That immediate connection was how Montreal artists Joannie Houle and Lysa Jordan describe the beginnings of their artistic collaboration.
Deeply inspired by both artists, I felt intrigued by their collaboration on a new collection of watercolor paintings, and wanted to learn more about their inspirations and artistic process.
Brought together by Instagram
Although the two artists live very close to one another, it was Instagram that brought them together.
"I followed Joannie on Instagram for a while and fell in love with one of her illustrations. I contacted her to buy the original," Lysa says, describing how she was impressed by the quality of the illustrations and Joannie's colorful and fanciful style. "Shortly after that, I was in Joannie's beautiful space with her illustration in hand. It was an immediate connection between the two of us, and we have been in contact ever since!"
Joannie also discovered Lysa's work on Instagram and was drawn to the color and luminescence of her pieces. "When Lysa contacted me to purchase one of my illustrations, I was so flattered that such a talented artist appreciates my work! We exchanged a lot during our first meeting. Without even knowing it, a very special project was born, in addition to a beautiful friendship!"
Passionate about watercolor and nature, the two artists found a way to merge their very different styles and to initiate an inspiring new collection, set to launch on May 24th, 2018 at West Elm Montreal.
"This new collection represents this passion that we share for color and botany. It is the union of two artistic visions and the birth of a unique new style that represents us both," hence the name of the collection Joannie & Lysa. "We want to add a little beauty to people's daily lives. This collaboration is gentle and light. Our compositions are soothing and we believe that it is a feeling that people seek to add to their lives."
Artistic collaborations can be a fascinating journey for individual artists, as they not only involve blending styles and techniques, but also personalities, feelings and life experiences.
Joannie and Lysa let us in on that experience.
"It's really interesting to see how our methods, techniques and how we paint is different," says Lysa, explaining how working together was fascinating. "To give you an example, Joannie works sitting at her desk, often with a picture for inspiration and music and on my side I work on the floor, without images and without music!"
"We explored, made many tests and made several mistakes. These often brought us new ideas, which were more conclusive. When the result was satisfactory, it was really nice to share this wonder together."
Collaborations can often give rise to surprises. But thankfully, for Joannie and Lysa, these surprises were only positive and rewarding. "We had a great time creating a unique collaboration, a mix of our two worlds. It is wonderful to witness our individual artistic touches in the same piece. We have been very surprised to see the balance of our pieces and how the mix of our two styles has created a new style all of its own."
The two painters share how their collaboration enriched their lives in ways that transcended beyond the pieces they worked on.
"It was not only a pleasure to work together, but also to share our lives as entrepreneurial artists. We talked about accounting, document management, photos, graphic design, our websites and also the challenges of our business. We also talked about what inspires us, about artists we love and admire, and about our favorite materials."
Their collaboration as watercolor painters in Montreal is a refreshing reminder that community is (and should always be) stronger than competition. "We both believe in the importance of mutual help, kindness and respect. Visual art is a difficult field, which comes with its ups and downs. We think competition is unnecessary. It's important to find your own way, to chart your own path and to define your own artistic approach."
Joannie and Lysa are inspiring in how they have found their own artistic approach, as individuals and as collaborators on their beautiful new collection. Their advice to other artists is to patiently explore what they wish to explore, until a personal style emerges. "Don't put effort into trying to invent a style; if you do, you will create a series of inauthentic works. It's best to work on something you want to explore and see what comes out of it. You will begin to see your own personal style after working on numerous pieces," Lysa says, although she admits that it does not come easily.
"Nobody knows for you. You must find your own way."
When I probed Joannie and Lysa a little more on the collection and their favorite piece within it, they were reluctant to answer, keeping us in suspense a little while longer. We will have to attend their launch at West Elm Montreal on Thursday, May 24th from 5-9pm, where they will finally reveal the fruit of their labor and more anecdotes about their beautiful collaboration. Don't miss it!
Shop Lysa Jordan's art on her site and follow her on Instagram and Facebook.