Kyle Poirier has fish on the brain and he’s not being coy about wanting to get that sea of images swimming in his imagination out onto canvass.
The Rutland-based artist and graphic designer for the Kelowna Art Gallery has set himself a lofty goal: To paint 100 10-inch by 10-inch canvass original works of art by the end of the year and sell them for $100 each.
“The fish started around 2004,” he said. “I was a real fish geek growing up and I eventually started painting koi a little while back, almost like stained glass.”
Whimsical and colourful, he admits the fish have become the clearinghouse image for his creative side. When no other inspiration strikes, out come the scales of near-anime fish imagery, although it doesn’t seem inspiration is particularly the problem for Poirier, as much as time.
Now a father of a two-year-old daughter and a four-year-old son, the days of exploring political messages through his brush—like the designer baby series he did in university—seem to have given way to a new reality of stolen hours between the kids’ bedtime and his own need to sleep.
Where his paintings once explored Monsanto’s appalling agricultural practices, they’re now more likely to look into the inner workings of an old car engine one might find on a farm, or whatever else he might be commissioned to do.
And so, struggling with this design-a-painting versus painting-a-design conundrum, which never really leaves him much time for his own ideas, he decided to put together a very basic project—100 paintings for $100 to be sold through his wife’s prolific blog.
Poirier is married to Lori-Anne Poirier who runs the art blog www.thepeartree.ca, which explores Kelowna’s arts and culture scene while giving herself a reason to write.
Her husband is hoping to take a page from her book and create his own need to paint with an online blog, run off her site, that will both motivate him to work and open up a space for dialogue on the pieces he conjures up.
Good or bad, he says he’s open to criticism and is really looking forward to getting the discussion going as he seeks out interesting inspiration around town.
With roughly a dozen paintings done, and two on the way, it seems the muse varies wildly. From gardens to a Ford Model T car to a motorcycle, a ladybug and, of course, those fish, the hasty collection of acrylic paintings is already shaping up to be a pretty unique view of the world and what life is like living in the Ben Lee Park neighbourhood and commuting to the downtown gallery.
The project began in July, meaning he will likely need to pick up the pace if he intends to meet his deadline; but completing the effort on schedule is nowhere near as important as the process.
“I love how technology is empowering the art world, giving the artist the ability to get their work out to the masses,” he said.
To check out Poirier’s paintings, make a comment or two on the blog or offer up an inspirational site he might want to pack his paints to, just visit www.thepeartree.ca/kyle.
And while you’re there, catch up on Lori-Anne’s latest musing—she’s looking for book club stories at the moment.