Chrissy Poitras

Ontario based visual artist

The moment I stepped into the studio at Queen’s University to begin my BFA, I envisioned myself exclusively as one thing: a traditional painter. My days were to be dependable cycles: paint, exhibit, repeat.

I was happily mistaken. The past 10 years have shown that what makes me the artist I am isn’t an undying commitment to one medium and one message. It’s the inspiration I get from my passion to create and contribute art that draws on a range of processes to directly connect with the community around me.

As a painter, my work explores the accidental marks we leave behind in the everyday.  Worn coffee tables, smudged subway walls, paint splattered studio floors. These marks create a mess of shapes and compositional elements that form a hidden backdrop to our daily lives, and I bring this into my prints, paintings and murals.

My dedication to community outreach led to my co-founding Spark Box Studio, an artist residency and printmaking studio, in 2009. Through Spark Box and in partnership with other community driven art organizations (Crazy Dames, Department of Illumination), I have been able to create and explore how public art can engage community members in contemplating the impact art plays in shaping and influencing public space. For example, a blanket fort building workshop encouraged conversation about our relationships with the buildings that surround us.

As an active member of two artist collectives, I am able to further my public engagement as an artist through immersive installations. Alongside Jennie Suddick and Kyle Topping I create multi-sensory experiences filled with playful uses of colour and texture. Cloy, with printmaker Genna Kusch, explores visual narratives through pop-up woodcuts.

I still consider myself a painter, but I have learned that limiting myself to ‘just a painter’ limits myself as an artist.