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Kelowna: Pouring his heart into 100 tiny paintings
It is a lofty goal, but Kyle Poirier will not give up on producing 100 10-inch by 10-inch paintings until his project is complete.
Of course, he isn't giving up his day job at the Kelowna Art Gallery or his family, two kids and a wife, or the many other demands of daily life either.
And so, his original target to be finished by the end of 2011 has fallen by the wayside and he's now working toward being finished by 2013.
"It was really about the process anyway," said Poirier. And it has been quite the adventure.
Now two-thirds of the way to becoming a small acrylic painting centurion, he's had work go to a music teacher in Churchill, Manitoba as a retirement honour and discovered an unusual affinity among art fans for fish.
"People like fish," he says when asked about his "go-to" clearing house image.
This particular project has seen four fish paintings added to the collection, "The Go Fish Series," and only one is left; he's been using the scaly aquatic beings as staple images to work from since art school.
As one might expect, painting 60-plus images has produced its own go-to themes as well. Working with his wife's antique books, he's found he's now drawn to great tomes of knowledge as both subject and background.
A big part of what got the 100 painting project underway was his desire to find a manageable access point to the commercial art world while balancing the demands of life as a young family man. Making these kinds of discoveries is a bonus, in a way, and it's producing a very distinct style.
Where he was once fond of the more esoteric intellectual projects fine arts departments produce—during his first interview to kick off the project he talked about his designer baby series and exploring the damage Monsanto is doing in paint—today's work is whimsical with a rather ironic old world flare.
This project would never have existed if it were not for the blog he shares with his wife Lori-Anne Poirier. Kyle's portion is called A Portrait of a Pear Tree and falls under her prolific writing projects as the pair put their desire to make use of what the Internet has to offer to work.
"I love how technology is empowering the art world, giving the artist the ability to get their work out to the masses," he told us as he launched the project.
Selling his work online for $100 a painting, he appears to have found a niche in accessible and affordable art in a manner that is accessible to the busy artist as well.
He has done one large painting for his mother and one larger one as a donation for KAG, where he works as a graphic designer, but says his time is otherwise quite limited. The 10-inch by 10-inch paintings are the perfect fit.
One can follow along with his process online or go down to the Marmalade Cat Café where a selection of the old cars and whimsical children, doves and antique typewriters have just been hung on the walls.
It's a favourite stop for the Poirier family on Sunday mornings for chocolate coffee and whole-wheat cinnamon buns and, with 31 of the paintings already sold, it's also one of the only places one might get to see the work.
The rest are in homes and offices from the United Kingdom to the United States, wherever the creative spirit they showcase has caught someone's fancy.