Hedonism Has an Expiration Date

© Joelle Provost

© Joelle Provost

I think in ways humanity has gotten worse, but we may also be on the cusp of things getting much better.


  Joelle Provost 


Environmental Artist


Joelle Provost, Dispensable  Matter, 2017

Joelle Provost, Dispensable Matter, 2017

   Who are you? What do you do?

I’ve recently dedicated myself fully to large scale ink drawings regarding the theme “Hedonism Has an Expiration Date”. This idea permeates much of my recent drawings. The drawings themselves are based loosely off of Leonardo da Vinci’s washes, but with contemporary subject matter.

Where are you from?

I was raised in the Bay Area, California.

Your style in 3 words?

My style is rough, diaristic, sincere

Your weakness? Your strength?

As a painter, my greatest weakness is obsessively pushing works too far in fear of not getting credit if I’ve only work X amount of hours on a piece and not more. My Greatest strength? The very same obsessiveness or drive to create

What makes you different?

Often when I paint, I paint alongside my bunny rabbits and my cat with fur and hay strewn about the hardwood floors. These pets provide a sense of ease and bring nature itself into my room as I paint or draw.

When did you decide to become an artist?

I decided to dedicate myself fully to my art a few years ago, though in retrospect this has been so for the entirety of my waking life.

Joelle Provost, You Are the Swamp, 2017

Joelle Provost, You Are the Swamp, 2017

What do you find most fascinating about the creative process?

I think the most fascinating part of creating is when there are ideas buzzing around my head like a swarm of bees, but I just don’t know how to visually release them in a way that makes sense. But after simply getting started, the ideas that were swarming around my head end up spilling out. I consider art making sometimes like cooking with a loose recipe- the thoughts are like ingredients to the stew but forcing those thoughts to come out perfectly is to squelch potential unexpected beauty in the process. It’s important to not follow the recipe word for word but to have some idea to begin with. Does that make sense?

A few words about your favourite creation?

The piece below, “Nostalgia for a Place Unknown” is one of my lesser known favourites because to me it expresses the feeling of the innocence of wading in water in the middle of rocks and forest. I often feel bored in these types of places, really, ready to go back to work. But because trees and the ecosystem have been taken for granted and now are being threatened, there is a new level of reverence for the natural backdrop of California so this work has thus become more meaningful for me. 

Someone else’s work that inspired or inspires you…

William Kentridge and his work ‘Stereoscope’, 1999, illustrate issues of corporatism and the power of political turmoil on a given individual. I appreciate Kentridge’s ability to bring forth these topics to the table. Also, his technique is so simple; he gave me permission to take drawing seriously and to distil forms to their most important state in my own work. 

Joelle Provost, Yolo Fast Goobye, 2017

Joelle Provost, Yolo Fast Goobye, 2017

A new project coming up or an idea you want to work on?

I am having a second large solo exhibition this fall that is an encore to my previous show in March, also dedicated to the environment. The ultimate goal is to give back to the world through both funds from the art but also through the art work itself. The idea mentioned above, that “Hedonism Has an Expiration Date” and other themes of anthropocentrism will be threaded throughout much of the work featured there.

Finish the sentence „More important than my career is…“

The well being of the planet and its inhabitants 

2017: Where are we going?

I think it’s easy to foresee that our future appears bleak with plastic filling up the ocean and Puerto Rican infrastructure obliterated, etc. However, when Aerosol was introduced it made a huge hole in the Ozone that no one thought could be healed. Very shortly after Aerosol was banned, the Ozone layer did in fact heal! Things can absolutely heal if we create policies like carbon taxes, and usage of plastic bags results in jail time, etc—we are not far off from here despite what ugliness seems to prevail. I think in ways humanity has gotten worse, but we may also be on the cusp of things getting much better. 

When the going gets tough… The ones who survive are fit, have a low carbon footprint and are community minded.

© Joelle Provost

© Joelle Provost

Your city’s favourite spots?

Even though I’ve heard the Legion of Honor in San Francisco is pretty corporate, I still love that side of San Francisco. It’s a fantastic Museum. I also love the gallerists at Townsend Gallery on Geary street in SF.

Do you have a vision?

Absolutely. For my art the vision -as stated previously- is to reach a broader audience and enrich the viewer with time sensitive subject matter. The vision for the world is that we somehow figure out how to put a halt to our destructive actions and live more locally out of necessity. The world may look radically different, and soon.

 Tell us about your future plans…

International recognition and philanthropy is the ultimate goal. 

Last but not least: what is your favourite Song?

Boards of Canada are one of the main groups that have fueled so many of the drawings I have created. Their entire Boc Maxima album is fantastic. I can’t think of one particular song, because that wouldn’t be fair to the entire undulations that make up the whole album start to finish.

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