We recently curated an online group exhibition titled “Hello, I love you” and you can view it here. We asked six artists to be a part of it. One artist is actually an artistic duo that goes by the name ‘Baku’ which is made up of two artists Stéphanie Lamontagne & Dominique G.Lemire. A big part of their work is not only the final outcome but the process it takes to get there.
What is your first memory of being creative? (Project, specific artwork, etc.)
Our first creation with Baku was during the summer of 2018. I remember it being very hot that day. Our goal was simply to make a piece of art to decorate our apartment. The owner of the art gallery Dom worked at gave us access to the basement and we used it as a studio. It was in this small, dusty space, under the light of a single fluorescent that we created our first artwork.
This day is a sweet memory. In addition to being the first artwork we made together, it marks the beginning of our duo.
When did you realize what you were making was art?
We never got to bring our first creations home. The owner of the art gallery liked the result of our first session so much that he offered to represent us. At that point, I would say we entertained the idea of having artistic value. He is a well-renowned artist. To this day we find this gesture very touching. He also gave us canvases where he had painted figurative elements for us to experiment with. We poured colourful resin over his paintings and It’s through these experiments that we discovered the potential we had for artistic collaborations.
How did you two meet and what made you decide to create works together?
We met online. We are both naturally creative and have an interest in art. Since Dom was working in an art gallery, we were surrounded by visual art influences in the day-to-day. We wanted to decorate our apartment and felt compelled to create abstract pieces. We fell in love with the creative process. We have created over a hundred art pieces together since then.
Are you both self-taught or did you attend art school?
I have taken oil painting classes for a few years with a private teacher, but we can say that we are pretty much self-taught. We both derive from various art fields. Dom comes from a musical background and I’ve been into writing most of my life. I find that these artistic backgrounds are reflected into our creations.
What’s the process of creating like for you? Do you have to set the mood? What goes on when creating a new piece?
I would say that our creation ritual is quite structured. We choose the colors together and I propose arrangements. For the atmosphere, we put on a good music playlist. Music genres vary depending on our mood. It will range from easy listening lofi playlists to more upbeat stuff.
Over the years we have fallen into having respective tasks. I am in charge of mixing the colors and placing them on the canvas. Dominique mixes the epoxy and takes care of the finish. Together we create the effects and gradations with the help of heating guns.
What inspires you to create art?
Colors inspire us. Sometimes a single color will speak to us so much that it will make us want to compose a whole palette from it. We often look at pictures of birds to get this kind of inspiration. Our collaborators inspire us greatly as well. We always seek to catch their artistic intentions to answer with the right colours and the right vibe.
Did the pandemic have any effects on you when it came to your work? Did you get more works done while stuck at home or did It hurt your inspiration?
We are very lucky. Our way of life hasn’t really changed. We’ve continued to work and it hasn’t changed our creative flow. Art is a great outlet for the imagination. That’s how we stayed healthy.
Could you tell us what love means to you?
Love is hard to describe. It is a feeling that takes many forms.
For Dom and I. Love is simple. It manifests as an unspoken truth where the mind is at ease because nothing is lacking.
Being a couple that creates art together, love must be a big inspiration. Do you see a connection in love and the process of creating?
We have a great connection and we trust each other. We never really stopped to think about it. We just go with the flow and try to manifest our shared imagination.
What’s something you hope viewers and collectors experience when viewing your works?
Whether it is through the forms or the effect that the colours create, we want every viewer to come up with their own interpretation. We try to enhance the possibility for the eyes to associate our art to well-known elements by focusing our abstraction at the center of our canvases. We often ask people to tell us what they see. Abstract art has the property of freeing the subconscious, which we greatly appreciate.
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