I took a bit of a hiatus from FIO to finish up a semester of school. But I’m back with the girl who made ‘Plart’ a social media sensation – Toronto-based Artist, Jacqueline Poirier (AKA The Crazy Plate Lady)!
What is your current job title?
Aside from being a full time Crazy Plate Lady, I am also the Resident Artist at the Ritz Carlton hotel in Toronto.
I love painting on ceramics and porcelain. Plates allow me to express myself both artistically and functionally. I love the idea that people can own hand painted art and eat of it at the same time!
What is your educational background?
Formally, I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto where my major was Painting and Drawing.
I saw that you also attended teachers college. What was that experience like? Did you complete the program?
Yes I did indeed attend Teacher’s College! I completed the program at Niagara University Ontario Campus. I think any education is valuable and enriching, and I learned a lot, but I realized that at this point in my life teaching is not a priority – however I like the idea of keeping all my options open!
What did you want to be growing up/while you’re in school?
I have always loved to create, so I suppose when I was growing up I dreamt of being able to use my artistic abilities to make a decent living – isn’t this what every artist wants?! I feel very fortunate to have stumbled upon a market where people value my work as much as they do! I love bringing joy to people through my art, and being @TheCrazyPlateLady allows me to do this everyday!
What type of training did you need to complete to be in the career you are in now?
Attending OCAD allowed me to be in an environment where I was able to find inspiration and create with likeminded individuals in a structured capacity. However, there really isn’t anything that formally trained me to do what I do now. I discovered the intrigue of painting on porcelain and ceramics about three years ago and just sort of kept on going until now!
Do you think you have to have formal training to be a painter/artist?
The short answer is no. I think it helps to have instruction, especially dependent on the type of art you are creating. For example, if you are an artist with a focus in photo-realism it helps to have formal instruction in colour mixing, light source, and shading techniques, but I think it is also about fostering a natural creative talent or gift and honing the drive necessary to make a living off of it.
What are some previous jobs you’ve held?
I have held a bunch of different jobs in various fields! My first job ever was as a butcher’s assistant when I was 14 at a local deli. I have worked in retail, I was a bottle service manager at Circa Nightclub, I worked as an admin assistant at a company in Germany called Noske-Kaiser which made cooling systems for navy ships, I used to do marketing and promotions at Mosaic Sales Solutions, and I was an office manager at Core Entertainment. These are just to name a few, but I have done a lot!
What type of female would you recommend going into your field?
I would recommend someone who is driven, determined, and open minded. Oh, and obviously creative!
What are some aspects of your job that people might not consider before entering it as a career?
The business side of art! After Instagram featured my profile to over 70 million users, I needed help with my business immediately because I had no time to paint for all the inquiries I was fielding! I hired a Studio Manager and now she handles all the business and administrative side of things. Now, I just get to paint and chime in my two cents every once in a while!
Who are your role models?
Beyonce! Is there anyone else!? I admire her drive, independence and her ability to always be open to recreating her brand! I do try to be more like Beyonce everyday!
I admire Beyonce’s drive, independence and her ability to always be open to recreating her brand! I do try to be more like Beyonce everyday!
Who do you see as a strong female representation in your field?
In the field of visual arts I think that Kit King, Elle Wills, and Kristina Webb are all killing it! Kristina Webb is insanely talented and she is so young! It is very inspiring. Kit King and Elle Wills paint hyper-realistic art that is incredibly pleasing to look at!
Their talent speaks on its own – I respect them all not only for being artists, but for curating their online spaces in a way that makes their work accessible to the masses.
What is your day-to-day like?
I spend most of my days during the week at the Studio either painting custom orders or painting for myself. I think it is really important to still create for myself – it grounds me.
How do you think social media impacts an artist’s work?
I think social media is a very powerful tool for artists. It has the potential to offer international exposure like nothing else. However, the talent has to be legitimate and make a lasting impression, because social media has also bred very short attention spans.
How has it benefited your own career? What social media outlets do you recommend?
I had a couple of thousand followers before Instagram reached out and featured my account. Aside from the obvious being mass exposure and increased business, being a part of the Instagram world as an influencer has led to many networking and collaborative opportunities with other users.
How has social media/technology changed the art world? For better? For worse?
Social media has had a great impact on the art world. Technology, as it evolves, allows for new forms and mediums to be explored by artists. On the other side, technology as it coincides with social media platforms allows for greater exposure and visibility of artists and their art. However, the flip side to this is that lots of people are able to make visible their “art” or their work, but this doesn’t necessitate an inherent value.
You’ve done more than a few portraits of celebrities, which one did you enjoy the most of had a specifically notable time painting?
I usually paint celebrities around the Toronto International Film Festival because they are always in and out of the hotel. Both Morgan Freeman and Al Pacino are now owners of the custom plates that I painted of them last year, that was really exciting! I am really looking forward to seeing who reaches out this year.
How do you feel about having a public image?
I don’t often think about the fact that I have a public image! I like the sounds of it though. I am just doing what I am doing, the idea that people like what I do is really exciting to me and I am appreciative everyday for the exposure.
What are your goals now? Where do you want to be in the next few years?
Currently I am just focusing on ‘plart’ and growing my business. I find that it gets better everyday, but we still face numerous challenges! I tend not to think too far into the future, I believe that it is important to be comfortable with the present moment, but when I do think about what’s next, it always involves painting in some capacity.
What are websites that you utilize day to day that benefit your career?
To be honest, I spend a lot of time cruising around Instagram and discovering new artists. I get a lot of inspiration this way. One of my favourites is @artfido or ArtFido.com because I can see what people are creating and what’s selling.
Check out more of Jacqueline’s work on her website.