“Canadiana” exposition at the Art Gallery
March 2019 stands as a historic month for the StFX Bloomfield Gallery as it saw its first two student artists host the gallery. From March 4th-14th the gallery featured “Canadiana” by Nic Latulippe, a third year Politics, Ethics and Law student. Immediately following Latulippe’s exhibit, a second student artist showcased her art in “Human” by Natalie Doumkos. I had the opportunity to sit down to interview each of these talented artists to ask them about their journey’s leading up to their gallery features. This is the first of a two part piece delving deeper into the minds of the two trailblazing artists who have opened the doors for other students to host their own gallery in the future.
Latulippe started experimenting with photography around the age of 11-12 years old when his father bought him a disposable camera when on vacation in Hawaii. At first photography was mostly a hobby Latulippe had when on vacation, but slowly he began to take more photos and appreciate the art of photography. Prior to his family going on vacation in India, Latulippe had saved up the money to purchase his first digital camera which allowed him to shoot more consistently.
Creating is an essential part of Latulippe’s life and he is an advocate for others to pursue art as well. As far as photography goes, Latulippe writes that “each image tells a story and in combination creates associations” in his accompanying written component to his gallery. Latulippe also experiments with many other forms of art to inspire his creativity and work with photography, he encourages anyone to experiment with multiple forms of art and to always think creatively.
Along with photography, Latulippe plays a plethora of musical instruments including acoustic guitar, bass guitar, and both soprano and tenor saxophone. Latulippe also has dabbled in painting and interestingly has helped friends back home modify their cars, which is its own form of art. He also frequently watches movies and listens to countless hours of music to inspire his creativity as well as routinely proving his superb sense of fashion in his day to day outfits. Each form of art Latulippe creates and consumes inspires his creative endeavours in his practice of photography.
Latulippe takes great pride in his work, and it shows when he detailed to me all the work that went in to making “Canadiana” a reality. Of course the process began in the years of travelling and taking the photos featured in the gallery. Then it came to narrowing down which photos represented Latulippe’s quintessential vision of Canada, editing them to his precise specifications, and designing the floor plan for the gallery (of which he made 20 versions). From his Instagram account Latulippe posted videos in which he was personally washing the walls and sweeping the floors prior to the gallery’s opening, showing his true dedication to detail. To get the prints of his photos made, Latulippe reached out to a total of 8 different suppliers and ended up going significantly in debt to get the prints. In fact, on the day of the opening celebration for his gallery, Latulippe met with members of the Students’ Union to pitch for them to cover the costs of the prints. Every detail of the gallery had to be perfect for Latulippe, everything from the height of the prints on the walls, the spaces between them, the paper used to print the accompanying guide, and the 100+ promotional posters placed around campus which were designed for others to take after the exhibit as a piece of memorabilia. On the opening night, Latulippe had created a playlist of songs that inspired him on his journey in creating the art that adorned the walls of the gallery as well as having an in house bar for students to enjoy a drink with friends while enjoying the artwork and atmosphere of the exhibit. Latulippe had two goals with his work done to host the gallery, firstly the opportunity to share his work in a formal setting for all students to enjoy, and secondly to pave the way for other creators to do the same in the future. Setting a precedent for other student artists and creators to showcase their work on campus is arguably Latulippe’s greatest motivator for “Canadiana.” In fact, Latulippe is currently working with the Students’ Union to develop a program so that other students may have a more streamlined process to host their own galleries in the future.
Having worked on his photography talents for many years, the StFX Gallery was not the first time Latulippe has had his work featured publicly outside of his social media accounts and website. At age 16, Latulippe had a selection of three of his shots featured at the Whyte Museum in Banff. The gallery director was so impressed by Latulippe’s work that he had chosen his photo to be the cover shot for the gallery. Being the cover feature for the Whyte Museum stood out as the highlight for Latulippe in his career as a photographer thus far. This moment made him realize that he had the talent to pursue photography further and develop his creative skills. Being the cover feature for the Whyte Museum stood out as the highlight for Latulippe in his career as a photographer thus far. This moment made him realize that he had the talent to pursue photography further and develop his creative skills
As always, an artist creates for himself first, and for Latulippe this is certainly true. His photographs are his main creative outlet to share the stories he sees and tell their narrative. Latulippe is particularly interested in revealing the unseen, for “Canadiana” this included the path less travelled across the country and all the secrets Latulippe could unearth behind the lens. A potential career as a freelance photo journalist in the Middle East is a possibility for Latulippe in the future as he believes there is so much potential to be shown in that region. A dream job for Latulippe would be to document the life of one of his favourite music artists, some notable artists are Brock Hampton or Frank Ocean.
The theme of “Canadiana” represents the landscapes of Canada. As someone who has driven across the country five times, Latulippe aims to present Canada in its purest form with the experiences he has captured in his photos. Latulippe appreciates all forms of photography and videography as he experiments with many different styles of photography including portraits, landscapes, astro, sports, and his personal favourite being film which is raw, untouched, and authentic.
Latulippe believes that there is no “perfect shot,” he works with his environment and adapts to what is around him to find the subjects for his shots. Having the contrast of west coast and east coast, Latulippe has the opportunity to constantly changes with his environment in search for his next picture perfect moment.
“Learn to be comfortable in the uncomfortable” says Latulippe, pushing the boundaries of creativity is often where the best shots are born. He also recommends using other forms of art to inspire your main practice. Latulippe warns aspiring creators, “don’t let social media dictate your arts worth,” likes and shares are not a true measure of an artist’s ability and talent. Lastly, Latulippe urges artists that “it’s important to create opportunities for yourself.”
“Canadiana was season one, get ready for season two,” Latulippe affirmed.