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“Creating was always the mode of expression that came most naturally to me.”

A Tapestry of Creative Influence

Tracy Maurice, an accomplished multidisciplinary artist based in Montréal, has an artistic journey as diverse and rich as the media she explores. Born into a working-class family in Welland, Ontario, Maurice’s environment was pragmatic yet steeped in creativity, with her parents embodying a spirit of resourcefulness and artistic flair. Her father is a self- taught engineer, woodworker, and gardener, while her mother is an excellent chef who imparted skills in cooking, painting, and sewing. This upbringing in a household where creativity was a natural part of daily life profoundly shaped her artistic identity.

Maurice’s artistic voyage was punctuated by significant experiences that molded her creative perspective. Homeschooling during a leg injury provided a unique space for
introspection and creativity, fostering a comfort with solitude that later became crucial to
her artistic process.

Another transformative moment in her youth was participating in an older friend’s film project, which received funding from the District School Board of Niagara for its script of cautionary tales for teens. Maurice and a friend spent the last summer before high school gathering props from yard sales and constructing and painting sets from scratch in an abandoned elementary school. This experience not only introduced her to set design but also demonstrated the power of creative collaboration.

These early experiences, coupled with the hands-on, pragmatic skills she acquired from working various odd jobs, such as a prep cook, a janitor at a laundromat, and an oxy-acetylene metal cutter, laid a solid foundation for her future in the arts. Her decision to pursue formal education in Craft and Design, and later Art History, marked the beginning of a journey that would see her melding conceptual art with her diverse skill set.

Left: Tracy Maurice, Tommy Crane – Italian Weekend; digital video still from Music Video (Link).

Right: Tracy Maurice, Arcade Fire – Neon Bible Artwork, 2007; 16mm still

Tracy Maurice: Crafting Worlds Through Art

Maurice’s artistic approach is an intriguing amalgamation of research, experimentation, and curiosity that has fostered a profound connection with various artistic mediums. Her work, characterized by a deep engagement with scale, time, and space, often employs the camera to offer new perspectives and create immersive worlds. Her artistic voice is deeply entwined with themes of symbolism, mythology, and the interplay of science and magic, creating a narrative that invites viewers to explore the boundaries of reality and imagination.

The influence of early cinema and stage performance is evident in Maurice’s approach, where analog techniques and digital compositing converge to craft captivating visual narratives. Her work on Arcade Fire’s “Neon Bible” album is a testament to her ability to integrate different art forms, creating a multidimensional experience that resonates with audiences. This project not only showcased her skill in blending visual and performing arts but also underscored her commitment to storytelling, whether through live shows or recorded media.

Tracy Maurice (in collaboration with Eliot Krimsky and Alex Reeves), Phase of Light, 2023: digital video still from Digital video project.
Link to the project.

In the realm of artistic creation, Tracy Maurice thrives in a space that oscillates between solitude and collaboration, control and spontaneity. Her work environment is a testament to this balance, where periods of introspection are as valued as dynamic interactions with fellow creators. This dichotomy is not just a preference but a necessity, allowing Maurice to delve deep into her creative process while remaining open to improvisation and unexpected moments.

Maurice’s workspace is more than just a physical location; it’s a reflection of her artistic philosophy that creativity is not a vocation, it’s a lifestyle choice. This philosophy extends beyond her studio, influencing her daily interactions and activities. This holistic approach not only nurtures her artistic endeavors but also fosters a sense of well-being and community, underscoring the idea that art is not just a profession but a way of life.

Tracy Maurice, Preservation, 2017-2019; 16mm still from Film.
Link to the video.

Tracy Maurice: Influences and Inspirational Echoes

In the constellation of influences that shape Tracy Maurice’s artistic universe, live artist Dana Michel has been an inspirational and influential friend and collaborator. Their collaboration “Jams Do Jams” at MAC Montréal in 2018 was not merely a confluence of artistic visions but an experience that profoundly impacted Maurice’s approach to filmmaking, particularly in cinematography and its connection to performance art. This experience, among others, highlights how interpersonal connections and shared creative pursuits are integral to her artistic growth.

Maurice’s influences extend beyond individual relationships, drawing from a spectrum of sources that include early cinema, stage design, and the seamless integration of technology in storytelling. Her admiration for innovative set designs, as seen in her responses to works like Dimitris Papaioannou’s “The Great Tamer” and Es Devlin’s “Lehman Trilogy,” reflects a broader appreciation for artists and thinkers who challenge conventional boundaries and offer new ways of seeing. These external inspirations, combined with her personal experiences and collaborative ventures, forge a rich tapestry of influences that inform her unique artistic language and vision.

Tracy Maurice & Olivier Grouxl, Arcade Fire – Black Mirror ; digital video still from music video.
Link to the video.

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