1. An Introduction
I have always had a private journal for as long as I can remember. Seriously, we are talking before I could write. I would fantasize about the words my lines would make on blank pages since my earliest memories. With that sentiment out in the open and presently in a shared situation: a lot is going, I feel compelled to document my adventures in a more constructed manner. Well I’m going to try anyways. Let’s see how it goes.
First things first, Hey! How are ya? Thanks for reading. I should warn you that I am a very dramatic person with dark sense of humor and a heart of gold. If you saw anything on this website you know by now I paint, I also facilitate workshops (It’s what I studied to do and I’ve managed to combine art with community involvement and events through these workshops thanks to awesome organizations across the province of Ontario) Enough about work, my name is Alexandre Aimee, last name Rivet, just like my mama. It’s long and french so most people call me Aimee, pronounced M.A. Now that we got that out of the way lets talk art!
I started painting to deal with life, well actually a death. Which is a story I’m sure will eventually come to fruition in a later entry. And pretty much haven’t stopped since. As a child I was never a talented ‘artist’ in contemporary terms but more of a destroyer, using my moms Renoir books as coloring pages. (I still owe her a new copy of that book, and explain this in my Human Art post #sorryfortherehash)
On saint Patrick’s day I broke my leg pretty bad and needed surgery 2 weeks before I got the keys to my new art studio in Sturgeon Falls I decided to open for the summer. My plan was to work at the Museum and utilize the studio part time on evenings and weekend, but LIFE! And no foreseeable walking-independently-or-driving-a-car-future I get to utilize the space on a full time basis: literally living my dream! Minus the broken leg. Don’t get me wrong I have too many objectives and plans to not work as much as I can and get that coin once I’m healed, but for the next couple of months I am learning my greatest lesson of all: patience and surrender.
Today I submitted a grant proposal, I do not think I will get it, but with every experience comes knowledge. So I’m excited to see what I can improve for next time. Should know in about 3 months. Until then, I have so many adventures on my horizon I am currently getting ready for one step at a time. The only thing that’s really got me down with this broken leg is my new dependence on everyone for basic things I find myself annoying for. With that I want to end my first ‘official entry’ by giving thanks to my mother and Cole for being INCREDIBLE human beings helping me out with the studio and making sure I don’t die of starvation as the fridge is now impossible to properly get to without causing a mess. What can I say.. I’ve always been a clutz.
2. A Shared History
Cultural identity has always been a topic of great interests to me growing up in Vanier in a multi cultural environment while still having a HUGE francophone influence from the Catholic Church, not so much today, but when I was growing up, oh yes.
The strong grip of our ancestry looming over us with the infamous French-guilt I know all too well, still gives me chills. This might sound negative, but it’s just facts. From my perspective anyways. All that to say that My cultural identity has evolved with age. Growing up inspired by others and my feminist mother who raised me in a very liberal and new age environment to then learn with time that for generations my family wasn’t allowed to practice their own traditions. I feel like the song Daylight by Yelawolf, specifically this part:
Part of me’s Cherokee, the other part is a pilgrim
So me and firewater’s like splittin’ me up the middle
One’s tryin’ to love him, the other one’s tryin’ to kill a man
Which is a sentiment most people in my surroundings feel. Tho the difference being my parts are: Algonquin and French.
That’s the large umbrella of a lot of Canadians shared lineage. If you want to go into detail: my paternal grandmother is half Scottish and French Canadian.
(meaning from France tho we don’t know if anyone was FN on that side as when women from First Nations communities decided to marry a settler they were then ostracized from their community and forced to assimilate by not passing down her praises and adopting her husbands, leading to the death of her story and her body used to populate the new country.) shall we continue? Lol.
My paternal grand father ancestors on his paternal side are from a small town in France (this is the side of my family I know the most about, the infamous Giroux clan) and have been in Canada since the 1650’s (found so much out from my time at the Sturgeon River House Museum) I don’t know much about his mother besides that they were also Métis. His Paternal grandmother was Algonquin and a hero in my eyes, she’s the one who taught my great grand father how to trap. Who then showed my grandfather who showed my father, who, attempted to show me! I have hope for my sister, don’t you worry.
