Breakfast with an Artist


                One of the highlights of last week was my impromptu breakfast with artist, Claire Desjardins. After seeing that Claire was in Chicago for the week, I reached out to get together and chat. Even though this was our first time meeting each other, breakfast was comfortable and conversation flowed, just like our morning coffee. Over a latte and a delicious breakfast from Greektown’s Meli Café, we talked about our love of travel, Claire’s hometown of Montreal and of course, the men in our lives. Check out the rest of the interview here…

Nomad Luxuries photo of Claire with Chicago buildings on a bright day.

 { A gorgeous day in Chicago with Claire Desjardins }

–          NL: You come from a long line of artists in the family. Did you always know you wanted to become an artist?

                                Claire: I do come from a long line of very accomplished artists, and so I always was tuned into creating art. It also meant that I met a great deal of people in the world of arts, starting at a very young age. My impression, right from the beginning, was that it is very difficult   to succeed in the arts, and therefore, it was not a direction that I wanted to forge ahead in. I thought that business would be a more suitable (and lucrative) means of earning an income. As it turns out, I now use my business knowledge to work in the world of art. Who knew?

–          NL: Your paintings are vibrant in color and abstract; where do you draw inspiration from?

                               Claire: Some of my favorite artists are the abstract expressionists: Hans Hoffmann, Willem De Kooning, Wassily Kandisky, Mark Rothko, and so on. There are also some contemporary artists, including my mother, Jane Desjardins, whose work inspires me. One guy whose work I particularly get a charge out of, is Yassine (“Yaze”) Mekhnache, from Morocco… Oh, how he paints with such freedom and movement. I love the expression of his art.

–          NL: Can you share with us a typical day in the life of Claire Desjardins?

                                Claire: I treat my art as a business: I wake up early, go to my studio, and spend much of my time on my computer, answering emails, catching up on my social media, and so forth. I usually have a pot of coffee on, and the radio playing (preferably talk radio,  but only if they aren’t discussing upcoming elections!). I move about my studio, painting, going back to the studio, maybe reading a bit, and then eating something (staple: bread and cheese!). This is how my day evolves, pretty much until it gets dark, at which time, I head home for supper and to see my boyfriend!

–          NL: In what ways do you want to see your career evolve?

                                Claire: I think every artist would love to have steady sales, myself included! I have had the fortune to be involved with some great clients who keep my busy, painting. I’d like to get into more art galleries (an excuse to travel, too!), and I would also like to see more of my art used in collaborative efforts: printed on merchandise.

–          NL: Tell us about having your work at Anthropologie.

                                Claire: I have a very nice relationship with Anthropologie. It is become quite symbiotic, if I dare say so. It started off with them buying and reselling my paintings. With time, they started    reproducing my art on merchandise as well (so far: a rug, a bedding collection, a purse, a weekender bag, and hopefully more to come, soon!). They’ve been very supportive of my work so far.

–          NL: I hear you like to travel- what are some of your favorite and most inspiring destinations?

                                Claire: One trip that will forever stand out in my mind, was one I took to Thailand. The   sights, sounds, tastes… were all intoxicating.  The Thai people are warm and generous of heart. When I returned, I brought with me a suitcase full of fabrics, as I just loved the silks and the hand-woven cottons, and so forth. Their use of colour is inspiring!

–          NL: What your one guilty pleasure?

                                Claire: Dark. Chocolate. Oh. Yeah.

–          NL: The holidays are right around the corner; do you have any exciting plans you’re looking forward to? Anything on your ‘Want List’ this year?

                                Claire: Travel is my passion, and my bucket list of places to go and people to see is long, encompassing much of this planet! I doubt I’d be able to complete it all within the short time of the holidays, but it certainly is nice to dream! High atop my wish list are: a visit to China, a visit to South America (the Galapagos Islands!), and I’d love (LOVE) to go on an African safari… I just need to sell more paintings for these things to happen!

–          NL: Your personal mantra is that “each of us is the maker of our own destiny”. How do you try to enforce that on a daily basis?

                                Claire: I work hard. If I don’t get what I want right off the bat, then I work harder.

–          NL: What advice can you give to other women out there looking to become entrepreneurs or pursuing a creative career?

                                Claire: It’s tough out there, but if you persevere, you’ll find your way. You can’t give up…That’s for other people. If you’re passionate about what you’re doing, then this will come more   easily to you. So find your passion! And don’t forget the importance of marketing yourself. You can have the most wonderful art, but if nobody knows it’s there, it won’t get noticed. One young artist recently told me something that made a whole lot of sense. She said that she knows one thing for certain: that if she does nothing, then nothing will happen. She’s one hundred percent right. In this day and age, we have access to tools that didn’t exist before (social media, such as Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, and many more)… Use them to your advantage!

Are you all as inspired as I am? After talking with Claire, I realized that opportunity comes in the most unexpected of places and often times, catches us off guard. Don’t be afraid to revisit your dreams and as Claire said, ” You can’t give up… that’s for other people“.

 I hope you all enjoyed reading this interview as much as I enjoyed doing it. If you haven’t checked out any of Claire’s work before, take a look at her blog, StudioWorx or at Anthropologie.

Take a peek at some of my favorites….

Nomad Luxuries image of an abstract and cool toned painting.

{ The Better Times }

Nomad Luxuries abstract image of a painting by Claire Dejardins. { No Excuses }

Nomad Luxuries image of abstract painting by Claire Dejardins called "In The Room"{ In The Room }

Nomad Luxuries image of abstract and lighthearted painting by Claire called "Little Kitchen". { Little Kitten }

Nomad Luxuries image of abstract painting called "Surprised at You".{ Surprised At You }

Nomad Luxuries photo of the kala bedding set at Anthropologie. { Kala Bedding Collection at Anthropologie }

Nomad Luxuries photo of Watercolour Weekender bag. { Watercolour Weekender Bag at Anthropologie }

Please help me welcome Claire with some lovely comments below and thanks for reading!




1 Comment

  1. Jelena
    October 16, 2012 / 3:00 pm

    What an inspiration she is and I totally agree with her. Perseverance is everything…Think Big and Don’t give up.

    I appreciate her candor and insight and most of all find your passion and revist your dreams..anything is possible if you want it bad enough! Thanks to both of you for sharing.