At the Art on Paper Fair last month, the AZ team paused in the middle of the room to watch Laurence Vallieres build a giant monkey sculpture from cardboard materials. We watched her for ages, along with many bystanders, fascinated by her fluid motion layering strips of cardboard on top of each other, creating an adorable work of art for us to enjoy!


Vallieres always felt a strong urge to create and communicate her observations.  She is inspired by Art Spiegelman, George Orwell, William Kentridge, working with animal imagery, and aesthetic techniques that have been recycled many times through history like anthropomorphic fables or political cartoons.


Vallieres studied art in Montreal, Québec City, and California and became well versed in many mediums like photography, painting, ceramics, metal and drawing. In terms of artistic process, drawing is the basis of her work – all ideas start with a sketch.


Art Zealous borrowed five minutes with Vallieres to chat sculptures, influence, & creating.


Art Zealous: Astrological sign?
Laurence Vallieres: Gemini.


AZ: Current wallpaper on your phone?
LV: It’s the photo of Matuba, the gorilla taken at the Philadelphia zoo. I worked along side Matuba for nearly two weeks while building a sculpture. We got use to each other.


AZ: Currently reading?

LV:  “How to Think Like a Freak.”


AZ: I watched you build a sculpture at the Art on Paper fair which was fascinating to watch. What’s the experience like creating live vs. creating in your studio?

LV: Creating live is very hard. It’s really just for the show because it takes me much longer to make something when everyone talks to me all the time. It’s not really creating, it’s more like performing.


AZ: How do you create such realistic sculptures of animals?

LV: I’m just going by the feeling. The idea is really not to make them realistic but rather believable.


AZ: You create huge sculptures, where do they live after you exhibit them?

LV: It depends. When I make large scale sculptures, it’s usually for a festival or a specific demand. The people that organize my visits and ask me for sculptures know in advance where they are going to go.


AZ: You mention your work is about human relationships, communication and political issues. Please elaborate on those influences.

LV: I like to think my pieces are a bit human in the expression and position. When I construct apes I mostly think about people. I use a material that is rather industrial and considered a waste- using trash to make art has political meaning when our economy is so harmful for the planet. This is why I consider my work political.


AZ: You work in painting, ceramics, metal and drawing – which medium is your favorite?
LV: I like 3 dimensional work – as long as it’s in 3D I don’t mind the material. Ceramics was my first love. As for drawing and painting, it’s much harder for me to express myself with those mediums but I try.


AZ: What impact do you hope to have on the industry?
LV: Frankly, I don’t know what impact I could have… Artistique careers are very malleable, they can take any shape you want. I like making art, having a show, selling and traveling – this is all I need.


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