Mireille St-Pierre, illustrator and co-founder of Beatrice Media is also a citizen of DC. DCMTL blog recently had the privilege to learn a little bit more about who she is and what she does.
Heads up: She’s pretty cool
What is it like to be an illustrator in Quebec?
It’s really difficult being based in Quebec (laughs). Personally, I’ve been lucky because I’m a member of the Board of directors of Illustration Quebec, which is an association whose mission is to gather and support illustrators, and to promote and disseminate artwork in Québec.
Everyone has their own journey. I originally worked for a publicity agency as artistic director which is what I was doing when I fell into this line of work, when I switched over, my contact base and my colleagues became my client base. It was done gradually, simply through spreading the word that I was now an illustrator. Since then, everything has worked out really well. I am very much pampered.
What did your entourage think about you moving from being a creative director, to an illustrator?
The idea of abandoning a very good salary, and stability left a few of them dumbfounded. However, most of them were not that surprised by the decision. I was always drawing. At UQAM, in my graphic design class, I always integrated illustration into my projects. At my final exposition, there were more illustrations than actual graphic design. Basically, it’s a passion that has always followed me and eventually it caught up to me. Sure, it can be more stressful and difficult because I can only rely on myself, but I enjoy the autonomy which I find very rewarding.
Who are your clients?
There is a real variety. Principally, it is publicity agencies. More and more I am working in publishing, doing book covers. I also work on packaging and signage for stores, etc.
Has digital art taken over from hand drawn art?
Yeah, we are seeing that transition. It’s understandable, modifying your work is much easier with all the new software that has become available. Before, if you had to change something on a watercolor you ended up wanting to pull your hair out! (laughs). I’m a little nostalgic for the old school: sketchbooks, charcoal and paint., but I also love working with technology now. At my place I have the monster…the cadillac! (laughs). It’s called Wacom Cintiq 27HD. I’m sure I’ll make people jealous with that (laughs).
So, you’re a 3.0 kind of artist?
Yes! Not only does work change and adapt with technology, but as an artist you also have to work autonomously. You are managing your own own business and learning how to negotiate. Licenses, corrections, copyright, moral rights, you have to know how all these things work. The association helps the artists a lot with these elements.
What is the guiding theme throughout the Beatrice blog?
We are known for our podcast series which has a certain feminist flavor.
We spark conversation, we open up the conversation on the subject of women, between women, and men as well. Without any male bashing, prejudging or hatefulness. We use a lot of humor and it’s all done with an authentic curiosity. We particularly like discovering women who have super interesting and passionate stories to tell.
What do you think about the polemic that surrounds the word ‘feminist’ in the media?
I don’t see it as a polemic. I think it’s really good that people can now speak about the issue without it having any immediate negative connotations. Along with my blog partner, Adrianna Palanca, we convey the type of feminism that I would define as being positive. Ours is a conversation based on the victories, and the power, of women going beyond the type of everyday struggle they still face. Yes, there are still things that get on our nerves, but with Beatrice we focus on the victories.
Why live in the Central District?
I particularly like the industrial look of the neighborhood, because really, this is an industrial district. It’s authentic. I really like the fact that my building, La Fabrique, was a former textile factory. You can feel that about it.
District Central is an area with lots of contrasting elements, a bit mysterious. There are several startups hidden in the buildings as well as all the parent companies of textile companies. The neighborhood has its own identity and unique history.
(Some more fun and personal questions)
What inspires you?
I take a lot from music and films. The Montreal scene also feeds my inspiration with all its mixed disciplines. There are people here who make such extraordinary things and who never fail to blow me over. I feel very privileged to have the opportunity to interact regularly with people that I admire. I love the closeness between all the creative people in Montreal. It’s exhilarating.
What would be your dream collaboration?
A few years ago me and Alexandre Soublière had the idea of collaborating together. We we’re only joking, nothing serious. But I haven’t forgotten.
Who is your dream client?
Lucasfilm, as long as we are dreaming. That would send the little girl in me of me completely crazy.
Who would make your dream team or agency?
I’ve never had as much fun as I did making books with Audrey Wells of Supersymmetry.
What is your favorite body of work ?
The serigraphy of Cath Laporte and Sébastien Lépine. The paintings of Philippe Chabot. I dream of buying one.
Who is your favourite Montreal artist?
Sophie Cadieux. I admire the devotion she brings to everything she does, her energy, and her intelligence.
Your favourite Museum?
I am not faithful to one.
Your favourite gallery ?
I’m even less faithful. But lately, I have assisted in a superb exposition at LivArt. They have a magnificent space.
Your favourite Montreal bar?
Bacon ou prosciutto ?
Bacon. Pancetta is the top!
You can look over Mirielle’s portfolio on her website: hellomireille.com