Inside The Iridescent and Beautiful World of Artist Alycia Rainaud
"I never came from a place where I intended to make art"
Take one look at Alycia Rinaud’s artwork and there are many questions that might come to mind: what medium is she using? Is this holographic? Did I eat acid? Once you’ve ruled out the latter, you’ll quickly realize the iridescent qualities of her art come from the vivid colors generated by the many layers of the work. It’s unique. It’s engaging. It’s pure talent. We talked with the extremely humbled Canadian artist about the future of creation, overcoming anxiety and ending fellow Canadian, Drake.
I’m a 25-year old female based in Montréal, Canada.
What’s your preferred medium to work with?
Most definitely acrylic paint and Photoshop!
If you had to listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Oh already bringing on the serious questions, uh? I’m the worst at choosing anything in life but I guess I’d go with some classics such as "Disorder" from Joy Division. That thing never gets old.
What shows are you binging right now?
I just finished binging the latest and sadly last season of Dark on Netflix. This show is so fucking brilliant and gathers all of the themes I’m interested in. It’s meta, emotional, german, cosmic, complex, psychologic and most definitely dark. Go watch Dark now. (Unsponsored ad, I promise).
Favorite lockdown activity?
Gaming until my eyes bleed and re-watching Top Gear/The Grand Tour. All the way. Oh and eating way too much ice cream.
Your instagram is a colorful world of awesomeness! What’s your process like and how do you pick your color palettes?
Thank you so much! At this point I honestly have such a messy process because it involves a lot of technique layering; but I usually start by painting large acrylic pieces as base material, then digitalize it through a scanner/camera and play around with movements, details and colors in post-production via Photoshop, cinema 4D or Processing. Fun fact is, most of the base paintings aren’t that colorful, they’re often a mix of black, white and another extra hue. I just feel way more inspired when I play with colors digitally. Somehow I managed to gather such a large amount of "signature" color palettes. Most of them are vivid and rainbow-like as I enjoy the fact of mimicking holographic and iridescent materials through my work. But I also enjoy monochromatic schemes as well. To be honest, it just really depends on the feeling I’m trying to convey through a particular piece.
Shag/Marry/Kill Canadian style: Drake. Keanu Reeves. Ryan Reynolds.
Oh boy haha. Ok ok, let’s do this. Let’s say, shag Ryan Reynolds, because, meh whatever. Marry Keanu Reeves, because he’s the dark guy you know. Kill Drake, because, oops?
Zombie apocalypse happens; what’s the first thing you’d grab?
A whole gallon of ice cream because who cares about calories when you’re about to die?
How has art changed your life?
Well it just basically, completely, irremediably changed it. And by that I mean, for the best of course. Growing up as a depressed and anxious girl, I also lacked passion so much. When I made my big career jump from hairdressing to graphic design and digital art, it just felt like some sort of revelation. Somehow, it changed my perception of both the outer world and my own inner world. Art has this ability to open-up minds as well as shaping individuals the way they are today. Art saved my life and keeps saving me every single day. That’s as dramatic as it sounds and I’m just so grateful for that.
Best advice you’ve ever received?
Whenever I'd talk with my dad about my anxiety issues, he’d always say: "Being self-aware means you’ve already got half of the work done." Generally speaking, dealing with anxiety can make you so aware of yourself and your issues that you can easily forget about the fact that self-awareness is actually a good thing. It helps you understand your behaviors, emotions and beliefs. Self-awareness is double-edged, it can be such a powerful tool when used wisely but at the same time can lead you to extremely painful experiences. And I guess that’s what he’s trying to explain. When you’re self-aware, you already have half of the tools to achieve plans for the person you want to become. Now get shit done and work hard for it.
What advice would you give to aspiring artists?
Please, rest yourself. You’ll see that resting requires even more strength than working. I know it for a fact. As artists, we’re always looking for new things to do, new things to learn, new trends to look for, new ways of seeking recognition. We have this feeling and tendency to think that we have to do it all. But the fact is, we don’t. We’re overwhelmed, over-consumed by algorithms and society’s requirements. We need to acknowledge and claim our need to rest. Because inspiration and drive are fulfilled by rest and self-care. It’s ok not to be ok, it’s all part of the process. Please, rest yourself and share it with other fellow creatives.
For my lifetime, I’d say horseriding. But at the moment, I’m quite enjoying analog photography again, as well as cycling/hiking. Outdoor activities for the win I guess.
What does the future of creation look like?
Man, I don’t have any idea. It gives me so much anxiety just to think about something so uncertain. Like, I know that techniques, inspirations and trends will evolve and repeat as they should. But I just truly hope that the future of creative content will lead to a more conscious way of consuming art in general and also keep raising important questions.
Your work is extremely unique — how did you get started and where did you derive inspiration from?
Again, thank you so much for the nice words. I always get super emotional hearing things like that because I never came from a place where I intended to make art as a living. At first, I started creating abstract images for graphic design projects in school. I’ve always been attracted by abstract art since I was a kid. I also remember being mesmerized by stone textures, clouds, macro photography and more. So I guess that I naturally tried to mimic these through my work when I started gaining creativity freedom. Then I just happened to play around a lot with materials, techniques, softwares and layer all of these experiences together to generate intriguing and emotionally charged images. Then, somehow, I started to extract these from their graphic design context and use them as artworks. I guess it just took me a long time to process the fact that these could actually be considered as art pieces and that eventually, I was making digital art and that I would become a digital artist.
Would you rather go without music or art?
Not choosing this time haha sorry! Both are essential to my work and I know that a lot of us feel the same way. Music and art are intertwined. Music is art and art is music. I guess I’m too attracted by the idea of synesthesia, but music inspires my work so much. Most of my artworks are titled/inspired after songs and when I look back at them, they’ll remind me of this particular melody. It’s a never-ending loop, for the best.
There's a pair of videos you posted at the end of July. We were mesmerized for quite some time… Can you explain what exactly is going on in them?
Sure thing! Physical interactivity within art and graphic design has always been a key concept I was interested in during school years and even after. So naturally, I’ve always been keen to experiment and see where I can lead my work to. For this particular case, I released two different things at the end of July: One is a color-shifting print that uses a lenticular process and allows the print to change color when it’s manipulated from side to side. The second one was a collaboration with Michael Kozlowski where we trained an AI (also called GAN) over my entire Instagram feed in order to generate and interpret my visual style within a virtual gallery. Releasing these two projects has been such an exciting journey of learning new techniques and shaping new representations of my work.
As you may have heard, there’s a global Pandemic going on right now so things are quite uncertain to plan. However, I always have a million ideas in mind when it comes to putting out new intriguing concepts (and so little time to do it). But most definitely, I’m gonna release a lot of new limited edition products in the future and I always make sure to share about it on my socials. Feel free to join my creative journey via the links. Can’t wait to see you soon on the internet or elsewhere.
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