Creativity and business sense don’t always go hand in hand, but local artist Claire Desjardins has managed to do it for years. Known for vibrant contemporary pieces, Claire’s paintings are now being represented on houseware and clothing items, and available to purchase through large companies like Anthropologie.
Art and creativity have always been a major part of Claire’s life. “I grew up in a family of artists, so making things with our hands was the norm. We were expected to be creative.”
Although Claire has always had a passion for art, it was not her main career at first. After losing her job as a graphic designer in 2011, when the small company she worked for in Montreal was purchased by a large media company, she was forced to make a change and began painting fulltime.
“I’ve worked hard, but I have also found myself in the right place at the right time, in recent years,” Claire explained. This includes her collaboration with Anthropologie. The week before she was laid off, she received an email from Anthropologie after they discovered her work on the blog MOCO LOCO. They were looking for local artists for their new Montreal location.
Originally thinking it was spam, she then decided to take a chance and respond. After a few initial visits to her Montreal apartment from the team at Anthropologie, it turned into years of successful collaboration. Recently, Anthropologie sent her and three other artists to Art Basel in Miami where she spent days painting their merchandise by hand at a pop-up shop.
Claire now lives in Gore, Quebec with her husband and two dogs, surrounded by nature which is a constant source of inspiration for her. “I’m really inspired by my day-to-day and what I see around me,” Claire said. In the spring she often paints a lot of florals as her property is filled with wildflowers that begin to burst into bloom after winter.
Claire is now known for her bold use of colour and it has become a staple in her work. “I think we are all emotionally connected to colour, and my own rapport is one of joy and love. I enjoy putting colours together that emote such feelings to the viewer, including myself.”
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic forced Claire to shift her business. Travel for tradeshows, exhibitions, workshops and art fairs had been constant. She was in London this past February to launch her apparel line in the UK, but in March all of her travel stopped and she was forced to slow down.
“My art and my art business have both changed substantially since the onset of the pandemic,” Claire said. “I was planning to take a break because I was feeling a little burnt out.”
Time at home has allowed her to slow down her pace and focus on her art. “I still get into my studio most days, but there’s no pressure to produce,” Claire said. “I don’t really mind being a bit less productive, as it’s kind of nice to sit back and relax a bit after such crazy, busy years.”
Claire’s art has been transferred onto numerous items, including candles and lamps, apparel, and even phone cases. That means art lovers can not only buy her paintings, but also bring a piece of her more affordable work into their home or wear her art!
Find Claire’s artwork at clairedesjardins.com