Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Studio La Mouche Takes Flight

Originally published on Couch Assassin.

In case you haven't noticed, Ottawa's artistic scene is jam-packed with talented people. Sometimes promoting our city’s talent is where the challenge lies. Enter Studio La Mouche.

Lucie B, a local artist, started the project. Born and raised in Ottawa, she has been involved in the artistic community through her circle of friends, especially in the music scene. Having studied in chemistry, Lucie has no formal training in visual art. She shared that she was working on her Masters' degree when she acquired a silk-screening machine. She got the idea to start Studio La Mouche after realizing that some of her drawings would look good on t-shirts. "I decided to silk-screen my own stuff. Then I started noticing other artists around me and thought that their designs would work well on t-shirts too [...] Then I asked myself, 'why am I only printing on t-shirts? I could make prints easily.' It grew from me to multiple people to multiple products." Right now, Studio La Mouche is printing many different products, including apparel, prints, book covers, stencils, patches, etc. The studio also produces original artwork.

So what's story behind the name? According to Lucie B, the name came from fly drawings that she used to produce. "The company was originally just going to sell t-shirts with my fly drawings on it, so I picked that name. Then all the other artists came after and I kept the name. It's in French because of my Franco-Ontarien background and me wanting to keep bilingualism as part of the company's identity." The studio's new website will be bilingual as well. "I thought the word studio was a good way to encompass everything [...] It would be nice to eventually to get a dedicated studio space." Studio La Mouche has no physical space to call its own just yet. Lucie's ultimate goal is to open up a communal space. The space would be available to the artists if they need a working space and so they could use the different equipment and machines. Lucie also hopes to have a shop where prints can be sold, and a gallery space for viewings. She also mentioned that the gallery space or shop could be transformed into a live music space. But for right now, artists work on their own and Lucie B works from her apartment where she keeps all the materials and equipment.

Eight local artists are currently part of Studio La Mouche. Lucie acts as a curator and is selective when approaching artists to get involved. She is in talk with a few more artists to get on board, people that she met through her connections in the community. Ideally, as the company grows, she will ask artists to join as she meets them, and if she feels their aesthetics fits with her vision for the company. In terms of the style of art at Studio La Mouche, it is pretty open. According to Lucie, “it’s more on the grunge side, although there is more delicate stuff as well”. If any local artists are interested in getting involved with Studio La Mouche, she encourages them to get in touch with her with examples of their work.

Although the project has been launched for about a month, Lucie B has been working on it for over a year, gathering information, looking at different resources, such as producers and printers as well as making a business plan. The project was launched using a Kickstarter campaign. The Kickstarter page is currently being used as the studio's online shop. As soon as the campaign is done, an online shop will be open. Studio La Mouche will also participate in pop-up shops and festivals, so keep an eye out for that.

So why a Kickstarter campaign? While talking to some friends, Lucie got the idea to use Kickstarter. The project kept growing, and more and more artists were getting involved, and more products were in the works. "I didn't have the money to print that much artwork on that many different products," she said. "The Kickstarter campaign was a risk-free way to get started."

The campaign was launched with a show at the end of May at Pressed featuring local bands the Sick Sick Sicks, the Heavy Medecine Band and Tindervox. According to Lucie, there is a lot of potential for great work to be done. “The studio is trying to promote art in all forms, and we're trying to promote collaborations among artists and with musicians and performers. We are open to commission work. If bands or musicians are looking for album artwork and t-shirt designs, they can check out our roster of artists and if they like a particular style, we can connect them and they can collaborate."

The studio also wants to keep putting on live music shows and have a merchandise table, where visual art will be sold from different La Mouche artists, which could include band merchandise as well. Lucie B is a fan of the local music scene. She's a big fan of the Heavy Medicine Band (vocalist Keturah Johnson is one of the artists at Studio La Mouche). Lucie also recently discovered Randy Shenanigans and Bonnie Doon, two groups she says she would love to work with.

All the products are at a discounted price during the Kickstarter campaign. The campaign's goal is set to $5,000. This is the minimum amount that the studio would need to fulfill the campaign rewards. The more money the studio raises through this campaign, the more funds are available to get inventory ready for the online shop, once it opens. It is also worth noting that if the studio does not meet its goal, it received none of the money pledged.

There are still a few days to show your support and contribute to the Kickstarter campaign. Click here for more information. The campaign ends on July 28, 2015. So go check out Studio La Mouche and keep your eyes open for amazing art.

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