Artist Edsel LaBillois has tongues wagging and jaws dropping in Andersonville. His colorful paintings on canvas are currently featured at our 5061 N. Clark location. See what Edsel had to say about his creative process in this in-depth interview:
Who and what really inspires your work?
For the ‘who’ part of my inspiration, I would have to say Pablo Picasso. I’ve always enjoyed looking at his work and the very wide variety of mediums he worked in. That and his longevity which allowed him to create such a large body of work. When looking at his pieces one can see his vision through his sculptural works in metal and in clay, his printmaking, his drawing, and most well known, his painting. All of these make for a large source of my inspiration.
As for the ‘what’ part of my inspiration, this would simply be observation. Whenever I’m somewhere other than my studio, I always have my eyes open to interesting visual stimuli. I love to travel with my family and am always on the lookout for new ideas, new interesting landscapes, unusual trees, unfamiliar terrain and nature as a whole. Certainly the trees that I see when I’m somewhere catch my eye. Over the last few years I’ve been to Costa Rica and Norway and really enjoyed the beauty of both places. Travel allows me the opportunity to observe people from many different walks of life, to try and figure out what they’re like from a very brief glance is always something I enjoy.
Can you tell us a little about your creative process?
My creative process begins once I get home or have a little time to work in my sketchbook(s). I always bring one or two with me when I’m on the road. I don’t always get the time to sketch but at least I’ve got the chance to. More often than not I will take weeks or months before I will sketch something I’ve seen. In a way, I allow my mind to filter out or forget the elements that I do not need and only put the essentials on paper. From there I’ll build off this sketch by refining it or creating groups of similar compositions to draw from. Next, I’ll start to select those images that I want to put on canvas. From there I’ll play with the ratios and dimensions of the canvas to see what works best with the piece.
When I’m getting ready for a show I’ll also go through the decision making process of sizing. Will a piece be small, intimate, personal, or will it be large, grand or public? I’ve recently worked on few tiny pieces that came with a frame that fit the canvas, pieces that were around 3″ by 2.5″. In the same month I’ve also done pieces that were 5 feet tall by 4 feet wide which have an completely different impact on me when I’m painting them and ultimately to the viewer in the gallery. All of these decisions come into play when I start to work on a group of pieces and often I don’t think in terms of a single piece but in terms of a collection of pieces. I also find that the more I paint, the more I want to paint.
Are there any exciting future plans or projects on the horizon?
Most recently I’ve created a series of portraits for my Chicago show. It has been a year since I’ve done some portraits and it was great to get back to a subject I enjoy almost as much as trees. Even though these portraits were all done from imagination, they all remind me of people I’ve seen or people I have met. For these I hope the viewer sees in them someone they know or would like to meet.
I’ve started working on wood instead of canvas for some of my 2-D works. These have a completely different feel when it comes to the paint and the brush. It is a slight departure from canvas, and an interesting one. This has led me to acquiring some larger pieces of wood to create some sculptures using wood chisels and a chainsaw. I’ve been working up some models in wax and smaller pieces of wood to see where this will take me. On the horizon I hope to purchase a welder to begin working in metal again. This will be pure experimentation at first, which is always something I enjoy.
Make sure to see Edsel’s work on display at Foursided Andersonville! For his full body of work and contact information visit: www.edselart.com