Last week we got to meet with Delphine Saint-Fort. She will be holding her very first art exhibition at The Fritzi Gallery on October 27th 2015. In an interview with our Vladimir Jean-Gilles she shared a lot of details about her art, her hopes and what brings her inspiration.
Vladimir Jean-Gilles: So tell us about yourself. Who is Delphine Saint-Fort and how did you get started on this artistic path?
Delphine Saint-Fort: I’m a new local artist in the Ottawa community and I started in the 12th grade. I created an art piece dedicated to breast cancer awareness and when it was time to show it to the community a lady who had cancer was really touched by this piece. Since then I have just had such a strong conviction that art is what I should be doing and art is what I wanted to do. I took art on a serious level when I graduated and went to Florida. I took up graphic design for two years and then continued in Ottawa at the Ottawa School of Arts. This is where I found my place as an artist and how I want to express my ideas, opinions and thoughts.
VJ: Interesting. And this is going to be your very first exhibition. Congratulations. What made you decide to take this step as an artist and present your work to the public?
DS: A lot of things. Being in this art program so many years, absorbing all the knowledge from my professors and teachers and having such a gigantic support system is what really encouraged me. It made me feel really confident about putting my foot into the art community and I thought this was the most appropriate time to introduce myself to the art world. Especially to the Ottawa art community. I want to present myself to them as a new local upcoming artist and I’m really excited about the upcoming challenges I’m going to experience.
VJ: You mention your professors and teachers. I’m guessing that a few people have influenced you on your path of finding who you are and how you express yourself. In what other ways have you been influenced in the past as an artist? Either by people or life influences?
DS: I was mainly influenced by teachers who have told me that art has no limits. There is no line that you can’t cross. You don’t have to worry about doing too much and knowing that got me excited. I can express the way I feel about social issues, political issues and even the local issues in our own community. Knowing that I have the ability to do that through art, which is what my professors told me, is what has helped me the most. Without them giving me this information, I would be doing very minimal types of art.
VJ: You just said something I found very interesting: “Art has no limit”. Is that something you are totally convinced of?
DS: I absolutely, a hundred percent agree. Art has no limit. I don’t think artists should worry about how they express themselves and what they express themselves about. I believe that art is one of those places or one of those mental worlds where you just can’t hold it in. As artists we are very imaginative and because of that, I don’t think we should limit ourselves.
VJ: For a lot of artists, one of the scariest thing is to present their art in public. It involves some type of vulnerability that some of them are not comfortable showing. We’re curious to know how exactly you managed to get over that fear.
DS: I definitely have not gotten over that fear yet (Laughs). I think that to get over the fear, you need a lot of experience and maturity. Because I’m a new upcoming artist, I think I have a lot more confidence to build up in my heart. Certain questions are always going to be in the back of my mind. With experience, that fear is going to slowly diminish but as an artist I believe that there is always going to be that little bug in your ear that’s going to make that hump grow (laughs).
VJ: What can people expect from what you’ll be showing at the exhibition?
DS: Well, this is a completely new collection that I’ve been working on for a couple of months. I am using a completely new medium. I’m using mainly photography and a little bit of mixed medium. This is very new to me.
VJ: Where did you get the inspiration for the work you’ll be presenting?
DS: I got my inspiration from my walk to work every morning. I have seen the same homeless people in the same spots for about three years now. Sometimes I’d even feel guilty just walking past them. It made me ask myself, “What are they looking for?” Especially when some of them don’t carry signs. Maybe they’re looking for more than money. Maybe they want people to look at them as “somebody” or “someone”. Most of the people in the streets are not just people who lost everything to drugs. Some are veterans, mothers, and fathers. I’ve even seen plenty of teenagers. It just got me really inspired to do something about it and the best way for me to express this issue is through art. Which is also the way I’m more comfortable expressing myself. So I decided to tackle this topic.
VJ: That brings us to our next question. There is a charitable component to your show and all the proceeds will be given to the Ottawa Mission. Why is this the best time to give back to this group of people you’ve grown so attached to?
DS: Because I got my experience with these people and for a very long time, I have been wanting to tackle this subject. It’s been about three years now. At the time I didn’t know exactly how to do it without offending people because of my lack of experience. Now I can appropriately express how I feel about homelessness by seeing these people and just taking their picture.
VJ: Regarding arts, you’ve done it all. Just out of curiosity, between drawing, painting and using graphite, which one is your favorite form of visual art?
DS: When I first started at the Ottawa School of Art in 2013, I was really focused on drawing and graphite. My professors introduced me to different types of mediums, one of them being paint. I absolutely hated paint before. I didn’t even want to look at it, yet again have anything to do with it. But I was being forced to take several painting courses. That being said, my new favorite medium is oil paint (laughs). I’m hoping that throughout my career I’ll be able to use other mediums and do a lot more experimenting.
VJ: What advice would you give to a brand new artist?
DS: Don’t listen to what anyone says. Do what you want. Again, remember that there’s no limits and no lines so don’t worry about crossing them. This is art! Some people express themselves through their diaries or politics and we express ourselves through art. Don’t shy away from any types of topics you’d want to approach or ways you’d want to express yourself.
VJ: The exhibition is on October 27th. Where is it and is it open to everybody?
DS: Yes, it’s open to everybody. It’s also a free event. It will be held at the Fritzi Gallery on Wellington Street. More information is available on the Fritzi Gallery website. (http://www.gctc.ca/your-visit/lorraine-fritzi-gallery)
It goes without saying that Delphine St. Fort is an extremely talented artist. Make sure to follow her career because she’s going places. All you have to do is like her Facebook page Artist Delphine SaintFort and make sure to come show your love and support on October 27th at 6pm.