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205 Main Street East
North Bay, Ontario P1B 1B2
Bridgette Perron is a visual artist based out of North Bay, ON. She recently graduated from Nipissing University with her second Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Arts, Art History & Visual Studies Stream. Bridgette's work reflects an interest in nature and the ecological world. She works with several mediums, including watercolour, acrylic, graphite, and pastel. Her lively compositions convey feelings of beauty and whimsy with elements of surprise. Working between realism and abstraction, Bridgette’s art is continuously evolving. This is written in an interview style based on a conversation between Jessa Laframboise and Bridgette Perron.
Bridgette Perron: I’m from North Bay, and I have been drawing ever since I was a kid. It was always something that I really loved. When I was in grade school, I remember I wanted to be an illustrator for Hallmark. I wanted to make cards. It’s something I have always loved. I felt like art was the one thing that I was really good at, and it’s something that I never got bored of. So I took it all through school and then went to Georgian College for art. It was a certificate program called Art Fundamentals and Design Visuals, which is a one-year course that was meant to dip your toes into art and find out what you want to do. It was a little bit of a mix between graphic design, interior design, and fine arts, and you got to dabble in all of those things, which was cool. Then I went to University, where I studied history and religious studies. And eventually, I did a second degree, a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts in the Art History and Visual Studies Stream and graduated last year.
BP: I create to express myself or a feeling and use creativity to work through my emotions. At the same time, my art tends to be focused on nature. It’s always been my inspiration. I’ve been obsessed with desert themes for a while now. There is something about it that I find really interesting because people assume it’s this barren space, and there’s nothing there. It’s hot and dry, and people might think it’s ugly. And I’m really interested in how I connect with that. I try to paint things that mean something to me, and I don’t get too caught up in symbolism. I flip between realism and abstraction, and both help me process things differently. When I am creating abstract work, I find that I don’t necessarily have a theme, but I base it on the colours and emotions that it elicits. I really like working with colour, and it tends to be part of want influences my work, which direction it’s going to go, or how it’s going to feel. I was doing mostly abstracts for the last couple of years, and then just out of the blue, I wanted to get back into landscapes and watercolor painting, so that’s where I’m now. I feel like everything I do is different from one project to the next. I know a lot of artists have a consistent style or explore similar themes, and they work within that. But I’ve always felt like that was too restrictive for me. Who knows what will happen next. I go with the flow. I don’t feel like right now it is necessary for me to have a certain look or style, or path. I follow wherever the inspiration goes.
BP: It’s a daily thing. If I don’t do something artistic every day, getting started can be a problem. But I think it’s also about patience. I don’t necessarily force myself, but I try to do something every day, even if it’s a quick sketch. So my advice would be to try and maintain a schedule or a focus time where you can sit down and create something. And even if nothing happens but you’ve sat yourself down for like an hour, at least you are attempting it.
BP: My influences have always been mostly female artists. I love Beatrix Potter. I don’t think that many people realize she did more than storybooks. She did a lot of botanical paintings, and she is quite an amazing watercolor artist. And I’ve also always loved Georgia O’kkeffe’s work. She deals with nature in an abstract way, and I love that. And I think what’s been really exciting for me in the last couple of years with Instagram is just being able to see so many different artists out there. I get inspiration from them. There are so many out there, and it’s kind of neat to see so many artists in this virtual space.
BP: Doing the mural was so much fun. And now that I think about it, it was a really big project, and I’m like, wow, I really took that on even though I had never done something that big before. Seems crazy looking back. I had a goal initially to finish the project in two weeks. It took about 3. But I put a hard deadline on it for myself so that I would get it done. I painted it last august inside the old Pearls building. It was a peaceful experience. I would go in, and there was never anyone there because they had construction during the day, but it was quiet at night. And so I’d just go and paint. And I knew that I wanted to do something bright and tropical and warm because it’s so cold here most of the year. I hope it lasts. I’ve never used that material before - it was a new surface for me to paint on, so I didn’t know how it would go. So I just figured it was my opportunity to brighten up that space. It was just an awesome experience. And I am really happy that it’s up now and everybody can enjoy it.
Cover Image by Brendan O'Connor | Image 3 by Isaac Paul