Instagram: @asmallmenard
Twitter: @asmallmenard
Website: www.courtney-menard.com

 

1. What’s your story? Where are you from?

I’m originally from Buffalo, New York, a chilly little city on the Canadian border. I moved to New York City to study illustration at the School of Visual Arts in 2010 and have lived here ever since.

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2. Tell us about your aesthetic.

I work in a printmaking studio at the School of Visual Arts, so my work is influenced by different types of printmaking, especially silkscreen. Learning to silkscreen in school and being surrounded by printmakers really helped me to understand how the layering of colors and textures can create dynamic images. I’m also super interested in patterns and have been actively trying to incorporate them into my work. I do find that my ‘style’ can shift pretty drastically depending on the medium I use. Sometimes I will make a really scribbly textured pencil drawing and other times I’ll make an image out of clean flat shapes. Whichever style lends itself better to the concept is the one I use.

3. What is your favourite medium and why?

I use a wacom tablet most frequently to finish my work but my favorite medium is a really soft pencil, like a 6B. I love that you can manipulate the mark really easily, and that you can fill in a large area with a super heavy pencil texture that translates really well to silkscreen.

4. What is your artistic process like?

Sketchbooking is the most important step for me in my work. The concept comes to me easier than the actual drawing does, so my process always begins with a series of really rough sketches to flesh out an idea. If I’m presented with a freelance job I’ll often look back through old sketchbooks to find an idea that fits the prompt. It’s like my brain’s external hard drive. After that, my process really depends on the project, but I’d determine how to execute the final piece whether it be traditional or digital. Then edit edit edit.

5. Who and/or what inspires your work?

I’ve recently been inspired by a book of linoleum cuts from Mexico, and the work of Josef Frank. I also tend to get a lot of ideas while I’m out running or biking, or when I’m on the train and am sitting inside my own head for a while.

6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?

The best thing about being a creative person is that you tend to notice all the little peculiar things around you, things in movies and books and people. This is also the worst part of being a creative person.

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7. Where did you study?

I studied at a state school in Buffalo for a year and then completed my BFA in Illustration at the School of Visual Arts in 2014. I’ll begin grad school there this fall.

8. Where do you see yourself in five years? Working in an agency?

In five years I hope to have a more sustainable freelance career and perhaps to have had a comic or book published.

9. What about in ten?

Hoping space travel will become the norm by then.

10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?

I want to tell stories with my pictures and to make people nostalgic for something they can’t quite place. I also want my work to be honest and to convey the things that I care about most.

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11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?

Pretzels. Any kind of pretzel though I’ve had a hard time finding a brand I like in NYC.

12. Favourite book?

I don’t think I have a favorite! I just love books. Right now I’m reading Hallucinations by Oliver Sacks and You and a Bike and a Road by Eleanor Davis.

13. Favourite genre of music?

I’ve been listening to a lot of Motown and 60s girl groups recently.

14. What are your hobbies?

Biking! My coworkers and I all bike to work together and sometimes go riding on the weekends. And I’m also trying to improve my Spanish.

15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?

I’d probably be working with animals or be an event organizer or something. I love a good spreadsheet.

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