January is national paper crafting month! With that in mind, we thought this was the perfect time to share the work of Crissy Arseneau. Located in Vancouver, Canada, Crissy specializes in creating watercolor paper sculpture & collage. Her work has been exhibited in galleries in British Columbia, with works held in private collections in Canada and the UK. Keep reading to learn more!
Name: Crissy Arseneau
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Favorite Product: #11 Blades
Artist & Craftsman Supply: Who are you and what do you do?
Crissy Arseneau: My name is Crissy Arseneau and I'm a multimedia artist living and working in Vancouver, Canada. I work primarily with watercolour and paper to create painted paper sculpture and collage.
Left to right: At the Breaking of Dawn A Morning Chorus, Rise Up, Planetary Play
A&C: What drew you to art initially?
CA: It’s been a lifelong interest so pinpointing what started it is difficult. The need to make things, and to imagine making more things, has been there for as long as I can remember. I have always been drawn to visual art. When a piece speaks to me, there's a feeling of astonishment and a wash of happiness that flows through me.
A&C: Did you go to school for art/what is your background?
CA: It's all pretty DIY! My art education has mostly been a lot of personal experimentation, random workshops, and ample use of the library and used bookstores. Happily, making or being creative in some way has been a big part of almost everyday job I've had. I also worked for an art materials retailer for the past 8+ years, so I've been happily surrounded by it daily for a long time.
A&C: What’s one thing you can’t leave an art store without buying?
CA: Paper! Those blank sheets hold so many possibilities. And #11 blades.
Left: Sarah Khan | Portrait | Watercolour on Paper | 22″ x 30″ | 2018
Right: Jessie McNeil | Vanaemad at Tartu University Library | Mixed Media collage on wood panel | 14.5" x 16" | 2015
A&C: Do you have a favorite artist/piece of art?
CA: Very difficult to choose! Bridget Riley has been a favourite as far back as I can recall, and Paul Klee’s work is just beyond. My Vancouver favourites ebb and flow as there are so many skilled artists here. Two that I have been consistently enjoying for some time now are Sara Khan and Jessie McNeil. I'm leaving out a ton of stunning artists by naming only two, this city is filled with outstanding work!
A&C: What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given (not necessarily art related)?
CA: We wouldn’t care so much what others thought of us if we realized how little they did.
It's Sunday, Pouring Down Rain
A&C: How has your practice changed over time?
CA: It’s been a long and winding journey with many stops and very few real starts. For many years, I’d say I was more in the craft realm, only sometimes creating in media that fits the fine art definition. Most recently, my main creative expression had been photography, but something switched a few years back, and the draw to it just wasn’t there like it was before. I realized it was because I wanted to be creating in a more hands-on way than I had been with my camera.
I doodled around with different media for a while until watercolours won me over. At first, it was working quite abstractly and just playing with the medium. In early 2017, I made a last-minute decision to use some of those watercolours in a daily practice challenge, cutting them up to be used as collage material. It was instant love. Carving into the paper was so tactile, and the inherent dimensionality watercolour paper added a 3D element that I very soon started to build upon, adding in the light and shadow I so loved in photography. And it's fully hands-on at every stage of the process, I couldn't ask for more.
Left to right: Cloud City, The Meaning of Within, Velvet Crush
A&C: What is your go-to album/artist right now (in the studio)?
CA: For someone who loves music as much as I do, I actually work in silence most of the time! Artists that make the cut when I’m ready for some sound are often Modest Mouse, Sarah Harmer, and a lot of hits from the 70s and 80s.
Where the Moon Has it Lit Up
A&C: What is one goal you have for 2019 (this doesn’t have to be art related!)?
CA: The same goal I have every year – working larger! Little by little, the work may one day be a little less little!
I've Gazed Along the Open Road mural at The Profile, Vancouver. Photo by Laara Cerman.