LUC MELANSON

CH.89: If you were to categorize or describe the style of your artwork, what would it be and why?

LM: I would say conceptual illustration. I like to communicate an idea, a concept. I’m not as comfortable if it’s purely decorative. The part of my work I like the most is coming up with ideas. I like to solve a communication problem with a visual solution. I have a background in graphic design, it stayed with me. Also, I like geometry and architecture, I think it shows in my work.

CH.89: Where do you draw your inspiration from?

LM: Inspiration is the sum of every sensation an artist absorbs. It will come out somehow in his work. Intentionally or not. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly where it comes from but to enumerate just a few, I would say Kid’s drawings, construction and puzzle toys, folk art, cross-stitch, conceptual art, vintage record sleeves, franco-belgian comics, postmodern design, etc.

CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about what your creative thought process is like when starting a new project/ piece of artwork?

LM: It all starts in the sketchbook. While drawing I try to put myself in a situation of openness. It’s a state of mind I seek when I’m at the beginning of a creative process. Over the years I realized I had to really open my mind to every idea that might emerge from my train of thoughts and accept them without any judgment, criticism or self-censorship. It’s like a kind of meditation. That’s really the key to creativity for me.
I don’t want my sketchbook to be a collection of nice drawings. I use it as a laboratory where I note all my ideas and thoughts. I’m trying new things. Lots of geometric drawings that look just like phone doodles. It’s where I develop concepts and projects. I draw and note everything I come up with. Then I move things around until I find the right solution. Very often I will find an unused concept from an older project that I will turn into final art.

CH.89: Is there anything in particular that you would want people to take from your artwork?

LM: I certainly don’t want my work to be obvious. I want people to discover something in the image. I want people to find a touch of humor, a little wit and a clever concept hopefully.

CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about your lifestyle as an artist and what that is like?

LM: I work from home. I like to get up early to start working as soon as I can. Usually from 7 am to 4-5 pm. I’m also a musician. I play drums with different bands, mostly jazz, blues and rockabilly. During my workday I will practice my music too. It’s the best way to overcome creative blocks.

CH.89: When starting out an artistic task, do you think it is better to have a particular direction/set plan guiding your way? Or, is it better to act on impulse and go from there?

LM: I don’t have a plan. I guess I always try to allow things to happen. You have to get your ideas out there no matter what. Even the bad ones, the more, the better. If you trust this process, things will come together.

CH.89: What is one major lesson you’ve learned as an artist thus far?

LM: It is surprising at how many problems can be solved through hard work.

CH.89: Do you regard personal style & taste to be of highest importance?

LM: I don’t think artists should be worrying too much about style. An artist’s personal style will progress as he/she gains more confidence through experience, expands his/her database of knowledge, and acquires more skill with techniques and materials.

CH.89: What do you consider to be the hardest thing about being an artist?

LM: Definitely self-criticism. When you’re never satisfied with what you have done, that’s exhausting. Ironically, at the same time, it makes you strive for more. You have to learn to accept deception and even failure sometimes because it will happen. You have to live with that.

CH.89: What is one thing you love about being an artist?

LM: Having the freedom to create something new just for the fun of doing it. It really feels good to have made something that didn’t existed before.

CH.89: Is there anyone in particular, any artist’s that inspire you in any way?

LM: Recently I have been drawn to the work of Sol Lewitt.

CH.89: What do you think of technology in terms of being a useful tool for artists today?

LM: I think it’s just another tool for artists but it’s a tool with exponential possibilities. Not an end in itself though.

CH.89: Do you think being an artist allows you to view the world differently from those who don’t follow creative paths?

LM: I think very often artists are the canary in the coal mine. They can feel what is wrong or awkward with society. That said, I think creativity is an asset for everyone. Scientists, engineers, economists and politicians and everyone alike should learn to be creative. Especially with some of the global issues the world is facing now.

CH.89: Do you enjoy traveling? If so, do you have a favorite city?

LM: I do though I’m not an inveterate traveler. I love Chicago for the architecture and the music.

CH.89: Do you have a favorite author or book?

LM: I was very impressed by Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. Harari is an erudite scholar but he can make complex concepts easy to understand. He has the talent to make his readers feel intelligent.

CH.89: Any future goals or plans for your artwork?

LM: I have numerous ideas for comic books. Abstract art also.

CH.89: What does being an artist mean to you?

LM: Sometimes I feel like some kind of a hermit who has withdrawn from the rat race.

CH.89: What’s the last song you listened to?

LM: I’m a big jazz fan, especially jazz from the 50s and 60s. Today, I listened to East Broadway Down, the title song of an album by Sonny Rollins. There is a great sense of humor in his playing, a playfulness that I enjoy very much and lots of freedom in the form.

CH.89: Any last words on the aesthetic of your artwork?

LM: There is this Latin phrase I find amusing yet clever: Age quod agis. It means do what you are doing. In other words: concentrate on the task at hand. It sums it up for me.

CHECK OUT MORE ON: LUC MELANSON

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