To say that Pascal Paquette is a complex person would be an understatement. Beneath this artist’s painted sky of nacreous clouds gravity is strong. How does he keep his feet on the ground the way he does, yet manage to extend to the stratosphere at the same time?
One could say Pascal is an original rule re-writer, with evidence reaching back to the name he selected to write under, Chou1. Chou, as in Mon Petit Chou, was chosen with purpose and intention. If the name conjures images of French pastries or fluffy clouds you wouldn’t be far off. What ever it makes you think of, it was meant to be upbeat, fun and playful. It was meant to be the opposite of a thug, a stereotype often associated with this culture.
Next in the line of defiance was his preferred colour usage. Perhaps if Pascal Paquette could re-write Keith Richards’ famous lyrics they may go something like this, ‘I see a blank wall and I want to paint it pink.’ “When I was trying to become a writer, I was being mentored by an old head graff writer. At the time it was about black and white, black and silver.” But, Pascal chose to paint with pink instead.
When asked about his mentorship… “I was really wanting to get into the letter form. I was looking at Causr’s work. I needed to get into that. It was too magical for me.” His mentor showed him how to execute good tags. “His tags are amazing”, Chou1 reflected, “his throw-ups are amazing.” For him the mentorship was about pushing him to try this and that, not doing it for him. “People are so passionate about what they do that the conversation and the people are extremely dynamic. Shit can go from 0 to 200 [in no time].” The mentor helped to steer through the passion.
Chou1’s own fervor for the craft emanated through his words. Especially it came out when he mentioned artists he respects, from old graff heads like Kwest, SKAM, Minus 2 and Konr, to artists afar like MadC and Smash137, to newer writers like Sohoe and Urbanski, and peers like Anser and Spud1 to mention but a few from his list.
Use of colour, tag styles, quality of execution, and ‘mental amazing’ art were also points of unhinged enthusiasm.
Caps were a world onto themselves. His favourites include the beige dot, followed by the orange dot, and to the needle nose. Then there was the cap collection. Did you know that Pascal keeps most all of his used caps, making many into magnets? Find these repurposed caps for purchase at Art Metropole.
He collects paint cans too. Not the empty ones, but old cans. Cans that when used spitter and sputter with just right messy effect or give that that nearly instant aged look after few hits of sunlight.
It seems that his work evokes enthusiasm in those that connect with his visual environment. Whether they love how he redefines the rules or they hate it. There is no sitting on the fence. The common ground is that both sides have a strong opinion and hold no bars in telling him so. Regardless, this man is driven to express his unique, minimalistic, vibrant style.
Where does Pascal enjoy painting the most? He doesn’t reply with any of the many countries he has painted in like England, Italy, Germany, former Yugoslavia, Switzerland and South Africa. Instead he replies with, “Alleys are my favourite. Anywhere, any city, it doesn’t matter. It’s quiet. You can have a big wall.”
We took to a nearby alley at Clinton and Bloor to check-out a recent Chou1 piece, only to find ourselves in a mini educational session. We stopped to examine and deconstruct tags on the way.
Without a doubt he was in his comfort zone. We reached his piece. We examine the beauty of his roller hit C, The interview wrapped up.
What can be said? It felt like we were just getting started.
Visit Pascal Paquette’s website for visuals of his varied work and a list of his shows and residencies. www.pascalpaquette.com