Claire Amirault

#CouncilSpotlight – Claire Amirault

Braelyn Cheer

The Ottawa Arts Council supports artists and arts organizations through leadership, guidance and the provision of opportunities to advance our local creative potential.

Our series #CouncilSpotlight presents stories and experiences of Arts Council members and art award recipients.

Claire Amirault received the 2019 Young Artist Award.

Claire standing at a windowWhere are you from?

I was born and have lived in Ottawa my whole life. 

How did you get involved in the Ottawa arts community?

Going to Canterbury High School for visual arts, my teachers have always tried to bridge the gap between the school and the community. From workshops with artists to first year university students coming in to talk about their studies, Arts Canterbury has been a big support with my involvement in the community.

 How would you describe your aPhoto by Clairertistic practice/discipline?

I've always had a knack for most things visual but really I am willing to employ any artform that will deliver my concept or message. Going to an arts school, we cover most fine art mediums including painting, drawing, sculpting, textile design, and more. My personal artistic practice mostly falls under photography and filmmaking; I have been exploring photography since the age of 12 when I found my mother’s point and shoot camera. Thankfully, since then I have moved on from taking photos of flowers in my backyard to mainly photographing portraits on film and digital. Sadly, my upcoming project will not be shot on my mother’s point and shoot.  

What impact has your involvement with the arts/the Ottawa arts community had on your life?

I have found the Ottawa arts community incredibly supportive and open to my ideas while Claireoffering solutions to problems I have faced thus far. Coming from a family with little to no involvement in the arts, it's really special to get to see people pursuing and excelling in their artistic careers. The community has opened my eyes to possible future plans and helped with how to reach said goals.

Is there a specific moment/situation in your art career that you remember fondly?

The most notable moment in my art career, that led me to realize this is something I want to do for the rest of my life was developing my first print. My absolute amazement might have come from a lack of sleep or the fumes from the developers, but watching an image appear on paper in a matter of seconds is something I’ll never forget. The art of film continues to amaze me to this day; every time I develop a new roll I hold it up to the light in anticipation that I didn't ruin it. The lack of confidence in my skills really keeps things excitingClaire

Do you have any advice for artists in the Ottawa community or artists in general?

Advice that I'm still trying to employ to this day is taking as many risks and opportunities possible. As a 17 year old, I am completely oblivious to my own limitations and jump into things I am woefully unprepared to do, and so far (knock on wood) this mindset has yet to fail me. Whether the risks I take result in unexpected gems or simply learning experiences, taking as many opportunities as possible has only benefited me.

What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on a short film that should be finished within a year. The film will follow the course of a relationship in the new digital age. The relationships we engage in now are not your mother’s relationships; with dating apps on the rise and “hookup culture” taking shape, my generation has been faced with many obstacles when it comes to human interaction—real life human interaction, that is—we have sliding into each others’ DMs down pat. I hope the film will shed light on the issue and resonate with my generation while educating older ones. 

What was it like to receive an award from the Ottawa Arts Council? How do you think it will impact your career?Photo by Claire

Receiving an award from the Ottawa Arts Council was extremely moving; for myself, my friends and my family. Going to an arts school, all of our major projects have restrictions and requirements that can sometimes hinder the creative process, so it is exciting to have full creative control over this upcoming project. Along with having to deal with deadlines and requirements, being a student means the little validation I get from my art is through marks and a small social media following. Receiving an award from the Ottawa Arts Council really solidified my role as an artist and helped welcome me into the community.