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Sunday, June 21, 2015

Andre Pijet

Impression, la Serenissima, Andre Pijet
I've written from time to time on the virtue of being versatile. I consider it the greatest compliment that can be bestowed upon an artist (and others too). And when an artist can prove such versatility by successfully teaching what he knows, doing so not only adds yet another element of versatility, but crowns that artist as very likely an outgoing, personable, expressive, thoughtful, intelligent individual to be admired on a level above those who can't or won't bend down to help others. Along that same line I flatter myself in considering my own versatility highlighted by the fact that I love to teach others. However, when I come upon an artist who seems far more versatile than myself, who also teaches, then I not only want to bring that individual to the attention of others, I also pause to reflect as to where I might place on a "versatility scale" (my own invention). If there were such a statistical tool, I'm sure that near the top would be the Canadian painter, cartoonist, illustrator, designer, and instructor Andre Pijet.

St. Martin's Day, Andre Pijet
Other than saying he's versatile, it's hard to label Andre Pijet. His Impression, la Serenissima (top) and his various other paintings such as St. Martin's Day (above), both deriving from a visit to Venice around 2008, are outstanding. He's definitely an accomplished painter, expressionism without the adjective "abstract." Having been to Venice myself, I can vouch for the fact that he captures the ambience of the city exceedingly well while also offering tantalizing detailed glimpses while avoiding the touristy trite. San Marco Basilica doesn't even make an appearance. In his own words: "I am looking to express the sublime allegory of Venetian heritage and try to combine the Venetian historic past with its Contemporary realities." I only wish my visit to la Serenissima had resulted in such work. I won't even show you the Venice I painted.

Phaeton Riding Winged Horses, Andre Pijet
Da Vinci's Mona Lisa, Andre Pijet
I suppose, being a painter, I'm most attracted to Pijet's efforts along that line. Slightly earlier than his la Serenissima series, Pijet came out with a series of twenty-five paintings based upon the classical Greek writings of Ovid and his Metamorphosis. As he puts it: "Ovid’s mythological history of the world, in addition to other mythological and historical sources, inspires my artistic quest. Depicting the mythological stories through the imagery surrounding us in the modernity of our Contemporary realities is my principal goal." His Phaeton Riding Winged Horses (above) would seem to indicate he's met his goal. Pijet's Da Vinci's Mona Lisa (right), while not based upon Ovid, fits neatly into the concept of metamorphosis (notice her clutching her cell phone). Except for the smile, we'd hardly recognize today's Mona.

Pijet displays his self-portrait caricature.
Possibly a caricature of a student at one of
the many artist workshops Pijet teaches.
It's difficult in this day and age for a painter to earn a living simply by painting, even with books, and prints for sale on a slick, modern, comprehensive website. Pijet has an excellent one at (though it's somewhat slow). As you can tell, Pijet's first love is cartooning, and specifically caricature. His self-portrait caricature (above) would seem to indicate, he's certainly not into self-flattery. Yet he seems as satisfied with it as the gentleman at left, one of many to be seen from a single event posted on Pijet's website. In addition to leading workshops on painting, drawing, and cartooning, Pijet has a broad selection of "how to" books on art, even one on drawing using electronic input devices. Few artists of his age (he was born in 1954) even own such digital tools, much less having mastered them to the degree needed to teach such skills.

Illustrations to go
All areas of design...
Hockey and boxing..."bockey" or "hoxing."
As mentioned above, Pijet's versatility extends to all areas of illustration (even a series of children's storybooks). His studio turns out work for magazine covers (left), book illustrations, editorial cartoons, and eye catching images for news articles (above, left). Pijet's design talent he has also turned to product design, flat design, logos, and interior design (above, right). Over the years as well, Pijet has two comic strips to his credit, Arbalet (below) and Les Cantons both of which have appeared in the Editions Mile-Îles. Unfortunately I'm not versatile enough to say much as to their content, they're all in French.

Pijet's comic art--Arbalet


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