SSA Featured Artist-Jodi Le Bigre

We hope you enjoy this journey into the wonderful world of our next featured artist, Canadian-born Jodi Le Bigre.

Tell us what got you into art – how you got started – what first excited you.
From a very young age I have been inclined towards making things. My mother noticed early on that setting me at a table with paints and papers would keep me busy and out of trouble for long stretches of time, so it is no wonder that I often got paints and coloured pencils as gifts. At school, I happened to have teachers who promoted the arts in the classroom, so I was lucky there as well. Art has always been hugely important to my life, and making art continues to completely absorb my attention in a way that not much else can.

Where do you make your work?
Currently I have a small studio in my flat. It has large windows and—as long as I don’t make anything too large—it’s great for painting. Etching is more of a challenge though! I have a small press that sits on a little end table we found in the street. Vats of acid and water get scattered about between the studio and the kitchen, and stacks of paper are filed under and on top of a spare bed. (Straightening up for guests is like an archaeological dig!) For anything larger than A4 prints, or for editioning, I go out to a public printmaking studio.

What are your main influences and sources of inspiration?
Medieval and early renaissance art have been very influential to me. I am also interested in naive art, folk art, outsider art, and surrealism. Moving to Paris in my early twenties and suddenly having access to a multitude of incredible museum collections was mind-blowing. Recently I’ve been studying under an Orthodox iconographer, and this method of art-making and transmission of craft and theory has been illuminating. The icon tradition’s approach to line and colour, as well as the functional and tactile nature of art, is something that I can see influencing my work for years to come. But most of all, the places I have lived (Canada, Japan, France, Scotland) have probably been my greatest sources of influence and inspiration.

Is there some piece of advice / information / knowledge that you’d like to share?
Chances are that no one will ever spend as much time looking intently at your art as you yourself will, so make something you enjoy looking at!

Tell us about a project you are working on at present?
At the moment I am working on a series of paintings involving figures composed of plants. The paintings are in egg tempera and are informed by the 15th-century German motif of ‘wildmen’, as well as botanical and anthropological drawings and paintings from the Age of Discovery. I am also getting ready to move to Glasgow as I will be returning to university this September to do a Master’s of Fine Art Practice in printmaking at the Glasgow School of Art.

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