My mother’s side is pretty split between France (Rivet), Abnaki and Huron. I am currently educating myself on this side of my big blue eyes. I’ll get back to you.
The most surprising information I found really interesting is how long all sides have actually been in Canada. I have been able to research pretty far and the Scottish side is the “newest” with my great grandmother arriving after the war. I also noticed that my mom is the first generation without over 12 kids, I’m not even kidding my babe of a grandmother has 20 siblings! I also noticed, by talking to others, how much harder life was in northern communities then cities or further south. Food for thought!
3. Still Don’t Know.
Growing up I changed my mind a lot when a grown up would ask me the forever dreaded and unoriginal question:
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Truth is, on paper I’m full grown and still trying to avoid that question. From an outside perspective: I’m on a journey, but in my head things are still very clouded, a sentiment I know is shared. With that let’s explore potentiel career paths I honestly full heartedly considered:
When I started junior kindergarten I really wanted to be a marine biologist, those dreams faded when I realized I could draw whales better then I was near them.
Once I got over my FreeWilly days, I contemplated a life as a stunt woman during my rebellious “ride or die” days as a a pretty badass 10 year old. After I outgrew my dirt bike, I WAS SET on being a Missionary, this is not a joke. Once I found out that route was pretty much always associated with the Catholic Church, it evolved to a humanitarian type of futur I envisioned for adult “me”. Then I realize I needed to help people around me before I could help those far away.
Then, in high school, I wanted to be a mid-wife, but didn’t think I could pass all the math classes I needed ( no joke I failed math every other year and had to go to summer school, no shame, the system doesn’t work for everyone, myself included) that then led me to paint pregnant ladies.. which led to portraits and here we are… okay there are way more details but y’a. Like; my love of pop culture thanks to my over exposure of 1990s media that led me to study what I did in University. Anywho, that’s a story for another entry… After my moments of self doubt while trying to survive as a young adult living blindly to their new reality and realizing healthcare wasn’t for me in the orthodox type of way.. I used art to connect and help people.
So y’a all that to say, no one knows what they want to do so enjoy the ride! You will end up doing what your meant to do stressed out or not, so don’t do like me, enjoy. IT’S ALL TEMPORARY.
That’s one thing I’d tell myself if I had access to a time machine: chill, it’s all temporary hun.
4. A Short Lifetime In The Making
I have no clue where to start this entry besides stating that my heart in so full of emotions! I am so close to being open for art classes, I can smell it!
Side note: we are taking registrations! Sign up online via www.alexandreaimee.com/studio
Everything is slowly coming together slowly but surely, this leg has changed everything.
And I would have never, ever, been able to accomplish this without the help of my family.
Big thank you to me Grand Father Papi who helped me paint the blue!! Cole and my mom for literally helping me with everything!! Everyone who’s visited me thus far!!! And my grandma for her donations and support. (She’s beyond ahmazing) This place is truly coming together and I feel beyond blessed and humbled by every moment and achievement in this process.
This did not happen over night, truly a lifetime in the making but seriously been in the works for over 6months now.
Countless business plans, grant applications and meetings later… I decided to take a gamble on myself and just do it. A-La-Shia-Leboeuf.
It’s a win win situation at the end of the day and I’m happy I had the balls to at least try. Worse, this was a fun summer and we move on to the west and I get to be with my besties again. Life is an adventure and this part of my life is something I’ve been looking forward to for as long as I can remember !
A space to create and collaborate near my family is a reality I created for myself and truly living for the first time. Life is scary, might as well fail at something you love then something that eats away at your soul.
5. Getting my privilege checked one day at a time
I’ve been told multiple times that I am supposed to write. Mostly psychics and the od stranger and I find it funny because it’s always been a passion. Grammar, though, never my strong suit. I’ve been conditioned to except I have trouble writing certain things (this is especially true in French) but you can’t get better if you don’t try.
