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Chicken Lady
Interview with Violette : Page 2 of 2

Interview with Folk Artist Violette

continued from page 1

Q: The year is 2025. First-year art students are studying textbook perspectives on art history. The chapter on folk art spotlights the colorful, whimsical artist known as "Violette." Encapsulating your place in folk art history, what do you want the students to read?

A: Boy Chris... you sure come up with some profound questions. You know this question reminds me of the meditation my coach had me do a couple of years ago... the me... 20 years down the road:

Still Living out LOUD at 71!!

Artist, Violette, age 71 has retained her youthful exuberance even at this age!! Regardless of what she was told more than 20 years ago by mentors to "drop the glitter otherwise you'll never be famous or sell your work" she ignored the advice to follow her bliss. As Violette often says "Just do what your heart moves you to do... that's your job, that's what you came here for!" She still has a love affair with glitter and all things colourful.

Living on the Gulf Islands in a very funky colourful cottage Violette writes and illustrates on average one book every two years, gives talks on The Creative Spirit and appears on various T.V. shows demonstrating that you can march to the beat of your own drum, make a living and be blissfully happy. She has produced a line of DVD's which encourages and inspires people through creative projects. Her message is that being creative is a path to wholeness, a path to loving yourself more deeply. When you love yourself the love will spill over onto all who cross your path!

One of her best memories is of traveling throughout Africa keeping a visual journal of her adventures and donating all of the proceeds of the published journal to the organization "Aids Africa".

You'll still find her tooling about the island in her gaily painted and glittered VW van.

Q: You say that you're "process oriented" in your art. What does that mean?

A: To me process oriented means that what is most important is the journey of creation, not so much the end product. Unfortunately, our society values product so much that process is not held in as high regard as I'd like it to be.

Many years ago I received my lay counseling certificate, and I also went back to school in my mid-thirties to become a psychologist. I ended up quitting halfway through. The value, however, of psychology in the creation of art has remained with me all these years. The only way I learn and can teach what I learn is through direct experience. I can tell you unequivocally that Art Saved my Life! That is why I'm so passionate about teaching what I know as well as inspiring people to use art as a tool for transformation. When you get lost in the process of creation and intuitively give a voice to your feelings or experience, there is no greater joy or release than that. You certainly don't have to share your art with anyone, it's for you to decide if you do. The journey is alchemical!

Violette's coloring book for the kid in all of us.Q: What inspired you to create a coloring book for adults? And what "magic" are you hoping it brings to people's lives?

A: I was inspired to create a colouring book because my friend and artist Tracy Dove from Arizona had sent me hers and I fell in love with the idea of a colouring book for adults. I could see the value in giving people permission to play, cut loose and have fun! Colouring is very relaxing. On the back of the colouring book I have the rules which are:

Rule #1. There are no rules.

Rule #2. Colour inside the lines, colour outside the lines, colour over the entire image.

Rule #3. Use the backs of the colouring pages to create your own drawings, then colour!

Rule #4. Embellish your pages with stickers, glitter, jewels and magazine pictures.

Rule #5. Use the images to inspire you to live life more exuberantly!

Rule #6. Give yourself Permission to have fun and cut loose.

Rule #7. Encourage your friends and co-workers to have a colouring contest. Everyone wins a prize... think fun prizes from the dollar store!

This is my quote on the back of the colouring book:

"I encourage you to embrace your eccentricity and be authentic! The easiest way to find yourself is through your creativity!"

Q: McDonald's has Happy Meals, and you have "Happy Packages." Do tell what these are and where we can get them.

A: Happy packages are simply a package of my inspirational art in the form of greeting cards, fridge magnets and bookmarks all in a cellophane bag. Many of the offerings in the package will be glittered of course! My intent is to share my positivity with as many people as I can. Some of the sayings in the package are "Magic Follows you Wherever you Go", "Bee Yourself" and "Inspire."

Q: And you teach classes too, don't you? Where can locals explore their art and creativity with you?

A: Yes, I teach classes. Locals should check out the workshop section on my website for the latest classes and drop-in workshops. I teach all over the place, the Surrey Art Centre, Opus Art Supplies, various women's centres and non-profits as well as in the schools. I'll be facilitating a Designing Diva's workshop for teenagers in the fall at the Art Centre.

Right now I'm creating a brochure to target all of the women's centres in the area so I can facilitate workshops on Visual Journaling and Mask making. One thing I'm open to doing is have a group of people approach me to host a workshop in my home. This Friday I'm having a drop-in class where I'll be teaching visual journaling techniques as well as "Shrine Making" (from an Altoid tin). The drop-in classes will happen randomly when I have free time.

Q: And one final question I'm dying to ask about your colorful "magic cottage." Do you ever paint over walls or rework rooms when the mood strikes?

A: Sometimes I do paint over the walls but generally I'm happy with what I've done and it stays that way for a while. The latest update was to the dining room which I converted into a "Sanctuary"... a place to meditate. The walls were painted Eggplant and I randomly swirled on beige and copper paint in certain areas. On the valance over the large window is written in gold paint "To Thine Ownself be True".

When I do plan on painting a wall I go to my favourite paint store, directly walk to the colour chip area and scoop my favourite colour whether it be chartreuse, fuchsia, orange, purple etc. This takes all of one minute. I marvel at people who go in and spend hours agonizing over which shade of beige to choose. It's just paint! You can always paint over it if you don't like it. The point is to choose a colour that makes you happy! IF you follow your heart you won't be disappointed. •

VioletteViolette is a whimsical creative spirit living in BC, Canada. She can be found driving her Glittergirl van around White Rock and living in the Magic Cottage. More »

Updated 12/23/13