September 18, 2015 by Casey Webb
Tell us about yourself, who are you, where are you from, and what do you do?
Hi, my name is Emmanuel Laflamme. I guess you could say I became an artist by accident. I studied art because my dream was to create a cartoon series.
I grew up in the suburbs of Montreal with my two parents and three younger sisters. I spent most of my childhood playing hockey, building stuff with LEGOs and watching cartoons.
A fortunate encounter with my cousin’s husband, Christian Tremblay (a professional cartoonist, creator of the SWAT KATS) literally changed my life. He became a mentor and encouraged me to teach myself how to draw and paint in the academic style. After a few years of practicing, I started working as an assistant in a studio in Montreal. It didn’t take long for me to realise how challenging it was to create, sell, produce and distribute an original cartoon series… so I started to think of different ways I could express myself using other means.
This is when I really started to make art on my own. I worked with a model for a while, then I experimented with acrylics, pastels, collage, sculpture and digital art. I tried making portraits, still life’s, landscapes and abstract compositions.
My first group show was somewhat of a turning point. I was showing my first paintings, on which I had worked for 20-30 hours each. When I saw that most people spent less than 5 seconds looking at them, I realised I needed to find a more efficient and powerful way to make art. This led me back to my main work tool: Photoshop.
At the time, I was posting a lot on deviantArt. My first trials at digital collage and photo-montage were somewhat successful. The positive reactions encouraged me to go further as I began to realise the power of appropriation in art. Using pictures for their symbolic values, I started creating visual mash-ups that combined references from gaming, pop-culture and art history. As these images became more and more popular, I started to paint, draw, sculpt and print them. I took part in several group shows, which lead me to even more opportunities. (Click here to read the rest of the interview)