In his studio by the Lachine Canal in Montreal, Deguy is in the midst of a creative journey of painting he started in 1997. Deguy had been working with color and form for more than 25 years as a graphic designer and art director.
The painter finds inspiration in his frequent travels and his constant observation of people’s personalities, especially as expressed by their eyes. He brings his visions to life on canvas or Masonite, using acrylics applied in transparent layers or, occasionally, mixed with sand to add texture. Each work is a new opportunity for him to experiment: Deguy avoids repetitive formulas.
Confronted with the white expanse of a blank canvas, Deguy connects with the whimsical madness of his adolescence while infusing his work with the maturity of his forties. Over time, imaginary characters and fanciful creatures have taken the place of his early still lifes. “I gradually opened up to expressing my emotions,” he explains. “That is how living creatures started appearing in my work.”
These days, Deguy gives in to his allegorical urges, spontaneous lines and subconscious impulses. “Aesthetics and accessibility have always been my main concern, in graphic arts as in painting,” he says. “But as far as my paintings are concerned, another ingredient comes into play and becomes a key element: namely, my desire to move the viewer’s emotions through my use of color, form or subject matter.”
Deguy’s first solo show in 2002 in Montreal introduced a wide audience to a body of work brimming with maturity and sensitivity. The artist’s creations immediately caught the eye of enthusiastic amateur aficionados and seasoned contemporary art connoisseurs alike. All of the nearly 30 paintings on display found a buyer. Now, less than two years later, he is represented by galleries in Montreal and Vancouver, and his works hang in collections in London, New York and San Francisco.
For five years, Deguy felt such a strong attachment to his paintings that he couldn’t bear to part with a single one. But that era is over: Now his strongest desire is to see his works take on a life of their own, growing and broadening their horizons all over the world—in other words, to be what they always have been: a clear reflection of their creator at the current stage of his personal and artistic journey.