To me, art is passion. My passion. And my work is all about the pursuit of that passion.
– Pierre Bourque
Pierre Bourque is a politician, a NASCAR driver, a journalist, and an entrepreneur. He’s invented his own blend of coffee, and he created the first ever Canadian Bitcoin postage stamp. And somewhere in between all of this, he’s a painter. Bourque emphasizes the importance of finding time for his artwork. “I’ve been painting all my adult life,” he says in his artist statement. “It is what I come back to time and again, regardless of what else is going on in my life.”
His art career began with crayons and charcoal on paper, and he progressed to oil and acrylic on canvas. Now, he’s working with his MacBook Pro & iPhone to create pieces using the technology available to him. He wants to create artwork that pushes the envelope, “[work that speaks] of the human condition and the people who condition humanity”. The pieces have a strong focus on the brushstroke, colorful lines floating gracefully around his canvas to form recognizable faces and calming landscapes.
After learning about Bitcoin in 2013, Bourque found it to be an appropriate subject for his artwork: “Given Bitcoin’s foundation in technology, I considered it a natural fit with the technological way I create art.” And now, two years later, he sees an enormous potential for Bitcoin to benefit artists, as well as society as a whole.
Emily Braun: Your technique is really unique, which I’m sure you hear a lot! What inspires you to create work with this technique?
Pierre Bourque: Yes, that’s true, and I take that as a compliment!
In fact, I am inspired by a quote from the great art critic, dealer, and curator Jeffrey Deitch: “One of the ultimate achievements of an artist is to push forward the boundaries of what is considered art and what is not.”
Braun: What is your most important tool as an artist?
Bourque: I think the mind’s eye is the most important tool I have. I am attracted to a subject matter, I ingest it, I re-interpret it.
Braun: What are some of the main themes that you explore in your artwork?
Bourque: I have a broad-stroke focus. I am always fascinated by current affairs and the icons of our world, such as emblematic personalities, flags, and currencies. I am also drawn to subjects as diverse as landscapes & seascapes and more esoteric themes bordering on the abstract and the political statement.
Braun: How did you first learn about Bitcoin? Have you ever used Bitcoin for a purchase?
Bourque: I first learned of Bitcoin in late summer 2013 as the price of Bitcoin began to skyrocket and the media picked up interest in both the phenomenon & the community gravitating to it. I hold Bitcoin in small amounts, both at Blockchain.info & at ChangeTip, and I’ve used it in restaurants and such. I offer to sell my artwork for Bitcoin should a collector wish to pay that way, and I can see myself paying in Bitcoin for art supplies & shipping should that option be offered by the merchant.
Braun: What aspects of Bitcoin are most relevant to your interests? What makes it a compelling subject for artwork?
Bourque: Over the past 18 months or so, the Bitcoin space has pushed itself into the mainstream in terms of public interest, if not understanding. Looking ahead, it has the capacity to change society at large, should it gain wider adoption. I am captivated by the passion that fuels the personalities responsible for bringing Bitcoin to where it is today. They are trailblazers and risk takers and accidental revolutionaries, whether they realize it or not. As I told ‘Bitcoin Jesus’ Roger Ver himself last year, he and his peers deserve to be recognized artistically for posterity.
Braun: In what ways, if any, do you see Bitcoin & the blockchain benefiting artists?
Bourque: Two immediate ways I see are in terms of commerce and provenance.
In terms of commerce, Bitcoin itself can be used for payment of artwork. It is immediate, there are no middlemen, and the full financial value of the artwork is exchanged between acquirer and artist, without financial dilution or remittance delay.
As for provenance, I see the blockchain in its capacity as a public ledger to authenticate the artwork, to record its transmittal from artist to acquirer, and to create the chronology of a subsequent sequence of events that will occur when each artwork takes on a life of its own and is either exhibited and/or re-sold over time.
Braun: What are you working on now? What are your plans and hopes for the future?
Bourque: I am currently working on a commission for a major North American telecom company, and I am always ’sketching’ out new art, although I admit I scrub out more works than I create & finish to completion. As for plans for the future, I think my method of creating art is deserving of wider recognition, exposure, and collecting. I am hopeful art galleries & museums in key art markets around the world will take an interest in my work, either for purposes of exhibition or commerce. Beyond that, I am always happy to interact with fellow artists and anyone else who would like to talk art.
– Emily Braun