Jeff McIntyre, photographed in his art studio, Little Italy.
Artist Jeff McIntyre creates art while quietly contemplating the world around him. A generous man, he is also a voracious reader. He can be found either at his 400 acre property in Val-des-Monts (Quebec), living peacefully with family and friends, or at work in his Ottawa studio, where we caught up with him earlier this month.
Jeff is pursuing his art while also being a family man. His studio is speckled with evidence of his children, the space peaceful and orderly. His art has a very defined voice and he loves to share his work and ideas. His latest project is an art installation comprised of a life-sized replica of a traditional North American canoe camp. Dripped in a vibrant red coating, all objects interact with each other, celebrating our country’s heritage and depicting the importance of man’s interdependence. When exhibited, it will be accompanied by sound and light. Jeff likes to accompany his work with videos, sharing the process and making it tangible and real.
Jeff is an adopted Ottawan, originally from Montreal and Toronto. His work has become well-known and has lead to many exhibitions and commission pieces. His paintings are in numerous international private collections. His determination to pursue art as a way of life is commendable. We are grateful to you, Jeff, for adding to Ottawa’s growing cultural community!
Would you say that your close relationship with nature and the time you spend in it has influenced your new work, the Red Sticks Project?
“Most certainly. From a young age, I constructed primitive shelters when exploring the lakes and river systems of northern Ontario and Quebec, Canada. As an artist, it is very rewarding and beneficial to work with materials and share narratives from one’s own environment and experience. There is never a doubt that I yearn to create art with natural materials from my own land.
The planning and fabrication of the Red Sticks Project has been most enjoyable. Personally, it really does not get better than this:
- Sculpting trees for shelter posts and widdling saplings for a pot’s tripod.
- Rolling a fire pit circle with rocks carved by melting glaciers 10,000 years ago.
- Building a traditional canoe camp as explorers have done for centuries.
- Sleeping inside my Art, under the stars, beside a bending stream.”
We love your Demonstration (cities) Collection. It’s busy, noisy and screams at the spectator, yet it is vibrant, balanced and happy. Do you feel at times that you are a social commentator through your art?
“Thank you. Yes – colour, movement, vibrancy and beauty can be found in even the most desperate and tragic events. Media imagery clearly provides a visual congruency – whether Baltimore, Budapest or Bagdad; the pictorial record is very much the same. I hope the Demonstration Collection creates an open, international space for discussion and comment about how world events are increasingly interdependent and what this new reality means for shared global responsibility.”
Why did you choose Ottawa to live in and what places around town do you love the most?
“There are not many cities in the world that could offer the contradictory lifestyle which I demand. Where else can I enjoy the morning at a studio in a wildlife reserve – and then 40 minutes later, be working at a studio in the core of a city? Ottawa has it all; arts, music, culture, food, and most importantly, close proximity to wilderness experiences.
An ideal day would start with breakfast at John’s on Wellington Street, next a few hours working at Platform Studios in Little Italy, a quick curry lunch at Fairmont Confectionery, then boogying across the Gatineau River with my family to the lake camp, and finally – poking the fire as the sun sets.”