About

Biography

Gigi Retzo is an artist and anthropologist, currently settled in Montreal.

Her multidisciplinary practice was shaped in part by her many years living abroad in diverse cultural settings that opened her mind to divergent and clashing perspectives. Her passions for mental health and reading, otherwise, fueled her development. Passions that led her to studying literature in Stockholm, Sweden, and introduced her to countless great thinkers who challenged her values further, and influenced her evolving artistic direction.

Invariably thirsty for knowledge and intrigued by the potential of the human psyche, she continued to nourish her ardor for information and stories thereon. Books and people feeding into her every creative move ad infinitum. Especially those with the potential to change her mind, or to teach her something new about herself, others, and what we are capable of despite the cards dealt to us throughout our lives. An intellectual predilection particularly emphasized when she is giving art workshops and support to individuals afflicted with severe mental health ailments, or producing large public art works that involve community engagement.

With an unusual and eclectic set of experiences, and an ardent desire to push her know-how and perceptions, Gigi now uses mixed media to explore and illuminate that which defines, unites and divides us in this day and age.

Artist Statement

Ever since I was a toddler, art has kept me going. As a means of escape and to cope, the infinite worlds conveyed by imagination became a boon to my survival early on in life. Avidly reading and actively seeing the creative potential of everything and everyone around (and within) me paved the way to a fragile yet resilient hope in humanity. One that continues to shape my evolving artistic direction.

As I moved around Europe, North and Central America during my childhood and adolescence, I underwent a relentless anthropological exploration. A study that underlined our internalized contradictions, disparities between the concepts of fitting in and belonging, our common need to (re)connect, as well as our poorly understood individual and societal multiplicity.

My multidisciplinary practice pushes the boundaries of our sensibility to self-plurality, mental health and the human experience in a culturally complex landscape. My work often alludes to a long-lost innocence and sheds light on psychological and philosophical dilemmas that envelop us. It encourages people to question what defines them, to open their minds to differing plights and perspectives that surround them, and to become more pro-active about breaking down barriers that stifle psychogenic progress.

I use mixed media, abstraction, symbolism, metaphors, repetition, space and words to explore and express concepts and interrogations related to the struggles many of us undergo these days, regardless of where our roots lie. As I foster my artistry and literacy, I wonder how to break away from the walls we’ve built around ourselves in a desperate attempt to feel safer and to make sense of our world; walls that ironically keep us apart and at chronic risk of collapse.

Beyond abolishing shuttered structures, I seek to empower people of all ages and backgrounds to dig into their inner realities and perceptions to build bridges and stronger communities.

What we do!

Services

Paint your walls!

Inside or outside, small or large. If you have walls you want painted, with a little more pazzaz and meaning than a solid colour can grant you, let’s talk. I’ll listen, then make you a couple colourful proposals. Thereafter, I got you covered. You’ll have a quality piece to lighten up your day or business, and all at a competitive and affordable price. Guaranteed.

Paint your fence!

Tired of seeing the same old wooden fence? Have you thought of livening it up with some amazing art? You ought to! It transforms a yard completely. When you do, let’s chat. I’ll listen to your needs and suggest a couple of designs. Thereafter, your outdoor living space will be transformed. And you’ll wonder why you hadn’t thought of doing this before.

Paint a canvas!

What I do is listen. Thanks to empathy and my cultural baggage, I’ve learned to tune in to people’s story. Tell me yours and where you’d like the commissioned art piece to hang, then prepare to be happily surprised. You can expect quality, attention to detail, and transparency. I may not know how the final product will look at first, but I will keep you posted every step of the way. And you can be sure it will be done with meticulous love and care.

Collaborate

If you’re a fellow artist and have a project or idea you’d like us to work on together, get in touch. I’d love to consider your proposal.

