In conversation with Alex Garant

Updated: Nov 26, 2020

I like to represent lost innocence. That is a big theme in my work, I try to reflect my own insecurities and stay naive within my evolution. I try to capture this always evolving sense of doubt and first loves in my subjects.

Canadian-based artist, Alex Garant, also known as "The Queen of Double Eyes", impresses through her paintings and portraits that mix a traditional approach with special graphical characteristics, such as optical illusions. The portrayed female characters as muses reveal the complexity of their beings that cannot be captured at first glance and thus, the eyes as the mirror of the soul reveal the multiple layers of personality of the female figures. As a significant figure of the Glitch Art world, Alex Garant juggles pattern duplication and symmetry into a particular space of discourse that enables the viewers to perceive and understand things through different layers. Below you will find the interview we have with the talented artist, in which she reveals more about her work, goals, inspiration and future plans.

Alex Garant - The Booth, 16x20,16x50, oil on canvas

1. We would like to know a bit more about you as a person. Where did you grow up? What was your childhood like? Were you already interested in painting and visual arts at a young age?

I grew up in Quebec City, Canada. I started painting and drawing at a very young age. I entered my first art contest at 5 years old and took my first oil painting class when I was 7 years old. I believe my interest in art comes from my mother who also loved to create. She would draw those beautiful faces with a pencil and allow me to colour them with wax pastels. It was such an enjoyable activity for me.  2. What could you say about the actual art environment in Canada and how did you experience it while studying art and once you built up as an artist?

When I first graduated from Art school, we had to be very analogue in our approach. Now with the expansion of online communities and social media, it is easier than ever to build a career wherever you are in the world. To me, it is a great time to be an artist as you do not have to focus on just showing your work locally, you can reach out to your fan base overseas and build such a beautiful support system.  3. Do you identify yourself more as a figurative or as a visual artist?

I would say a visual artist just because my job is all about creating images regardless of what I choose to paint. 

Alex Garant - Be a doll, 12x12, oil on canvas

4. You committed yourself fully to being an artist in 2012, after you passed through some health problems. Was this the kind of life-changing moment you had? What else motivated you to do what you do?

I suffered a heart attack at 30, and at that point, my life was more like a lazy river, I would let the current take me wherever. After my brush with death, I decided to take control of my intentions and also make sure I was fully living all the time I was given on this planet. Time is the only currency we are running out of. It is a very precious thing and we really need to actively take advantage of every minute. It is at that time that I personally realized Art was what I really needed to do, the only thing that was deeply fulfilling. 

Alex Garant, Wind 12x12, oil on canvas

5. Could you describe your style in 3 words?

Figurative, Illusion, Innocence. 6. Your style can be considered as part of the Glitch art technique, mixing traditional style paintings superimposed with graphical characteristics. What distinguishes your work from other artists? What makes it unique?

Well I created my style without any direct inspiration from things I already had seen. It was my personal journey and my own experimentations that lead me to this imagery. I would say that what makes me unique is that I birthed this aesthetic myself from within. 7. Which artists inspire you the most? Any type of music that inspires you?

My favourite works are the Pope Series by Francis Bacon. The first time I saw it when I was younger was the first time I found myself fully fascinated by an image. It was enigmatic and mysterious. I looked at it for several hours, trying to emerge my mind into its meaning.  8. Do you have any secrets to a successful creative process, any rituals?

Work for several hours in a row when you are inspired, and work for even more hours when you are not. Pushing your mind to overcome blank canvas syndrome and technical challenges is how you grow as an artist. 

Alex Garant in her studio (c) - picture by Alex Garant

9. People often say that a mixture of talent, luck and perseverance leads to long-lasting success. Which factors do you believe to have had a big impact and contribution in your case?

Once I decided to truly focus on art as my career, it was way easier to understand the steps to get there. Be open to opportunities and understand how to use them is often key. 10. You are currently based in Toronto, do you consider this a photogenic or inspiring city? Which other places are a source of inspiration for you?

It is a busy city, I love the other artists who live here, it is a lovely art community. The city itself is engaging, but I am often just by myself in my studio, sketching and brainstorming. 

Alex Garant - Rocket Pop 12x12, oil on canvas

11. The kind of technique you use is impressive. It triggered you the nickname of “Queen of Double Eyes”. How did you manage to master this technique? Are there still things you would like to learn?

The nickname was given to me by a friend. To me, it is not a "technique", it is just who I am, what I do and what I have been inventing. It just comes naturally as part of my creative voice. The more work you create, the more you are able to see repeating elements and find out the patterns that come naturally. 

Alex Garant in her studio (c) - picture by Alex Garant

12. What materials do you prefer to work with?

I love oil paint, particularly Gamblin oil paint. I also use linseed oil as medium.  13. Do your pictures convey a particular message? Or is your work open for interpretation?

Art should always be open to interpretation, the most amazing thing about art is how many "read" it. And the way people absorb different images is up to their own life experiences and emotions. Art is a language in itself. And whatever is lost in translation can still be received as a beautiful gift.  14. Most of your hyperrealistic portraits are representations of young girls, in particular moments or spaces. Any coincidence or why this preference for the artistic subjects?

I like to represent lost innocence. That is a big theme in my work, I try to reflect my own insecurities and stay naive within my evolution. I try to capture this always evolving sense of doubt and first loves in my subjects. 

Alex Garant - Until Dusk, oil on canvas

15. Can you tell us more about how you started with this technique and the overall journey until today?

As mentioned previously, it wasn't really a choice, it was my personal creative journey that took me there. It wasn't something I had seen before, it is just something I found myself creating through years of sketching, experimenting and self-examination. I like my images to come from within, either from my dreams or memories. I refuse to let existing art influence my own journey, I want my visual voice to be a window to my fantasies. 

Alex Garant in her studio (c) - picture by Alex Garant

16. You grew a lot as an artist, in the past years and you won some important recognitions on the way. You also had several exhibitions all around the world, from Los Angeles to Australia and Portugal. What can we expect from Alex Garant in the near future? What would be the ultimate achievement for you?

I always try to push myself and find new ways to express variations on my primary themes. So I am hoping to bring new twists on what I do best.

When it comes to upcoming exhibits, I am happy to announce I will have a 3 months exhibit at the MOAH Lancaster in September 2020, and in spring 2021, a solo show at Beinart Gallery. For more group shows and news

For more information and inspiration from Alex Garant, visit her website and Instagram page.

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