Freshly Inked Interview with Sandra Chevrier

Photo credit: Yanick Alain Gauthier, StreetArtAtlas, Jasper Wong
Instagram: @sandrachevrier

How would you describe the style of art you do?
The series ‘’Cages’’ that I've been working on for the past few years enters the Postmodern Portraits or the Pop Urban Art category.
If you were to do a piece that described yourself, what images would you put together? Probably a self-portrait in the style of the ‘’Cages series.’’ Art, to me, is not only a way of expression, but it is also a language on its own. It has always been my way to speak, the representation of my vision of the world I live in. There is a universal message in the series Cages, but it is also very personal. I keep myself busy in many ways; single mom, businesswoman, artist, the household, romance, errands. It puts a lot on one’s shoulders. Always trying to reach perfection in everything that I am, or do causes me a lot of stress and anxiety, forgetting to enjoy Life while trying to perform. We overwork ourselves. In my work I am often choosing to highlight the fragility of the superhero, their own struggles, and weaknesses, exposing the humanity within the superhuman. In comic books, despite all the playfulness of the thing itself and all the “POW, BING, BAM” superheroes are also fragile.
Where did you grow up and go to school? Did you attend any art schools/universities?
I come from the Suburbs a bit up North of Montreal, Canada. When I was young there was still loads of forests in this little town called Rosemere. We would build tree houses with our neighbors and do caterpillars hunts and reward the one who would catch the most. I have always been into Crafts, when I was little I was drawing with my Aunt instead of playing cards with the rest of the family.
I was a very quiet and shy kid. At one point, when I was a teenager I needed a way to release my inner demons. So Art started to be the way for me to express myself; my diary. I like to think I am a self taught artist, never had technique classes, was often at the library checking out Art books and Magazines. I do have a Bachelor degree in Media and Visual Arts from University of Quebec in Montreal.
Having such a strong talent in art, have you given the gift of a painting to a friend or family member?
My family and friends were always a big support, always attending my exhibitions and they were my first collectors. When my Grandmother passed I felt like I needed to paint something in her memory. I made a print of it and gave one to each member of my family. My Mom's house is a retrospective of my art!
My work needs to be dissected beyond it's surface value, beyond it’s aesthetic. The portraits are quite literally torn between the fantastical heroics and iconography of comic books and the harsher underlying tragedy of oppressed female identity and the exposed superficial illusion therein. I'm exhibiting a male-dominated world in my 'Cages' the subjects denounce the role given to the female counterpart therein, refusing to play the part of seducer or victim. 
Where do you get ideas from? Creativity is the result of accidents, experimentation and evolution. It is easy to repeat something over and over because it was successful. By trying and making mistakes, one can evolve and create something new & powerful. I think, write and sketch a lot. When I find an idea that I love I want to play with it until I have no more fun.
What do you find inspiring about the female faces used in some of your pieces?
The story told through the Gaze.
In ‘’The death of Superman’’ when Superman loses his battle against Doomsday, the image of his red cape tattered and planted in the ground as a fallen flag, has intense beauty and incredible power. This is just one example among many others. We are merely human men and women and we are entitled to the flaws and errors. If you could have a superpower, which would you choose and why? The power to Heal, the ‘’why’’ is obvious. How would you use this power to help you at work, or doing daily tasks? I've been suffering from Chronic Migraine since I was a child, it would be very helpful. I Could be working or playing with my kid instead of having to spend a few days in bed. 
You have had your artwork featured on large surfaces, how long does it take to finish these big pieces and do you enjoy that more or less than a standard canvass?
I'm used to working on large scale canvas and I love it. Over the years, my work became aesthetically and technically a lot more refined and detailed. It takes a lot more time for me to complete a piece than it used to. I don't count the hours when I work but its a lot of long days from dawn to sunset. When I paint a mural, I will simplify my image. We often have to work with deadlines and the weather so it has to be done within a few days.
How often do you work with other artists?
Not often but I have plans to do more collaborations in the future. I have worked with my great friend, Martin Watson, from Norway who I am a big fan of, we did a mural and an exhibition together last year.
Can people get customized art created by you?
Unfortunately not, I don't do commission works, I get asked too much and I have a very busy schedule. Also it's hard to say yes to someone and no to someone else so I decided to just focus on what I want to do.
Who is a female from history that has inspired you?
There are so many women in the art world that as inspired me by their actions, their words and their art. Younger it was the story of Frida Kahlo that shook me and now I look up to Tracey Emin and Marina Abramovic.
Who is a strong female in your life or from pop culture?
Undoubtedly, Yasha Young, my good friend who is curator and Director of the worldwide first Museum of Contemporary Art; the Urban Nation Museum in Berlin. She is deeply involved in the International urban art scene as a curator, innovator, project developer, art career and high profile collection manager. She invited me to be part of so many crazy projects and I love and respect her strength, passion, energy and spirit. She is Fire!

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