On the Web features inspiring artists who use social media and various sharing platforms for the purpose of promoting their art on the Internet.
The artist’s approach focusses on the contemporary woman’s quest for identity and freedom: “A reality where the female role is preconceived and where a woman is expected to be simultaneously loving, powerful, passionate and hardworking while respecting the dictates of her social surroundings.”
Subsequent to several preparatory sketches, the artist confidently transfers on canvas her melancholic and enigmatic figures. In her latest series of Super Hero Cages, Chevrier’s women are muzzled with graphic masks lifted from American comic strips. For the artist, this mimicry symbolizes the social imprisonment of their true identity. In her works, Sandra Chevrier opposes the dynamism created through onomatopoeias, bright colours and victory against the greyness of defeat and poignant fragility. She thus evokes the daily struggles these women face, nourished by their false expectations towards beauty and perfection. “If Super-Heroes can fall and rise up again, we should also be able to accept our weaknesses and remain courageous when facing an ordeal, with an understanding that we are all human beings.”
Originally from the Laurentians, Sandra Chevier, who holds a bachelor’s degree in visual arts and media from the Université du Québec à Montréal, presently lives and works in Montréal. Her artworks travel to Japan, New-Zealand, England, Norway, the United States and China.
Tell us about your medium?
S.C.: I work with a variety of mediums such as acrylic, watercolour, pastel, graphite and occasionally collages. I may create very large pieces on canvas or smaller works on paper. I also like working with wood which allows me to play with atypical shapes.
How would you describe your artistic work in a tweet of 140 characters, hashtags included?
S.C.: Portraits wearing masks. Cages symbolizing daily constraints. Waltz between reality and imagination, truth and falseness, remedy and poison.
How important is it for an artist to have a website and be present on social media?
S.C.: Social media have become the best tools benefiting an artist. Art is now accessible in a few clicks to human beings all over the world. It travels by itself effortlessly. This greatly affects galleries as artists no longer necessarily need to work with them or have an agent; they can now promote their own work themselves, and at no cost. I am very active on social media and they are the main reason for my international success.
What would you recommend for artists who still do not have a website and whose budget is limited?
S.C.: There are many ways to freely promote one’s work on the web: Instagram would be my first choice, followed by such sites as Facebook, Ello, artistic forums such as Banksy Forum and Espresso Beans, LinkedIn, Pinterest…
How much time, on a professional basis, are you investing in social media?
S.C.: I try to publish one or a few photos on Instagram every day. People who follow me enjoy seeing my “work in progress” posts, my sketches, my life in studio and some other moments of my life… They thus become aware of the process behind the finished work. They accompany me on my travels around the world and during my exhibitions. They learn to know me as a person, as a mother, as a business woman and artist.
How have social media impacted your career?
S.C.: I now have patrons I would never otherwise have been in contact with: celebrities, rich investors. As an example, I have become friends with singer Alicia Keys and rapper Swizz Beatz who has founded “The Dean Collection”, a prestigious collection that now includes several artworks from emerging as well as renowned artists.
Your Facebook page has 19 000 followers. Are you using this platform to promote your artwork?
S.C.: I must admit that since I’ve discovered Instagram, I rather recommend this platform instead of Facebook. For a visual artist working with images, Instagram seems to be more efficient and helps me reach a broader audience. I now count more than 40,000 subscribers on this platform. However, to better control and more efficiently manage all of my media, I do link my Instagram account to both my Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Do you have a virtual shopping outlet? If so, what percentage of your total revenues do these online transactions represent? Do you sense some reluctance on the part of artists towards selling their works online?
S.C.: I have sold my own pieces for many years until my career took an international turn. I exhibit my work to the four corners of the globe, thus my customers are everywhere. My business partner and artist agent Jean-Pascal Fournier has opened the C.O.A. Gallery as well as an online shopping gallery in order to have a physical location in Montréal and, by the same token, increase our credibi- lity. I can now have a print edition of 350 giclees or serigraphs that will be sold-out in less than 15 seconds on the website. I also sell original works online. The website and the gallery have also allowed us to add to our list of contacts and customers who receive our newsletter. They are immediately informed when works become available. After some trials and errors, we now work with trustwor- thy transport companies who ship our works all over the world. Clearly some glitches may arise, but people have faith in us and are aware of the risks. We offer good after-sale service in case of problem.
What are your plans for the next 6 months or so? Exhibitions? Artist residency? Training?
S.C.: I’ve just come back from exhibiting my works in Hong Kong and New York. I am now launching production of my next solo exhibition which will be held in Los Angeles this autumn. I will also be exhibiting in Norway, Australia and Miami during the course of the year.
Text by Isabelle Gagné
The following links will allow you to follow Sandra Chevrier on the Web and stay connected with the artist:
Official website: sandrachevrier.com
Sandra Chevrier is also represented by C.O.A. Gallery in Montréal: coagallery.com
We also invite you to stay connected with Magazin’Art on our various media:
Official Website: magazinart.com