The mystic world of Alexandra Levasseur

© Alexandra Levasseur

ABOUT alexandra levasseur

Born 1982, Shawinigan, Qc, Canada, Alexandra moved to Costa Rica in 2000. She received a BFA in Fine Arts / Graphic Design in 2006 from the University of Costa Rica. She continued her studies with a postgraduate in Illustration at EINA, Barcelona in 2008.  She worked as an illustrator and art director for advertising agencies until returning to Canada in 2010. There she started working as a freelance illustrator and on personal projects. In 2012, she entered the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema of Concordia University in Montreal, to study Film Animation and was granted with an scholarship for academic excellence. She is represented by C.O.A. Gallery, in Montreal.

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Hi Alexandra. Nature is present in all your work, is this a starting point for your work?

It is, yes! I grew up by a lake, in the woods. Art for me is a way to study Nature. Biology, physics and astrophysics are an infinite source of inspiration. I find a lot of poetry in the contradictions of Nature; it is so complex and yet so simple at the same time. I find pleasure in the reinterpretation of certain theories. It’s a rich starting point to intend explain or understand the mystery of being. 

The female character is the central subject in most of your work; she is strong, vulnerable and beautiful. Could you discuss your use of the female character and what she represents?

The women in my work represent life. She is the enigmatic beauty of mother nature. With this, I want to make the viewer realize the extraordinary chance we have to experience life despite the inevitable pain and misfortune that life brings. I want to communicate the mystery of the universe and the beauty of human kind.

You have said your work is introspective, how do you go about transferring your own moods and feelings to your work?

The passing of time, the memories, the mystery of life and death are my main consternations. I use art as a therapy; to exteriorize the anguish of the unknown via images of women in troubled states. 

“By imagining the unseen or unknown, and transferring it onto paper, artists can trigger ideas in the scientific community for sure. The reality is as crazy as science-fiction!”

L’Origine © Alexandra Levasseur

Your style is very layered, with images within images. There is definitely a sense of the surreal and dreamlike, how did this style develop?

My grandmother introduced me to the French symbolists at a young age. It was my first contact with painting and it has inspired the poetic and dreamy side of my work for sure. Later during my fine arts studies, Pre-Raphaelites art history also influenced me a lot; abundant detail, intense colours and complex compositions, etc. The spiritual and mysterious feeling of their art was very appealing to me. 

There are a lot of references to the universe and its origins, particularly in your most recent work. It is arguably one of the big questions, what drove you tackle such a subject and how do you feel art can contribute to the discussion?

By imagining the unseen or the unknown, and transferring it onto paper, artists can trigger ideas in the scientific community for sure. The reality is as crazy as science-fiction! Or at least, I’d like to make the viewer realize that we are all tiny parts of something really huge.

You are from Canada, and studied in Costa Rica and Barcelona, how did these travels influence your work, if at all?

Obviously, the more places and things you see, and people you meet, the more ideas you get. 

Animations are also part of your practice, how do you transform your work from still to animations and what extra can an animation add?

Animation from the formal point of view, has to be simplified in order to be feasible to animate all by myself. So I have to stylise the illustrations, make them clear. Animation has a bigger power of telling a story, it has a beginning and an end, and the time is a component of the piece. Sound adds extra explanation to the ideas too. 

“In the heart of the matter there grows an obscure vegetation; in the night of matter black flowers blossom.
They already have their velvet and the formula of their scent.” – Gaston Bachelard.

Triptych, Les Baigneuses, Casse-Tête I & Casse-Tête II © Alexandra Levasseur