JEAN GUITARD /    Contemporary Artist / Calgary


Jean Guitard’s first showing was in Montreal at the Chateau Champlain at the age of 17. His high school art teacher had invited him to share an exhibit. Young and suggestible though, Guitard fell into the bacchanal lifestyle of the Quebec hospitality industry, and for over a decade produced very little art.

In 1990 he moved to Calgary, aware that his years of self-indulgence were not conducive to realizing his dream of being an artist. Once settled in an older, trendy area he found his perspective painting neighbourhood scenes in an impressionist style. He then went door to door selling his works, mostly aquarelle and oil-pastel. He then ventured into golf course portrayals but felt restricted by the work’s limitations. Next was a brief infatuation with Cubism.

In 2012 everything came together: a trip to Puerto Vallarta resonated with him deeply and Puzzle Painting was born. Mayan influences and Mexican graffiti proved catalysts for a unique style that incorporates colour, geometry and embodies emotion.

Guitard is a quintessential artist. He paints when he feels the kaleidoscope of moments and images in his head need to come together on canvas. He believes that adhering to a strict schedule with the primary goal of commercial success authentic expression is negated. He prefers that his art unfolds as his life does. Interactions will percolate for weeks until he is home in his sun-drenched studio to interpret them.

His recent work is intricate, but key elements continue to be incorporated: raised dabs of encircled gold, delicate string-like strands, and geometric squares. He works his canvas from the borders in, not from sketches but from his mind’s eye. Vivid and immediately pleasing, every work has a unique story that comes to light with repeated viewing.