“I just have so much in my head to produce, and I need to get it out there”, proclaims Julien Léger, architect, painter, and lover of colours. I had the pleasure of sitting down with this multi-talented man last week to talk about his work and life as an artist.
Julien grew up in France, where his artistic spark was ignited by his grandfather. Once an architect and painter himself, his grandfather taught at the École des Beaux Arts in Paris in the 1930s and 40s. He tutored his grandson in the world of art, teaching him the language of colour, nuance, and artistic exploration. Julien sold his first painting by the time he was 8 years old.
Deciding to pursue architecture as a career, Julien moved to Canada in 1997 where he studied Landscape Architecture and Architecture at the University of Montreal. Gratefully being supported by his parents in his studies, he created the Anonymous Painters group with other students. They held weekly Afternoon of Art gatherings, displaying their paintings and discussing the world of art. In just four years, the group had created over 300 pieces. Julien’s passion for painting only grew from there.
After moving to the West Coast and starting a family with his wife, Julien declares that he has been the most artistically productive in Vancouver. In 2008, his wife gifted him with a 1.2 km roll of painter’s canvas and just this year, he completed his first full kilometre. “But it’s not about being as productive as possible”, he explains, “it’s about always finding new ways to express myself and reveal what is really inside”.
On display: ‘Galactica in the Afternoon’ by Julien Léger
Julien describes himself as a “happy artist”. With his impressionistic style, he aims to evoke out-of-the-ordinary emotions in those who view his works. Utilizing mainly primary colours, the artist can reveal a broad spectrum to show the viewer just how much is possible by starting out with 3 colours. The artist, like mankind, can create complex and beautiful things using very little to begin with.
These days, Julien works on his paintings as much as he can while raising a family and working as an architect at Francl Architecture. In fact, Julien was the architect who designed our very own Wesbrook Community Centre. He is so happy with how the centre turned out, he says that he wouldn’t change a thing about it. I think the community would have to agree – it is an incredible space.
If you would like to be inspired by Julien’s work, some of his pieces are currently being displayed in Wesbrook Community Centre now until the end of January. They are for sale as well! A portion of the proceeds will go towards wonderful initiatives in our community and you will be supporting the work of a local artist. So I invite you all to take a tranquil walk through the centre, explore a world of colour, and find out what kinds of emotions Julien’s paintings will reveal within you.
On display: ‘Water World’ by Julien Léger