here’s something about Alexandra Levasseur’s paintings that fill one with a sense of anticipation. Her subjects are on the verge. We feel as if we are voyeurs, witnessing a private transformation, the prelude to a drama where tension is steadily building. It’s a disconcerting experience for sure, yet despite ourselves, we grin. Cannot look away.
Deanna Phoenix Selene: Please tell be about the doubling theme throughout so much of your work. Is this a doppleganger? A sinister harbinger of bad luck awaiting your subjects?
Deanna Phoenix Selene: Or does this speak to the duplicity of human nature? The experience of being emotionally torn?
Deanna Phoenix Selene: Is this your unique way of expressing movement, showing that to portray any human being via a static image is limiting and insufficient? And so the multiple arms, heads, appendages?
Alexandra Levasseur: It is a mix of all of the above: Confusion and contradiction are my main subjects. I like to use emotionally torn characters to illustrate feelings of comfort and disquiet at the same time. I use the movement of hands and head to show this disquietude. My stories are about the bipolarity of the human state of existence for sure. They reflects my inner uncertainties. Movement also means changes, transmutations! Changes in emotions, positions, locations, weather conditions; everything is related. Movement fascinates me at the point that I’m starting a major in film animation in September.
Deanna Phoenix Selene: What is it about capturing a subject in the act of bathing that speaks to us so intimately and powerfully? What is your own relationship with water?
Alexandra Levasseur: Always looking for comfort, the perfect sensation of well-being, I found that the bathtub hot water remains the best way to console the skin and bones from unkind climates and loneliness. The bathtub is for me like a parallel world where time doesn’t exist: a place to think, to clean the body and clear the mind, to start again. Water is the beginning of everything on earth.
Deanna Phoenix Selene: Another theme that seems to figure strongly throughout your work is the exploration of psychic and physical merging, connectedness. A loss of boundaries. Is this a phenomena to be embraced or something you are perhaps warning us against? Testifying to?
Alexandra Levasseur: It is hard for me to explain in words what I create in a spontaneous way. The fact that I use drawing to express myself turns the message into a subliminal one perhaps. Regarding the loss of boundaries, I like to represent human beings taking part of the nature itself, we are all one. The flowery fields are like giant dresses and/or our home wallpaper.
Alexandra Levasseur: As a child I was a dreamer, and I am still today. More than mischief, I’d say I was headstrong and curious. Do I encourage boundary-testing? Yes!
Alexandra Levasseur: My grandmother. She was a painter. She made me discover the Symbolists and Fauvists at a very early age. That must have stayed in my mind.
Alexandra Levasseur: I made so many drawings as a kid. I remember I won a contest at elementary school with the drawing of an octopus. Maybe it was the beginning of the representation of characters with many, many hands!
Deanna Phoenix Selene: Was creativity encouraged in your family?
Alexandra Levasseur: My family always encouraged me although I’m the only artist (except for my grand-mother). I owe them that!
Deanna Phoenix Selene: Color also plays an important role in your work. Do you have strong connections to some colors more than others? Is there one in particular that makes you uncomfortable? One that always seems to energize you?
Alexandra Levasseur: I like to use combination of colors according to memories of places I visited and the related feelings. The time of the year, seasons, affect colors too. Color is almost the only “planned” aspect of my drawings: I like to experiment, mix and match…
Deanna Phoenix Selene: What are the essential qualities every artist should possess? When did you know you were meant to be an artist?
Alexandra Levasseur: Determination, patience and hard work. Being an artist was always in me, as long as I have memories. However I have been influenced at a certain point. I earned a B.A. [degree] in graphic design, and worked for advertising agencies for a while. That wasn’t for me, but it made stronger my desire to make art and illustration a means to make a living, so I did not change my trajectory.
Deanna Phoenix Selene: Is there such a thing as bad art? Or art that you yourself cannot bear to look at?
Alexandra Levasseur: I don’t think there is bad art. Maybe there are styles, techniques or themes that don’t reach me, I find uninteresting and I don’t personally identify with; but it may please someone else. Art is about diversity.
For more of Alexandra Levasseur’s intriguing artworks, visit her website at: Alexandralevasseur.com