So, I’m trying. I just got back from the Franco Ontarian games in Hanmer Ontario where I co-coordinated the visual arts category. I’ve been going since 2005 having only missed in 2009 due to my travels. It was a learning experience I always treasure every year.
Coming back, I had my first client at the art studio for one on one classes. It went very well, and I have a couple of other people coming in this week. To be honest I was extremely nervous but after the first one I feel much more confident. I got this; I just really care about what I’m doing so it feels like more is at risk but at the same time everything has been so organic it’s unbelievable.
I can feel my grand mother, lovingly referred to from this point on as Mama-Lou, guiding me through this on some sort of spiritual level. It’s good, I need it. Some people can be nasty and mean. I have been living it first hand these last months. I really try to not let it affect me but I’m only human, plus this leg got me exhausted and seeing people’s true colors. I always knew, but know I know people really do discriminate against people with disabilities or physical disadvantages.
I can’t image, this is just temporary for me, so this, right now, is one thing, but those who this isn’t a temporary situation: breaks my heart from living it firsthand. And it upsets me everyday when I live how inaccessible everything really is and how people both strangers and individuals who I’ve known for a long time treat me; its mind blowing. I can’t image, I am fully aware of my situation knowing I will be back to normal one day and how privileged I truly am, but I will not forget. I would like to volunteer more once I become more mobile and help people who are in my position either on a long-term or short-term situation at the hospital or a rehab. Really makes you see the world in a different light when you step (or roll) in somebodies’ shoes. I feel like an Arthur episode from the late 1990s haha.
This is a very honest entry. But with the negative we do have the positives and boy have there been some positives to come out of this. Learning to surrender, seeing who your true friends are, making new friends, time, new muscles! I must keep remembering the bright side of this and continue to say thank you and appreciate the ones who are supportive.
I love you, if your reading this, I thank you too. Writing and painting has saved my life on so many occasions I hope you can find your vice that wont kill ya and help you navigate through this messed up world, yoga and pottery are great places to start. xo
6. Opening Up Shop
This past weekend was our official Art Studio Opening and it could not have gone any better! So much walking traffic – I was shook. And my awesome family stopped by through the weekend.
Since just the open house we’ve already had two one on one classes and one coming up tomorrow and it’s only Wednesday!
We are incredible blessed and humbled by this experience I never thought in a million years it would go as well as it has. I know I might be getting ahead of myself but with our summer already almost fully booked I can’t help but to express how grateful I am.
Whatever does happen Cole and I are really looking forward to this summer and painting with the community of West Nipissing!
Tomorrow I paint with the Dreamer aka Alice who’s been visiting us since we first starting to move in so we decided to do a weekly collaboration! I think I might document the process here, as we are both learning from each other it seems more appropriate then a post. I’ll hopefully keep you posted.
7. The Dreamer & John
In a couple of days we will be celebrating our one month anniversary of officially being open to the community at my lil art studio! To celebrate I would really really love to dedicate this entry to my newest friends and collaborators Alice and her awesome husband John. I will now refer to them as John and the Dreamer for the remainder of this post.
The dreamer first visited the studio before we even open and since then every Thursday at 2 PM we meet to exchange stories learn from each other and of course paint.
Originally from Toronto the dreamer and John bless us with their knowledge and stories of past art groups they were able to participate and be part of and they truly humble us by their presence each week.
From entries from their blogs to pagan and folklore knowledge and Beatles trivia! I can’t wait to see what we will create next thank you so much for being part of our story dreamer and John see you Thursday!
Still reading? Let me know if you have any suggestions of topics you would like me to explore in a future entry! Thank you for reading! Also if your in the West Nipissing are make to visit me at mt Studio or ensure I do a happy dance by booking a One on One Art Class or a Date Night, Paint Night. today by clicking here.