One of the best parts of being a photographer are the people you meet on your journey. On top of shooting Fashion I am also an abstract art photographer which has placed me at events, galleries and shows with amazing artists. Several years ago at the Artist Project in Toronto my exhibit was directly across from this very talented painter. Kris Leblanc and I hit it off immediately as we were both attracted to each other’s visual creations.
I have watched Kris’s style slowly change and blossom into these magical pieces. As you look deeply into each painting your mind is pulled into a story Kris is telling. The story is one of wonderment and beauty. His work now hangs prominently in my home and I want more because of his ability to please your eyes, heart and soul.
To understand an artist’s work, sometimes you need to understand the process and the thought process behind their beautiful work.
Kris, how long have you been painting and what triggered your start?
I started painting in 2009. After showing my wife (then girlfriend) my old sketchbooks of my crazy abstract drawings, she decided to buy me a gift card to Michael’s as part of my Christmas present that year. I decided to try my hand at painting and fell in love with it almost immediately. Painting soon became an obsession and I found myself painting late into the night almost every night.
When I first met you years ago your work was almost whimsical, colourful street scenes but over the last year I have seen a massive shift in your style towards abstract. What happened to change your style and what attracts you to this new style?
I’ve always been fascinated by abstract works and I’ve experimented with it steadily since I started painting. I decided to focus on the cityscape scenes because I love bringing architecture to life with colour and warping the buildings is quite fun to explore. While I still love that style, it’s the abstract work that really calls me right now.
As an artist do you ever feel a creative block and if so how have you overcome it?
I have creative blocks all the time, some last longer than others and some years are worse than others. I find going into nature is really good for bringing the life back into my creative spirit. I also find experimenting with my art and pushing myself to try different things leads to new inspirations. That’s why my work is always changing and evolving.
What inspires your new work?
My new work is inspired by my constant experimentation with fluid acrylics using a drip and pour style of painting – something I have been experimenting with and developing over the years. Initially, this style was all abstract but many of them had either a space-like feel or a biological, cellular feel. My latest ocean scenes were inspired by drone photography combined with my love of the beach, nature and landscapes. I was able to use this technique to create a very unique topographical view of the beach and the ocean crashing onto the shoreline. These new works brought me back to my childhood years on the beach – a time when I was having fun and spending time with family. And it turns out, many of us have the same feelings about the ocean and the beach which is why I think these pieces resonate with a lot of people so deeply.
Were your family and friends supportive when you started your journey as an artist?
Yes, I’m so thankful for the tremendous support I have here in Fredericton. My family and friends have been very supportive. I couldn’t’ do this without them, especially my biggest supporter – my wife, Julie. Social media has been great for exposure and in building a community of supporters. Being a self-employed artist is a challenge for anyone and I often see comments from so many people telling me to never stop painting and validation like that keeps me going.
How do you promote your work and what has worked best for you?
Recently, social media has been my main focus for promotion. I can take a while to build up a following but if you’re willing to try new things, experiment with advertising, it can be effective. I’ve also done various shows and exhibitions. Seeing the work in person is important so it’s a balance. Whatever you do, the important thing is to look at what others have done and come up with a plan that works for you, that’s where I’m looking to improve. I want to look at doing more shows, improving my website and getting out there more.
So you find social media a necessity for artists now?
Social media certainly opens doors but it can be time consuming. I think if artists can learn how to use it efficiently without letting it eating up too much time in the studio then it’s definitely an asset, especially if you want to keep your name out there.
Do you come from a creative background?
I was always into drawing growing up and I have creative people on both sides of my family. My mom paints, sews and is very creative. But I fell away from art after high school. I spent quite a few years in western Canada and spent a lot of time in nature. I was always drawn to beauty around me and to the art I would see in shops and galleries when I was there but it was when I came back to New Brunswick that I realized art was always there in front of me the whole time.
What mediums do you work in and can you describe your process?
I work primarily with acrylics, water and pouring mediums. The acrylic pouring style I do now is a spontaneous and expressive style. The painting itself comes together in a matter of hours but it’s the preparation for these pieces that takes time. The process of mixing and getting everything ready can be quite tedious but it’s all worth in the end.
How long does the whole process take from beginning to end for a single piece?
I did manage to time the creation of a larger piece from beginning to end and it took almost 12 hours to complete.
Do you have a vision or plan before each painting or do you just let it happen?
I typically don’t have a plan but I do have an idea of what I’m going for. Usually, that idea never turns out the way I had envisioned but I don’t expect it to. I find it’s best to be open to the process and go with the flow. It’s best not to interfere too much.
Thank you very much Kris for sharing with us.
To see more of Kris’s please visit his social media :
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