Robert Lemay

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They show us something of human experience which deepens our understanding of our own existence.

Name, Age, Location, Professional Title, Employer

Robert Lemay, 56, Edmonton, Canada. Painter. I sell my work in several galleries. 

What hobbies do you have outside of your professional field that keep you inspired and motivated to generate personal work? How do they inspire you?

I have internet radio, so I listen to a lot of podcasts and news from other countries which makes me feel more connected to the outside world. I also read a fair bit – novels, poetry, art history. This inspires me because it keeps me updated and thinking about all the people, past and present, who contribute to the human story. I’m motivated to keep trying new ideas and to stay fresh. I’ve never tried yoga. 


Do you have a hard time balancing being a creative professional and generating personal work that you're proud of?

Luckily, my professional work is my personal work. Painting itself leads you in new directions, so mostly you just have to follow. That said, an unexpected commission can make you consider something you wouldn’t have tried otherwise. This can sometimes be good. 

What time of day do you feel the most creative? What about the most productive?

I get to work first thing in the morning, usually before 7am. My energy dissipates through the day. I try to be attentive and creative the whole time. new ideas usually flow from this. I keep a notebook handy to jot down ideas as they occur.

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What are your creative goals for the future? 

At my age, you realize you have less time ahead than behind, so this encourages me to concentrate on making the best paintings I can make, really thinking about my themes and what I want to achieve. I try to concentrate only on the current painting because planning too far ahead can be distracting.

Are you working on any personal projects right now? If so, can you share a little bit about your inspiration and your creative process?

 I was looking at a photo of a beautiful home interior and the realist painting on the wall, when I realized the “painting” was a big screen TV with a frozen picture. This gave me the idea to paint film stills as though they were classical paintings. I use a grid to paint my work and this slightly digitized effect adds to the concept. I’m trying to reclaim the wall for painting. 

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What scares you?

My biggest fear is not selling enough to make a living. Although I have painted full time since 1991 so maybe I should worry less. Related to this is the trepidation of showing new work which may or may  not be well received or simply ignored. 

What does success mean to you?

Success to me is having a few people support your work so you can make more of it. Also, a few good relationships with friends. 

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Why do you create?

I think the creative urge comes from the human need to understand the experience of being alive and to make something which others enjoy and find that it enriches their lives. This is why I like the work of many other artists and writers, because they show us something of human experience which deepens our understanding of our own existence. 


If you would like to see more of Robert's incredible work, head to his website