Interview with Mural Artist, Cyrielle Tremblay aka CY

How did you get started doing what you do?
I have been drawing ever since I knew how to hold a pen. If I didn’t have a pen, I’d just use whatever was available. For example, I remember making drawings with the leftover food on my plate when I was bored at dinners with big people. Arts have pretty much always been on my mind, as far as I can remember. As for murals, I started painting walls when I first arrived in Mexico 5 years ago and discovered that many artists, not just graffiti artists, would also paint in the street. It’s now one of my favorites because it allows a lot of liberty in the gesture, and makes the scale play even more intense. I also appreciate the fact that each wall has its own social context and technical difficulties. My favorite part of painting in the street is actually meeting and chatting with the people that live nearby. There’s a true and unique dynamic that emerges from the simple act of painting in public space and I find it’s the best way to discover new places.

What’s your inspiration?
My inspiration lies in everyday life. I’m always fascinated by the human mysteries and interactions. I’m interested in the conversation between rational and imaginary, between what is seen and what is felt, between the known and the unknown. I’m sensible to what I see and what I hear in the streets. I like to find poetry in the ordinary, and translate it into an imaginary world. I also like art to be humorous and sarcastic, so I pay attention to those details even though I find I don’t quite manage those qualities in my work yet. Working on it.

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What does your typical day look like?
Wake up at 7:20, make coffee and toast and watch some pirated art documentary I bought in a shady market in Mexico City with my boyfriend. I usually paint (small formats) in the morning and do some commissioned illustrations and graphic design work in the afternoon and at night. I also try to slip in yoga or a run. This is the official version, but reality is that my days are a little more chaotic and filled with boring chores, visiting friends and eating out. I’m not the hermit kind of girl, I like to be in the street.

The painting mural days are basically: wake up early, get to the wall, paint. Day 1: “this is a big wall, let’s see how I can do this. Plan well, girl, everything is going to be fine.” Day 2 (a.m.): “70% to go. Ok, maybe if I work fast and I don’t stop painting every time somebody stops by to talk I could finish by tomorrow.” Day 2 (p.m.): “60% to go. How did I manage to NOT advance in such a fashion? I’m never gonna finish. This wall is waaaay too big. Why did you want to paint walls in the first place? (Hands and face dirty, sweaty from the heat and hungry.) You could be quietly drawing at home with a cup of tea right now, you know?” Day 3: “Ok, yesterday afternoon was the traditional meltdown, now stop complaining and get your ass to work, this is awesome, some people are actually working boring jobs in offices right now and you’re painting outside.” Anyway, the rest is usually fun, full of smiles and generous people offering food and drinks.

Interview with Mural Artist, Cyrielle Tremblay aka CY on Jung Katz Art BlogInterview with Mural Artist, Cyrielle Tremblay aka CY on Jung Katz Art Blog

How long does it typically take for you to finish a piece?
Depending on the size of a wall and the temperature outside (hard to paint in the rain!) I can spend 1 to 5 days painting a mural. Most of the time I take the first day or afternoon to walk around, get inspired, talk with the people and sketch. Painting murals is a little particular in the sense that it is your own work only during the process. Once I finish a piece, it ceases to be mine and becomes “property” of the space it’s in. It is of the street, of the people. It lives with the pace of time and changes, sometimes gets painted over, tagged or washed away by the sun or by the snow. It doesn’t make me angry because it’s part of the deal. I rather like the ephemeral aspect of it, I find it poetic and tragical- but the tragicomedy kind.

How do you keep motivated?
I like to have more than one artistic project at the time so that when I feel blocked, I can just jump to another one without stressing out. I also find motivation in art books and documentaries but most definitely in the creative people that surround me.

How would you say your surroundings have influenced your work?
My surroundings influence my work all of the time, especially when I paint in a public space. Each piece has a lot to do with the place it’s in.

Interview with Mural Artist, Cyrielle Tremblay aka CY on Jung Katz Art BlogInterview with Mural Artist, Cyrielle Tremblay aka CY on Jung Katz Art Blog

What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
Don’t listen to others, do what you love and work hard.

Any words of wisdom to aspiring artists who want to pursue a similar career?
Do it only if you love it.

Have any future aspirations that you’d like to share?
Illustrate a book. I’ve illustrated short stories but never an actual book. Otherwise, I’m all about experimenting and moving forward so I love trying different techniques. I think it’s a good exercise to put yourself in the beginner’s seat once in a while. I’m a little obsessed over embroidery right now, but still struggling to make anything that looks like something. I’ve also been trying some freestyle ceramics with my illustrator-buddy/awesome-human-being, Esthera Preda, during Christmas holidays, then again, we’re big on the self-teaching thing. We could use some classes, anyone? We’re nice and cook pretty good veggie stuff, hahaha.

Interview with Mural Artist, Cyrielle Tremblay aka CY

What’s your dream project?
In mural, I’d love to paint a building with a story or a special meaning. An old European house lost in an empty field, a church or a prison. It’s always interesting to sense and use symbolic elements that emerge from these places.

How could the art industry become better in your opinion?
Art industry sounds like an oxymoron to me. Industry implies a market and goods for sale, and I feel that making art in order to sell takes the essence out of the gesture. That’s what I like about painting in the street: it’s meant for everybody and at the same time it’s nobody’s possession.

Obviously, it’s cool when somebody offers to buy your work, but this should never be the reason why you do it in the first place. So I guess the art industry will become better the day the buyers purchase pieces that move them, rather than to make a good investment.

Follow Cyrielle Tremblay aka CY on Instagram and Facebook.



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