A is for ART an interview with Elisabeth Belliveau

Dear Sweet Elisabeth
I am in total admiration of you and your work. Your drawings, embroideries, sculptures and animations are so beautiful, sincere, and whimsical they are very representational of you as a person. Gush Gush Gush.

Your latest animation Margaret of the Mountain is a wonderful culmination of your previous work with an extra special treat of narrated prose.
How did this piece come into fruition?
margaret's mountain was made as part of my thesis for my mfa . it was inspired by spending time with my grandmas while i was having the usual old life/love trouble. animation seemed like the best way to spend alot of time alone and think alot, and a way to bring my two favorite things together - writing and drawing.

Who is Margaret?
margaret started as a composite of my grandmas and great-grandmas - inspired from hearing their life/ love stories and drawn from old photographs of them. but in the end the actual stories dropped out of the work- and it became much more abstract and poetic, margaret became a way to think through questions i was having trouble finding answers to.

I just finished my premiere read/viewing of The Great Hopeful Someday.

It is so good!
I love the stanzas that accompany the drawings or the drawings that accompany the stanzas.
Does one bring forth the other?
i read, write, draw and make things in no particular order -and i have no idea wether they all have any business mixing with each other. but sometimes i feel compelled to wear all my favorite clothes all at one time. and sometimes is works. i don't know - i hope so ?

The images you capture in your drawings, to me, represent the beauty of ordinary events that we try so hard to remember but are always the first thing we forget. Do you treat the compiled zines as journals of your life or are they more fictional?
hmm . i do think i have a bad memory and i do worry about forgetting. so writing things down and sketching people and places where some significant thought or thing happened makes me feel calm and engaged with my experiences. i think i need to constantly practice paying attention - it helps me to keep being enchanted with the world and with people. both are really complicated so taking time to write and draw things down helps me makes sense of them. there is something really comforting to know that writing and drawing are skills that you can practice for a lifetime and that there is no end to learning through them. and the zines are based on lives i know and my own and they are fictional too. i like writing something ordinary into being something supernatural and epic. i like thinking that everything matters that everything has potential and practicing my imagination.

Congratulations on your ability to synthesize your multidisciplinary art practices into really focused pieces. Are there any other mediums or techniques you would like to work with/incorporate?
i secretly want to make big classic marble sculptures. i just spent a lot of time at the louvre and i fell in love with the big twisted half naked sculptures of greek gods and martyrs and the busts of queens and philosophers. but does anyone know how to do that anymore? where do you get 10 foot high chunks of marble? anyway i think that would be really amazing.

What do you need as an artist to feel inspired and feel like you are growing?
i think i need to just keep looking and reading and trying out new ways to live. i also need to keep alot of love in my life- especially romantic love. sometimes going out for a coffee is enough, but sometimes i need to get on a place and get lost somewhere new. practice starting over and over again. and thank goodness i have seriously amazing friends that make my life totally magical.

I was lucky to meet you during your two week residency here in Halifax at the Anchor Archives,before embarking on your European adventure!
How did you like Halifax and do you think you’ll spend time here in the future?
Halifax made me really happy. the residency was so generous, and it was so great to have the facilities to silkscreen - it is really physical, messy and material somehow much more exciting that just sitting in a ball drawing. halifax seems to have a lot of good people who work hard at what they care about. the community around the anchor archive made me feel super welcome, and i really enjoyed the way food and community seemed to be really valued and shared. i would really like to live in halifax at some point, it seems kind of gritty, really creative, hopeful and really comfortable.

How is the European adventure going?
i just got back to canada a few days ago , so i am still processing the whole europe adventure. i was lucky enough to go to five countries and live in berlin for a month. i worked really hard at going to every museum and gallery and sight i could find. i am totally overloaded with inspiring things, and lots of history, art and key phrases in 4 languages that i get all mixed up. now i gotta find a job , and sleep and catch up with my family and friends and deal with 4 months of mail. ( i love mail ).

Thank you very much Elisabeth! All the best in life and in pastries!

To spend some more online time with Elisabeth you can visit the following websites

* all images property of Elisabeth Belliveau

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