Somewhere in the ease and quietude of Montréal, a humble artist sits in the pale-blue light of a computer screen, creating. That humble artist is Pierre-Paul Pariseau and his creations are surreal collages, simultaneously dark and colorful, humorous and compunction. His stark, cartoon-ish juxtapositions may excite, enthrall, confound, offend, inspire and charm all at once. That may sound a little exaggerated, a little unlikely, even; but fact of the matter is, even ‘exaggerated’ and ‘unlikely’ are fitting adjectives. Superlatives aside, Pariseau’s work is the delicate marriage of old-school pastime (collage-making) and new-school norm (photo-editing). And that marriage is a happy one.
Pierre-Paul is self-taught, originally creating his pieces entirely by hand. With the access of Photoshop in 1999, however, he was suddenly able to incorporate a new dynamic to an already dynamite style. “At the beginning I was doing more traditional photo-montages from cut-outs, with scissors and glue. Then came the computer, but as time went by I wanted to have more possibilities to change colors, modify the cut-outs.” His method now consists of selecting from a plethora of cut-outs that he’s collected throughout his career, scanning them onto his computer and altering them through multi-media layering and black-and-white contrasts, until they become color-rich and content-heavy.
“I do try to voice some kind of personal opinions [and] statements using my images,” Pariseau explains, “but perhaps sometimes these images can be confused with wild and unbridled imaginative images” that “can be understood in many ways, sometimes far away from what I meant originally, and this is fine also.”
Also far away from what he originally intended is the title that art critics and observers have bestowed to him. Because of his color contrasts, compositions, and subtle cultural satires he is often regarded as a Pop Surrealist, which is apt, but objective. “At least I never intended to be Pop but always was surreal,” he explains. Admittedly, though, the Pop title has opened doors to more gallery exhibitions and increased demand for commissions.
When observing Pariseau’s work, either in galleries, online, or the covers and pages of numerous magazines world-wide, Dali and Ernst come to mind as possible inspirations; but artists of the like are considered godfathers of all surrealists since. With all due respect to the great artists of the past, Pariseau’s own approach is just that—his own. And his inspiration comes from all sorts of places, from a long walk to open his mind, to the endless arrangement of possibilities fueled by experimentation. Imagining the illustrator at his desk, composing a photo-montage is like imagining God, with a good sense of humor, creating and recreating the universe to his own amusement. “In fact,” says Pariseau inspiration-ally, “the experimentation process has no beginning and no end, with an open mind it is a continuous flow.”
For a detailed tutorial of how to create your own Pierre-Paul Pariseau masterpiece, visit his website: http://pierrepaulpariseau.com.