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February Feature: Aoe Girard

"My name is Aoe Girard. I am an artist, illustrator and graphic designer. My journey to Canada was a defining moment in my career. I moved to Canada 12 years ago and faced the language barrier which was quite challenging for me. However, I saw it as an opportunity to explore new ways of communicating my message, and that's when I realized the power of art. I found that my artworks could tell my story and connect with others in a way that words alone couldn't. In my opinion, art serves as a powerful medium for self-expression and connecting with my audience.

I love working predominantly on illustrations using different techniques including pencil, coloured pencil, marker, watercolour, oil, acrylic, pastel, ink, and digital. My illustrations focus on the power of nature, specifically children, women, flowers, trees, and animals. Most of my artworks feature women, who represent beauty, gentleness, and strength. I want to convey through my art that women are not only beautiful but also strong and brave.

I have a passion for working in concept art as well. I enjoy when artworks have a background story. I love working on different types of art with the goal of being a person who brings happiness to the world. I believe that all art is beautiful and that the most important aspect is when my art can be part of creating happiness that grows and bridges the gap between art and society."

Q: Tell me about what kind of work you are currently making?

"My current project is "Under the Sea" as part of my campaign "OUR WORLD" which I began in 2022. This campaign was inspired by the environmental issues that touch my feelings. I like to tell people through my artworks about how beautiful our world is and what we can do to make it better, especially with regards to climate and environment. "Under the Sea" is a fine art series using acrylic on canvas. It will be exhibited in March 2023 in Phuket Island, Thailand. The artworks depict women with sea creatures such as coral reefs, turtles, jellyfish, crabs. I am very focused on the detail in this set of artworks, and I try to use small dots, dot by dot, to connect and create a large picture. This technique represents the message that even though we are small, by connecting and working together, we can protect and make our world beautiful."

Q: What is a day like in the studio for you?

"I am a full-time artist working from my little corner in my home in Cambridge, Ontario. I am also a full-time mom. Every day, I wake up and take care of my 8-year-old son just like every other mom does. I make breakfast, prepare lunch boxes, and take my son to school. After that, I start working on my projects. Working from home makes me feel relaxed, especially with music and a hot chocolate by my side."

Q: Who are your most prominent influences on your art practice?

"I am a big fan of Miho Hirano, a Japanese artist who also presents artwork featuring women. She works with oil paint. I always wonder how calm her mind must be when she paints such detailed pictures and takes the time to wait for the oil paint to dry. Her artwork is truly amazing. I feel like the women in her pictures come alive. Her art always inspires me to start working on my own art.

I also admire Olivia Kemp, a UK artist who works with ink on paper. I love her large artworks that are incredibly detailed and full of imagination. I appreciate when artists take the time to put so much detail and love into their pieces. It makes the artwork even more special."

Q: What are your preferred mediums to work with and why?

"I love working with acrylic on canvas. I feel bold and unafraid of making mistakes when I paint with acrylic. I have the ability to edit and improve upon my work with acrylic paint. It also allows me to release my emotions and relieve stress. Acrylic also has a wide range of colour shades, making it perfect for my artwork which is mostly colourful.

I also enjoy using ink on paper. This medium is very different from acrylic as I have to focus and think twice before putting the brush with black ink on my paper. It's difficult to fix mistakes when using ink, but I find it very satisfying, especially when I listen to my favourite music while working. It feels like a form of meditation for me."

Q: What major themes, concepts or methods are rooted in your practice?

"As a graphic designer, I also have a passion for working on concept art. I always think about the theme and start to work. Most of my concepts come from nature. I enjoy designing how I can incorporate women into the theme, what style I should use for the art set and how I can present it. I strive to make my artwork unique and special. I enjoy taking a common theme and turning it into something artistic and unique."

Q: Where can we find more of your work?

"This year, I have a plan to work on my “OUR WORLD” campaign to spread my message to people about the impact of climate change on our lives. The first exhibition for this year is "Under The Sea" which will take place on a beach in Thailand. The money from the sold artwork will be donated to a local foundation that works on collecting garbage along the beaches in Phuket Island, Thailand.

I also have a project “On The Land”, another project under the “OUR WORLD” campaign. The artwork for this project will be exhibited at the end of the summer in Canada. You can reach me on instagram (@aoespencil) or my website at"

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