FAÇADE Fest: Studio Sessions with Artist Rebecca Chaperon

Rebecca is an artist whose paintings act as a means of storytelling. For her sessions with Go2, Rebecca tested her paintings on our 3D model to determine which pieces of artwork she wanted to incorporate into her presentation and which ones would require tweaking. We’ve made it possible for Rebecca to ‘live tweak’ the color saturation of each painting on the evening of the projection through the media server, to ensure each painting will be visible properly on the Gallery facade.  Additionally, our team will be creating simplistic transitions between each painting, as well as small object animation as a layer on some of the artwork pieces, which will bring some movement to the canvas.

We spoke to Rebecca about the festival and her artistic process.

What would you like our readers to know about your existing body of work that might help them contextualize your upcoming project for Façade?
Rebecca: Many of the projected works depict my internal psychic space as though it were a landscape full of waves of energy, creativity, and wonder. There is a continual theme of existentialism within my work and lately I have been examining the process of visual perception: optical input and cognitive understanding. The projected images are existing artworks that I have altered digitally to enhance them for the medium of projection and to create animated elements ie. making my paintings move! Most of the images are from either my Eccentric Garden Series or Imprint Series. And some of the originals are on display in the Art Rental & Sales showroom at the Vancouver Art Gallery until Sept 23.

What inspires you?
Rebecca: I’m inspired by ideas of surrealism, storytelling and the genre of science fiction. I’m fascinated by the process of how we perceive the world around us. Our landscapes provide a rich code of visual information that we reinterpret to create images in our mind of what these places “look like”.

How does working in projection mapping fit into, and contrast with, the work you’ve done  before?
Rebecca: I haven’t worked in coding and animation before. My skills are very limited in this area… we could say non-existent! But I have worked with other creatives who have those skills sets and helped me to adapt my ideas to those frameworks. The best example is from my Great Black Fire exhibit in 2011 – with the assistance of an expert, we created a way in which people could tweet their text into the paintings. It was fun to see people’s humor come through in their engagement.

Describe your project for Façade. How did you come up with the idea, and what kind of effect are you hoping to have on the viewer?
Rebecca: I will be showing approximately 10 different images with different elements animated. At the time of this interview we are still finalizing the details and working out the animations and the transitions but I can say that I hope to really envelop the viewer in the worlds that I have created. I love surrealism and projecting my already surreal paintings onto the art gallery will be even more surreal.

Were there any challenges in this process?
Rebecca: Technically speaking, I’ve been rusty with Photoshop as I usually only use it to adjust my images so that they are more accurate.. so it was interesting to refresh old skills and get used to that process. Other challenges came in the form of the medium itself, understanding that white and black aren’t going to project very well which lead to me making some adjustments to my images.

What have you learned about your art through this process?
Rebecca: I think I’d like to work digitally with my paintings in the future. I was surprised by how much I like the combination of using paint and importing it into digital programs. It’s fun to manipulate the images in photoshop and I haven’t done that since I was at art school. I look forward to seeing the effect of these manipulated elements of the images projected at such a large scale.

What was it like working with Go2 to complete your vision?
Rebecca: It was great to see the test projections and learn about the specific parameters that are involved with projections (I had no idea!). The test projections were good for me to see because we had a physical example to use and Go2 could explain very clearly the elements that I needed to consider before creating my final images for projection. It’s been a great experience so far.

How did you come to collaborate with the Burrard Arts Foundation?
Rebecca: I’ve known about BAF from perhaps the beginning via my friend, artist Joseph Staples, who did an initial residency. I know many people who have been involved with BAF in some form or another.  It’s wonderful to see the impact that you are having on Vancouver’s art community. I’m pleased to participate in Façade!

Rebecca’s project will be displayed Thursday, September 1st from 8pm to 12am on the Robson Street side of the Vancouver Art Gallery. Follow the Façade Fest online with #facadefest. Full schedule here.

Text by Go2 Productions, Genevieve Michaels and Rebecca Chaperon


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