restrict myself to basic needs.
Untitled 4, 2016, Inkjet printing, Hahnemühle RAG PHOTO paper, 25.9 x 16 inches.