Beausejour is a line of accessories specializing in one-of-a-kind handbags. Cut from a painting, each piece is unique in design, celebrating a merge of art and fashion. Their exclusive collection is produced, curated and fabricated by two Toronto based artists. Canvas from unstretched paintings is used as material for each unique piece.
What inspired you to begin this endeavour? Who came up with it?
In Winter 2015, we had a small live-in studio overcrowded with paintings. We lived on top of a vacant unit, which was above of our octogenarian landlady who loved cigarettes, her cat, and an afternoon drink. Krista had just returned from working in France and was disappointed with the city’s fast-fashion, MK society market. It seemed accessories were either high end designer, vintage or a total basic trend-exasperated yawnfest. With the desire for cooler things, she wanted to start creating her own prints for unique clutches. Patrick took the idea one step further and suggested that the both of them could create them from their paintings.
Do you have a favourite piece? Which and why?
Every single piece from the collection is our favourite. They come from paintings that are made with equal amount of excitement and attention.
But, if we were held at gunpoint and forced to chose, the clutches that are based from blue-dyed canvas are pretty rad.
Describe your art in three words.
Fun, accessible, with-geist.
What inspires you?
The disillusion and breakdown of visual language, it’s shifting roll within symbology, and defamiliarizing iconography in modern culture.
What was the most challenging part of breaking into this scene? How did you overcome it?
The shift between selling to family and friends and then selling to strangers was certainly a challenge. We found improving our digital presence helped facilitate this change.
Also, finding team members to sew our products proved to be a daunting endeavour. Craigslist is a deep dark ocean. We’ll leave it at that. Luckily, we were able to recruit some very hip, forward-thinking fashion students to help carry our enthusiasm and provide their own creative direction. And quite frankly, the two of us cannot sew for shit.
Any future projects you are excited about?
We are currently working creating a line of apparel using segments of our paintings to panel the backs and sides of custom wears, i.e. letterman and jean jackets, and hoodies. Also, more complicated bag designs are in the mix: backpacks and fanny packs.
Whose puppy is that from your Instagram photo on June 27th? What’s their name? (Sorry, I love dogs)
Patrick’s. His name is Seiko or Mr. SEIKO (depending on how you want him to interact with you). He’s our studio hoodrat and all around good helper because of his positive feedback.
Where is your special place?
Torrence Muskoka — where most of our new paintings have been made.
What is the one book that most profoundly affected your journey to this point in artistry?
The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield.
What is your favourite part about being an artist in Toronto?
Opportunity, energy, and niches. Toronto is an anything-town with arms that span pretty wide.
What was the goal you first envisioned when you started out as an artist?
A true artist doesn’t necessarily need a goal. He just does what he likes. It’s a state of being or wanting to create for the sake of creation’s sake.
We’re in talks with a few local boutiques and are thinking about setting up vendor booths come certain events held in the city.
Creating new paintings for material is an exciting and never ending process so that always endures. In particular, we’ve found creating events based around making large scale live paintings is a fun way to bolster exposure and a good crowd.
What advice would you give to beginning painters and entrepreneurs?
Patience is a virtue. You really have to love what you do. Accepting setbacks, having slow days and the occasional existential crisis — it’s all part of it.
How can our readers find you?
If you see two overzealous 20 something year olds live-painting in Trinity Bellwoods Park, come give us a hello, or lay down a brushstroke.