Una finestra sulla serra
L’inverno è lungo e può essere molto, molto grigio qui a Montréal. Si prende tutto il tempo della primavera e spesso la neve continua a cadere anche quando in altri paesi è appena arrivata l’estate, questo me lo hanno raccontato loro. Le temperature scendono sotto lo zero e raggiungono cifre che superano di gran lunga la mia età: sui termostati si può leggere meno quindici o meno sedici senza che l’intera comunità se ne scandalizzi e ormai neppure io me ne sorprendo più. Ho scoperto che le case hanno gli ascensori sui pianerottoli e in pochi minuti collegano interni di palestre, centri commerciali, scuole, altre case. Nei periodi più freddi infatti è impossibile uscire all’aria aperta, loro rischiano di congelarsi il naso, oppure le sopracciglia.
I primi mesi facevo fatica a riconoscere la strada, così come le persone: vivono imbottite dal primo capello fino alle unghie dei piedi, a malapena si distinguono gli uomini dalle donne. La neve avvolge di bianco tutti i quartieri e immerge la città in un romanticismo che sembra non conoscere tempo. Ogni giorno della settimana è uguale a un altro per tanti giorni a seguire di molte settimane e così avviene per le stagioni: si susseguono le festività senza che ci sia un cambio di panorama, uno sfondo che non sia bianco, che non sia freddo e che può al massimo diventare freddissimo o solo poco meno freddo di ieri.
Ho visto Laurence per la prima volta durante un giorno di questi, ma è stata lei la prima a trovarmi. Non pensavo di piacerle subito, invece mi sbagliavo. Credo che anche in casa siano stati tutti attratti dalla mia presenza e io posso solo che esserne felice. All’inizio ero molto sorpresa di essere venuta così brillante, mi sentivo una piccola finestra di luce che affaccia su un labirinto in pieno giorno, grande quanto un campo medio e ben orientata. Non si direbbe a vedermi di sfuggita, e rivedermi e rivedermi ancora. Ho scoperto tuttavia da poco di avere delle sorelle, ma ne ho viste solo alcune rispetto a quelle che siamo. So che molto di loro girano per il mondo e non sanno bene dove arrivano. Credo che alcune si separino molto velocemente e questo avviene quando si accende una scintilla. Un po’ come è capitato a me con Laurence. Solo che sono stata io a generare tutto questo, ma non lo dico mai, so essere molto riservata, il mio colore basta a parlare per me.
artwork by Laurence Deschamps-Léger alias Laucolo
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a conversation with Laucolo
I’m going to know more into your green world: from what I’m seeing, you do not paint layers of green, but it seems that just leave it free to move into the canvas, starting from a square, which becomes closer to the point… that finally miss it!
And differently from what I see in your website, this work seems to be free, even if is geometric. What is your relationship between fruits and figures and the abstract painting?
I studied food systems and worked in communications and urban agriculture. This led me to draw lots of fruits and vegetables and participate in the visual aspects of food-related projects. I didn’t plan that, it happened gradually and it developed because I love collaborating with producers, chefs, nutritionist and entrepreneurs to illustrate parts of their passion. Two years ago, when Ohm was creating Anoma, he told me I could live out of these illustrations and art projects if I wanted to… I laughed and didn’t believe it, but somehow it stayed me with and I took different steps to make it happen.
As for the abstract painting, I got my first canvas, brushes and acrylic tubes from my parents when I was 14 or 15. They are not painters, but both very creative. My mom plays the piano, loves to write and cook and my dad can build anything with his two hands! I painted abstract and colourful things since then, without a precise direction in mind. When I paint, I like to look at the colors and decide on the spot which ones attract me, call me. I haven’t mixed the acrylic abstract world with the fruit and veggie world yet, I think I will try soon. Why not…
How is it starts the collaboration between your drawings and the world of labels?
I have a privileged access to Anoma since it is my boyfriends’ label. Since the creation of his label, he wanted to use some of my artwork. For this third record, with the music of Radiq and Do mi, it asked me to make a new painting and the day I worked, I was very attracted to all the shades of green, maybe because the winter is long and can be very grey here in Montréal…
Can you tell me more about that aspect of your job and what happens there, in Montréal, in the agriculture world and “green lifestyle”?
After my studies in International Development – I did my masters in Geneva – I felt like it was here at home, in Montreal, where I wanted to live. I worked for an urban agriculture company called Lufa Farms who built the first commercial rooftop greenhouse in the world. During my time with them, I was fortunate enough to collaborate with different food makers, growers and organisations involved in food security. I didn’t work in the greenhouse directly, but I would often go for visit, and it was a special oasis of freshness and greenness in the middle of the city.
I don’t work there anymore, but I am still involved in urban agriculture through my own garden. A friend and I also organize markets to promote urban and local agriculture and the work of local artisans. Our next event is the “Marché de mai” which means “May Market” during which we will sell seedlings and have gardening workshops.
I fell you love that word: fresh. It’s everywhere: in our interview, in your drawings and you use it also in your website as a query. But “what is fresh” for you?
Ah! I like this question! The word Fresh lost its meaning by being overused in food-related marketing. Ultimately, for fruits and vegetables at least, fresh means straight off the plant, harvested the same day, ideally in your own garden, from the local market or from your farmers’ basket (community-supported-agriculture). It has to be in season. As for coffee or pasta, fresh might have another meaning.
What kind of meaning?
For bread and coffee, fresh means baked of grounded the same day. For winter veggies, locally harvested, it means they were harvested in the Fall and consumed over the winter. It’s not “as fresh”, but it’s the better than anything imported that travelled 3000 km.
And so… So if you want to give a color of a vinyl… you choose green, right?
What does it means music for your garden of illustrations?
Working many hours at my desk means listening to a lot of music and watching lots of TV series, mostly for the sound in the background. I particularly enjoy detective, investigation series. As for music, I follow my mood and the time of the day. It can be jazz or folk playlists, but also old rock or minimal electronic music. I got my own record table last Christmas and now I play my favourite Fleetwood Mac or Marvin Gaye record on it.
Thank you very much, Laurence.
Oh, thank you too! I really appreciate our interview. If you come to Montreal, let us know!