In his incisive pop-art style, Canadian artist André Monet portrays the icons of our time in expressive, large-format collages. In the process of exploring our fascination with celebrity culture, he captures the complexity of his subjects’ individual personalities and each work is as layered with facts, fiction and secrets as the charismatic figures they represent. Loved and admired, yet also human and vulnerable, they are not two dimensional, and neither, he says, are his portraits of them.
The background to each portrait is key to André’s work; everything is chosen for its relationship to the subject, and the placement of each torn page, map, stamp or music sheet is meticulously planned. The books he reads, songs he listens to, and any other material he has collected might make its way onto his canvas, creating a substantial cultural foundation on which to build. Each composition is beautifully handcrafted and painted over many hours. In his distinctive style, André combines authenticity and emotionality to produce portraits which are both glamorous and genuinely arresting.
The words, images and ideas, both hidden and visible, dictate the rest of the piece; the shadows, the intensity, the mood and the strength of the gaze. “My goal, my intention, is to use backgrounds, collage, paint and shadows to bring out the subject’s personality, their intensity, their strength” he explains. “My focus is on them and on creating a relationship between the subject and the person looking at the piece. I want the person looking at it to feel they know the subject. When someone chooses to put an André Monet piece on their wall, they live with that person. My pieces exist to create that connection. The thrill you get should be the spark that has you believing the icon is now an intimate part of your world. “