Interview for Artichaut Magazine March 18, 2018

Ink and creatures. Incursion in the dark art of Mathieu Vaillancourt

March 15, 2018

by Krystel Bertrand

On the eve of the publication of our PROFANATIONS issue, we present a Montreal artist whose works will be published in this next opus, which promises to be very occult. The creations of Mathieu Vaillancourt quickly caught our eyes and our interest. His very charming creatures, although a little terrifying, certainly remind us of the monsters of the universe of Lovecraft or those of the movies of the popular series Aliens. This emerging artist who regularly shares his approach on #social networks reveals to you, in this post, his inspirations and the secrets of his approach.

 Grim and frostbitten kingdom

Grim and frostbitten kingdom

Krystel Bertrand: You are an emerging and multidisciplinary artist with a background in 3D Animation Design. In your opinion, what are the main challenges of an artist who makes his official debut in the visual or musical arts?

Mathieu Vaillancourt: In my opinion, the main challenge is to be original (although everything has already been done). It is necessary to be known for its integrity and to avoid making art just to please the mass and having as main goal, the sale of works. I think it's important to do what we love. Another important issue is to make a name for yourself in this ocean of sharks. It's all about visibility and it's demanding. Getting the same energy for promotion and creation is hard to manage. In the long run, it is possible to discover ways to make it work.

KB: Your practice is between classical and contemporary: your hand-drawn images certainly remind us of the engravings of Gustave Doré and Goya, but you digitally retouch some of your works to enhance the colors. This approach is very interesting because it honors the legacy of art history, while demonstrating openness to new media. Can you tell us a little about your approach?

MV: The use of digital mediums helps me to access a wider range of possibilities to tackle some themes inspired by artists of the golden age. First, I sketch my sketch with a blue pencil. When I am satisfied, I add lines with a red pencil. These serve to delimit hatches for shading. Then I use a light table to ink with a pen the final version. With the help of the computer, I sometimes add some colors and I adjust the contrast of my illustrations so that the black is perfectly black.

 The Dreams in the Witch House

The Dreams in the Witch House

KB: One of your current projects is inspired by one of the great classics of American literature, H. P. Lovecraft's The Myth of Cthulhu. What is fascinating about this project is that you share the stages of your creation on your website as well as on your various social networks. This really allows us to enter your universe and suddenly in the Lovecraftian universe. You also participated in the Lovecraftuary challenge. What inspired you to create a tribute series to H.P. Lovecraft and why did you choose to share your approach with your audience?

MV: While reading the writings of Lovecraft, I became familiar with the author. Recently, I discovered the role-playing game Call of Cthulhu, the seventh edition to be precise. The creature index of the book inspired me and I decided to make my own interpretation. In general, I find that this kind of illustrations draw their imagery in an aesthetic approaching too much of the comic book type. In my opinion, they do not do justice to the atmosphere of the writings. For this reason, I chose to render Lovecraft's work in pictures without using colors and in a darker and realistic style.

I share my approach for those who practice the same technique as me. Personally, I often prefer to see the process of creating a work as the end result, because I am learning to perfect my knowledge by seeing other artists work. Also, I share my approach for the curious and curious who, like me, want to know how things work in artistic creation without only being interested in the final result.

 Duvet du Diable - First album published on tape

Duvet du Diable - First album published on tape

KB: You're not just a visual artist, you're also behind the musical project Duvet du Diable that fits in the particular branch of medieval music called Dungeon Synth. For our readers, let's explain that the Dungeon Synth is a generally electronic musical genre characterized by more ambient melodies.There is certainly a connection between your visual works that present all kinds of fantastic creatures sometimes nightmarish and your musical works inspired by dark stories. How did you discover the Dungeon Synth and how does this music echo your current artistic approach?

MV: My music evokes an emotional dungeon more than a real medieval dungeon. It is rooted in the romantic movement and the sickness of this century. I discovered Dungeon Synth through black metal more specifically with Burzum with his album Hliðskjálf and later with Mortiis era 1. This music reflects my inner self; by a reaction of cause and effect, shows up like black bile in my projects in the visual arts.

KB: We know that you active on different social networks. We can follow you on your website and your Instagram account where you seem very active. Would you like to tell us, in closing, what are your next projects? Are you looking to expose your works? Do you have other creative ideas that you would like to talk to us about?

 Interpretation of a creature in the game MYFAROG

Interpretation of a creature in the game MYFAROG

MV: This year, I started to learn oil painting and I want to perfect my 3D creations. I also intend to make more prints of my works and I plan to stage an exhibition next year.

We thanks Mathieu Vaillancourt for generously agreeing to tell us about his work. We wish him every success for his future projects.