Curriculum Vitae

Education

2006

BAC in Literature, Lycée Français St-Louis, Stockholm, Sweden

2003

Grade 9 & 10, Western High School, Fort-Lauderdale, FL, USA

Public Art

2021

Coeurs aimants, 26 cement garden beds | art/literary installation, in collaboration with the Maison culturelle et communautaire de Montréal-Nord, the municipal library and the poet Nelly Onestas – Daou, Montreal, QC

One-Way, 82 x 3 meters path, Saint-Zotique, QC

Fruit of Empathy, 5 x 1.5 meters vinyl banner, in collaboration with Institut pacifique, Paroles d’excluEs and the Maison culturelle et communautaire de Montréal-Nord, Montreal, QC

Ruby Slippers, 2 x 22 meters mural, in collaboration with Coop de Solidarité Éconord, Soverdi and the Montreal-North borough, Montreal, QC

Group Exhibitions

2020

Festival des arts, 13th Edition, Maison culturelle et communautaire de Montréal-Nord, Montreal, QC

6th Edition, Le Showfrette: Weekend en lumière, Beloeil, QC

2019

12th Edition, Les fenêtres qui parlent, Montreal, QC

What the Pop!, YES | Marché Bonsecours, Montreal, QC

Festival des arts, 12th Edition, Maison culturelle et communautaire de Montréal-Nord, Montreal, QC

Expo Pop-Up: March, Art Cible | Atelier Galerie 2112, Montreal, QC

Expo Pop-Up: February, Art Cible | Atelier Galerie 2112, Montreal, QC

Art Fairs, Markets & Symposiums

2022

(upcoming) 2nd Edition, On aura tout vu, Prévost, QC – date TBD

(upcoming) 25th Edition, Symposium Artiste sur le Champ, Chambly, QC – date TBD

(upcoming) Salon du disque et des arts underground, 11th Edition, Under the Snow Festival, Montreal, QC – date TBD

2021

Parcours des arts de l’Assomption, Assomption, QC

2019

22nd Edition, Symposium de peinture de Prévost, Prévost, QC

Salon du disque et des arts underground, 10th Edition, Under the Snow Festival, Montreal, QC

Cultural Mediations

2020 – present

Art Workshops, Clef d’arc, Montreal, QC

Media, Press & Publications

2019

15th Anniversary Collector’s Booklet, ELAN Quebec, p.30, Aug. 26th

« La peinture pour se sentir bien », by Emma Guerrero Dufour, Journal des citoyens, p.3, Aug.

Continuing Education

2020

Négocier son contrat: un art qui s’apprend et qui rapporte, RAAV, Montreal, QC

2019

Archives et inventaire de l’artiste, RAAV, Montreal, QC

Mental Health First Aid Training, Mental Health Commission of Canada, Montreal, QC

Building a Project around Oral History, COHDS | Concordia University, Montreal, QC

Emotional Resilience While Performing Traumatic Narratives: Part II, COHDS | Concordia University, Montreal, QC

2017

Miser sur son intelligence émotionnelle, Groupe MP-Plus, Montreal, QC

2013

The Social Context of Mental Health and Illness, Coursera | University of Toronto, Toronto, ON

Activities Inspiring My Practice

2019 –present

Attendant & Animator, Clef d’arc, Montreal, QC

2020

Volunteer, Face-à-Face, Montreal, QC

2018-20

Secretary/Vice-President, School Committee, École primaire Sainte-Gertrude, Montreal, QC

2016-18

Paralegal, Manon Dion Avocate, Montreal, QC

2006-07

English Teacher & Teacher’s Assistant, Torre Alta Montessori School, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

Arts & Culture Volunteering Experience

2019

Harmonies, Museum Ball, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, QC

Mtl en Arts Festival, Montreal, QC

Halte-Femmes Montréal-Nord, Montreal, QC

MURAL Festival, Montreal, QC

Comité de mobilisation citoyenne, Fête des voisins | Un Itinéraire pour tous, Montreal, QC

Papier 19 | Art Fair, Montreal, QC

2016

Papier 16 | Art Fair, Montreal, QC

Collections

Private collection, Quebec, QC

Private collection, Montreal, QC

Private collection, Windsor, ON

Upcoming Events…

 

Press