Tuesday, June 23, 2015

"Committed to art as a spontaneous and therapeutic process" - Let's meet artist Donna Giraud

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Photographed by Charles Zuckermann
Fascinated by the endless possibilities of artistic expression, Artist Donna Giraud paints purely from the heart and attempts to convey intensity, strength, beauty and tranquility.  Through many years of involvement and presence in different Vancouver Art scene and culture, she has established a recognizable and unique style that defies the historic rules of painting and creates work that evokes conversation and challenges personal exploration.

We share the same vision on the belief of artist banding together and creating a supportive and inspiring community. 

Let's talk more...

1.When did you realize that being an artist was going to be your path?

Honestly, this is an ever evolving realization. This whole process of artistic expression completely started out with no real intention and has evolved into such a deep seeded passion that now just “has to get out”. I have been blessed with the ability to create emotion on canvas and I am now just realizing that this path found me and not the other way around.  Now that I have realized that being an artist is what I am meant to do, I am inspired to build “my empire” which includes much more than just painting on canvas. I hope everyone is ready to come along for the ride because it’s going to be great!!

2.What inspires you or motivate you to paint?

I paint purely from my soul. I take every day interactions, conversations and contemplations and express the thought process on canvas. I get excited to paint when I can hash out my feelings about love, I get inspired to paint when I can work through my emotions about frustration and I get moved to paint when I am challenged to remember to be present despite the world provoking me to do the opposite. My art is an extension of myself and I allow every detail of it to help guide me to my next creation. 

3.What is your average day like?

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An average day in my world is never the same. As I transition out of my full time job as a nurse, I am more and more focused on filling my evenings and weekends with as many artistic opportunities I can get my hands on. From actual painting, photo shoots, interviews for magazines, to going to art openings and working on the back end of the business (social media and returning emails), I am making a concerted effort to be as present in the art world as possible. I have a vision of creating a life that is made up of a variety of artistic components so i make it a point to keep my days full of new challenges and experiences. You never know how a simple introduction or event could change your life, so I am open to it all.

4. How has your practice changed over time?

I am often amazed about how far I have come in this whole journey of my painting and I am not naive to know that it won’t dramatically change continuously. I started out with never having painted a single brush stroke to now being represented by a gallery in New York City. Over time, I have made it a point to simply just keep painting. As the actual act of painting became more of a priority in my life I have been able to be become more courageous and intentional and my work has taken on a new level of depth, both visually and conceptually. Now that I have made a commitment to art as my profession, I have developed a new respect for the whole process and I continue to strive to finds ways to be more involved,  passionate, inspired and productive. The key is to continue growing and evolving and never stay stagnant. 

5. Who’s your favourite Artist? How does this Artist inspire or mentor you?

I am not your average classically trained artist that grew up idolizing the greats like Monet or da Vinci. Instead, I am passionate about supporting and being inspired by local artists right here in Vancouver. I absolutely adore Linzy Arnott and Tanya Slingsby as they both just have a way of making me feel incredible when I look at their work. It’s their unique techniques and ability to create a visual depth that keeps me inspired to continue to create my own brand as brilliantly as they both have. 

6. There are many emerging artists looking for the kind of direction and passion that you, as a successful artist, clearly have. What kind of advice would you give to those who are looking for their direction and path?

This is one of my favourite questions that I get asked. I am a firm believer and very vocal with how passionate I am about emphasizing the importance of artists helping other artists. I am devoted to sharing any piece of knowledge or expertise with anyone that is willing to ask or listen. So having said that, my biggest piece of advice would be, don’t “reinvent the wheel” and surround yourself with a community of other artists that are willing to share their story. We need to create a culture that we are in this together and not against each other. By creating an environment where we constantly share, collaborate and encourage, the chances for success are limitless. 

On a more individual basis, I would advise emerging artists to understand that the difference between being an artist and being a successful, thriving artist comes down to the attention to details. Make it a point to separate yourself from the rest by going “above and beyond” and taking the time to send a personal thank you note to a proud new owner, or a bottle of wine to a repeat customer. It’s these types of gestures that people remember that make them more inclined to come back wanting more. You take care of your fans and customers and they will take care of you.

(Note: We absolutely agree with her suggestions here. For emerging artists wanting to learn more advices we compiled for you, check out our previous session on S.M.A.R.T. Marketing)

7. In your opinion, what role do artists play in today’s day and age? 

I think that art and creativity is integral to a beautiful life. whether it’s making a scrapbook or creating exclusive fine art collections, art provides a visual journey, visceral emotions and creates dialogue between people that perhaps never would have spoken to one another had it not been for the art. Being someone that has the ability to create these emotions and interactions between individuals because of my work is of the highest honour. I think that artists, specifically here in Vancouver, have a huge role to play in today’s day and age. Our art has the ability to create community, to expand thought and to most simply, create joy. Vancouver is looking for new ways to get inspired and involved and I feel that artists have the duty to help make this a reality. I look forward to expanding my creative expression and hopefully inspire someone along the way. 

8. What is your 5 year goal?

As the momentum and excitement for my artwork continues to increase, my five year plan keeps changing as I am now realizing that the possibilities are endless. Having said that, I do hope that in five years I will have made the transition to painting and exhibiting on a full time basis and would also be offering specific services like mentorship opportunities, public speaking engagements, painting classes and working collaboratively with a select group of interior designers to get my work hanging in as many homes as possible. Aside from the art career endeavours, my hope is that in five years I will still be surrounded by an incredibly supportive community of family and friends and waking up every morning being grateful that I get to live my passion.  


Next Artist Interview - Stay Tuned!

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