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Next show at Quesnel Art Gallery will take you on a fantastic voyage to Atlantis

Miranda Marcotte’s first solo art exhibition opens May 18
Quesnel artist Miranda Marcotte with some of her art work that will be part of her first solo exhibition, Atlantis: A Voyage of the Fantastic, which runs May 18-June 16 at the Quesnel Art Gallery. Lindsay Chung photo

Miranda Marcotte has been busy creating colourful clay dragons and even an octopus as she prepares for her first solo art exhibition.

“Marcotte’s Atlantis: A Voyage of the Fantastic” is the next exhibition at the Quesnel Art Gallery, running May 18-June 16. Marcotte says she is excited, but the idea of filling the room with her artwork is a little daunting.

The show will feature a mix of clay sculptures, acrylic painting and Gouache painting.

Gouache is a new type of paint for Marcotte, and she is loving it.

“It’s considered an illustrator paint because it dries fast,” she explains.

“I love it because I paint fast. The benefit is you can use it like a watercolour, with washes, or like an acrylic.”

Marcotte says she first tried Gouache paints at Christmas time and thought they were great, and she now has a tin full of them.

Marcotte, who grew up in Prince George, has a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology and has completed two years of the Emily Carr Bachelor of Fine Arts program with University of Northern B.C. She moved to Quesnel five years ago for her husband’s job.

Marcotte has really only been trying to show and sell her art in the last year, since her son started school, and she is now focusing on trying to make a career out of it.

“This year, my goal is to make a website and ship art, maybe through Etsy,” she says.

She has been doing art her whole life and started painting and sculpting with clay about two years ago.

“I started doing sculpting with my son’s first birthday cake, with fondant,” she says.

Marcotte’s art is inspired by fantasy, science fiction and comics.

“I’m a pretty big comic geek,” she says with a laugh. “I grew up with Lord of the Rings. I follow a lot of fantasy illustrators who create creatures for Harry Potter.”

Marcotte says there actually are not a lot of fantasy artists in Canada, as far as she can tell.

“So I’m hoping my show will be something really different for a lot of people,” she says.

Scrolling through Marcotte’s Elemental Fantasy Art Facebook page, one finds a lot of photos of clay dragon busts full of character and colour.

“I don’t even know why I started doing dragons,” she says. “I got a bunch of wooden circles from a friend whose dad does woodworking in town and started building things on top of them.”

Marcotte says public reactions to these dragons has been “super positive.”

“A lot of people say they have personality, and they love the colours,” she says. “I’m pretty popular with the children.”

She laughs and adds: “too bad they don’t have money.”

Marcotte’s sculptures and paintings feature a lot of bright colours, and she makes her dragon and octopus sculptures with clay over top of tin foil and wire so they are lighter.

Marcotte chose “Atlantis: A Voyage of the Fantastic” as her exhibition because it gives her lots of room to play. She likes to do a lot of different works, and this exhibition gives her a chance to showcase a wide variety of pieces.

“It’s something a little bit broad, so I can do a bit of anything,” she says.

“I think [I chose Atlantis] because everyone knows ‘Atlantis’ the word, but they don’t really know the mythology behind it. I wanted to do some of what their landscapes could look like and wanted to do a bit of a fake culture. Getting into the different sections was really fun. I didn’t get stuck on one thing.”

“Atlantis: A Voyage of the Fantastic” runs May 18-June 16 at the Quesnel Art Gallery at 500 Northstar Road, with the show opening taking place Friday, May 18 from 7-9 p.m. The show is sponsored by the South Quesnel Business Association.

To learn more about Marcotte, look for Elemental Fantasy Art on Facebook.