Written by Vincent Fugere for Boucane Magazine 

Notwhatnot is a Toronto-based artist. She does illustrations and concept artwork for video games, movies and animation. Here's what we talked about for this magazine interview.

Boucane: You changed cities to study your art. How do you feel a changing of scenery affects the way you work?
Notwhatnot: Each location has a different vibe and a different stance in regards to art. Toronto has always had a bad reputation for being all business and no play which was true few years ago, but now it’s growing into a really great market for artists. The economy is good which in turn feeds the arts. Toronto definitely has a more commercial approach to art and I think that is because it does a lot more trade with the US. I mean here most of the studios do work for big places like Disney and Marvel. Whereas tapping into that market from the french side of the country is harder because they're working with other places like Ubisoft. I moved to Toronto because I desperately needed training in structural drawing and discipline. Over in Montreal the value is set on a very expressionist view about how art should be made. It yields a strong personal style but it wasn’t for me.

I think Toronto has affected my work in the best of ways. It’s given me the discipline to treat this not so much as a magical process and more as an actual job. All day every day, I come into work and produce something. I train daily to reach my goals as an artist, but I hit deadlines and find clients. I think that is the best thing that came out of moving away. Also, there’s something to be said about the size of the city. It’s big here and you see a lot of good artists. It tames your ego and you learn to work with others and learn from them and give back.

Boucane: You have a distinct style. What do you think of style?

Notwhtanot: Do I really?!? Haha! I don’t really think of style when I work. For my personal work, I definitely only draw and paint things that appeal to me and I think that is what people refer to as a style. Otherwise I just do my best to make a good drawing! It’s hard enough as is! 

Boucane: How do trends affect your work?

Notwhatnot: Trends will affect my work in the sense that like anyone, I think what’s cool is cool. I won’t argue against tattoos and the post-apocalyptic stuff that is super trendy right now, I love it! Trends are a reflection of the generation’s concerns and it’s ok to like and follow them as they reveal something about what we are going through collectively. The teenage mutant ninja turtles grew out of the fear of chemical warfare and toxicity that followed WWII. Now our games and movies represent our collective fear of what is to come in the political and environmental landscape and it’s good to acknowledge those. I embrace the trends that appeal to me because of this. It’s kind of the subconscious way of making a statement.

Boucane: How do you measure success?

Notwhatnot: Small personal victories. Success has so much to do with who you are as an individual. It’s a very personal thing. My measure for success is about understanding and applying new concepts in art. Getting a job doesn’t fulfill you as a person but overcoming obstacles and surpassing yourself as an artist and as a person does. 

Boucane: What would be your dream project?

Notwhatnot: My dream project? I guess it’s never as much about the project itself as the people you are working with! If I have a team of driven artists with whom I’ve got good chemistry, any project can be a dream one! It’s what makes or breaks a project. But if I can dream big, I’d give anything to work with people like Sparth, John J Park, Phil Hale, Claire Wendling, Ian Mcque or Jamie Hewlett! But that’s just dreaming! Haha!

Boucane: What's coming up for you and where can we find your work?

Notwhatnot: For this year I'm concentrating on scoring some great work as a Concept Artist or as a Matte Painter. So you will be getting a lot of work in progress feed from me! Lots of epic landscape paintings and gloomy figures.

You can find my work on my website: www.notwhatnot.com/shop
And my portfolio here: www.notwhatnot.com

You can also follow my instagram & Twitter

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