Julie Lequin is a French-Canadian artist based in Montreal. She received a BFA from Concordia University and an MFA from Art Center College of Design. Her work is multidisciplinary; it includes video art, performance, watercolor, writing, props and costumes, as well as written lists, voiceovers and notes for scripts. She’s exhibited all over Canada and the US. Her work has been published by 2nd Cannons Publications, Phaidon, Art Papers, C Magazine and Etc-revue de l’art actuel.
I started making autobiographical work when I moved to California for graduate school. There were always adventures happening to me and I couldn’t speak English well enough to explain them. I would come home and try to tell stories to my roommates and they would say, ‘We should just film you–it’s so crazy what you’re trying to say!’
We lived in The Mission in San Francisco. It was kind of dirty at that time. It wasn’t as hip as it is now. One time, there was a guy going to the bathroom on the sidewalk. It was so difficult to explain what happened! I like that my work takes little moments and makes them bigger. It’s not special but it’s something that everybody can identify with a little bit.
Right now, I’m working on a video project about job interviews. When I finished grad school, I went to so many job interviews and it really fucked with me. Now I’m ready to talk about it and make things from it. Now I have a lot of humour about it.
At first, it was going to be a sculpture project. I missed the tactility, the touching. You don’t get that making videos. I thought I could make sculptures that look like characters. That was fun–but the project is really about personal interactions on video.
I start with a vision for the characters. Then, I vaguely script the story. I think of the costumes and props as objects. They’re part of the video but, to me, they’re really an object first. I make drawings and then recreate the objects in the drawing. I like the idea of a costume so I don’t want the objects to look real. For example, I made a beard out of felt and stick it on with glue. If I used fake hair, it wouldn’t look like what I see in my vision.
I sit in my studio for eight hours at a time. I get in a zone. I’m not dizzy, but almost dizzy. I don’t have a boss so I have to set my own deadlines. In grad school, I was surrounded by very motivated people and it really kicked my butt. Now, I have to kick my own butt.
–Julie Lequin, as told to Studio Beat