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Art & Life with Francois-Pierre Couture

Today we’d like to introduce you to Francois-Pierre Couture.

Francois-Pierre, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I discovered my love for theater and the arts in the extraordinary diverse cultural scene of my native city, Montréal. Work from artists and troupes such as Robert Lepage, Jocelyne Montpetit, Cirque du Soleil, Lalala Human Step, Dominic Champagne and Ariane Mnouchkine contributed in shaping my visual aesthetic and taught me high artistic standards and commitment to the craft.

After completing a Masters’ degree at UCLA in Scenic and Lighting design, I started working in Los Angeles, a city I find culturally fascinating and that is currently my home.

I believe in simplicity and imagination: raw materials, unconventional lighting sources and mix media juxtaposed with traditional theatrical devices are at the source of my inspiration. My goal is to create innovative but mostly effective designs. In each new production, questions are asked, obstacles raised and answers sought. As an artist and a professional theatre designer, I am committed to finding these answers through a rigorous artistic exploration and collaboration.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I am a scenic and lighting designer and occasional projection designer for theatre, dance, opera and live events. I am also a full-time teacher at East L.A. College (ELAC).

I have designed over 140 productions from all sizes and colors in the last twenty years, but I like to think that each project is unique. Although I do favor a minimalist approach inspired by expressionism, I always value collaboration and will adapt to the team’s vision.

I find my inspirations in many places… museums, books, internet, life experience. Once I have gathered all the resources, I can possibly find, I allow myself time to process those ideas and only then do I start generating drawings, models and renderings.

I think people who know me can generally recognize my work and how it challenges the audience’s imagination. I lean towards the use of negative space in conjunction with highly textured and evocative surfaces, supported by sculptural lighting.

Do you think conditions are generally improving for artists? What more can cities and communities do to improve conditions for artists?
Before the COVID-19 crisis, I would have said that life as an artist was exciting but not without its challenges. Funding is always an issue, and finding ways to promote your work is always challenging, especially in a city like Los Angeles where so much is happening. But the support from the community is heart-warming and I have rarely seen such a dynamic and rich environment, especially over the last ten years in Los Angeles. I also see it a lot in my students, who are thriving, with more and more theatres and institutions offering internships, travel opportunities and community opportunities.

Now that we are all seeing our work holding by a thread, we can only hope that the reprise will be sooner than later and offer everyone a chance to re-engage.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
Before we all had to stop working, my work could have been seen at in Southern California at L.A. Dance Project, the Geffen Playhouse, A Noise Within, Boston Court Theatre, LATC, South Coast Repertory, Antaeus Theatre, Santa Barbara Ensemble and also at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Oregon, The Guthrie in Minneapolis, the Goodman in Chicago…

I also had a few productions that were unfortunately but that are currently performing on-line:
Destiny of Desire at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Francois-Pierre Couture

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