meet an artist mondayPainter Edie Beaucage is all about invention—in her style of abstract portraiture, in her “Californicois” identity as a Quebecoise in sunny SoCal, in her curiosity about the characters she meets and the personalities she imagines, in her intellectual love of art history and her open-hearted embrace of life’s endless possibilities. Her combination of bright, rich hues and muscular layering of brushwork creates flickering surfaces full of texture, light, and shadow; which at the same time are stylized as flattened in a quirky, folkloric way that eschews realism but explores individuality in the subjects. Both autobiographical and fictive, if the paintings seem like characters in a story, it’s because they are. Beaucage’s most recent exhibition of large-scale portraits in this mode opens this weekend at Luis De Jesus Los Angeles, exploring the curious process of discovery that drives her life and inspires her studio practice.

painter edie beaucage

Edie Beaucage: Bestie, 2022. Acrylic on canvas, 77×55 in

L.A. WEEKLY: What is your short answer to people who ask what your work is about?

EDIE BEAUCAGE: If I met you in an elevator and we had 30 levels to spare, I would get into an extra-long post-structuralist version of my pitch. Just kidding! But let’s say that we have only two stories to go. I would say this pretty fast: I am a painter. I love art history, films, and Instagram (last year), and I follow a ridiculous amount of art galleries from everywhere by email. My most significant interest is feeding my imagination and getting to know people I meet daily. I am currently working on a painting exhibition where I make very large portraits, taller than me. The  characters in those portraits are an amalgam of my Quebecois sister Dominique, my brother Michel, and myself as Southern California hipsters.

I am captivated with what is cool, what makes one person cool and another not. As teenagers, my siblings and I were all socially uneasy, had no sense of style, and were very introverted. But rather than dwelling on our past trauma (there was a reason for all this), I wish to explore a positive solution by using autofiction to rewrite the imagery. By transforming us into cool teenagers from Venice Beach, where I live, I am cross-pollinating and materializing my first-generation hybrid offshoots: the happy new Californian-Quebecois—les nouveaux Californicois heureux.

edie beaucage

Edie Beaucage: First Crush, Acrylic on canvas, 77×55 in, 2022

Did you go to art school? Why/Why not?

Yes, I have my MFA from Otis (2010). When I moved from Montreal, I tried to enter the art world  without an MFA. After a while, I realized that I needed to get into an MFA program because I  had to create relationships with the academic world of Los Angeles to get consideration from  any galleries. My MFA was an excellent experience, and I enjoyed doing it very much. I had to  dwell with conceptualist forces, but my paintbrush prevailed. I think that imagination is more  important than post-structuralist theories. It is important to know critical theory today, but if pure imagination is lost or not cultivated, that is THE worst threat to society.

In the last three years, I also participated in Residencies at RCA, Royal College of Art, London;  I did a residency at the Berlin Art Institute BAI, and one with SVA, School of Visual Arts in New  York. These residencies were each specifically a true experience and powerfully engaging. They help me develop my practice in a robust and convergent way. It was fascinating to see the approach for each school and how the art world functions in each metropole. Berlin is strong with experimental spaces, London has a great, specific critical system, and New York is bubbling with people and ideas!

edie beaucage

Edie Beaucage: Self-Portrait, If I Had Been Cool, 2022. Acrylic on canvas, 84×60 in

When was your first show?

After graduating from Otis, my first show was in 2010 at the fabulous CAA Creative Artist  Agency on Avenue of the Stars. They have a fantastic collection of contemporary Californian  art, which I proudly joined. Thao Nguyen curated the exhibition. I was so impressed to have a solo show in that beautiful Gensler building. Just the entrance alone was so stunning. I felt for the first time a real sense of being part of the L.A. art life.


Why do you live and work in L.A., and not elsewhere?

I did an exchange program with my Quebec University to Los Angeles, giving me a taste of life in California. However, what attracted me most was the phenomenal art production invented here. The art schools influence all the art makers to push boundaries, which is dynamic! Plus it is sunny!

edie beaucage

Edie Beaucage: I Love You, 2019. Oil on canvas, 36×48 in

When is/was your current/most recent/next show or project?

I participated in a pop up group exhibition last month in New York. The Yonder Crush show at  Satchel Projects in Chelsea. It was with a group of SVA residency artists. I love showing there. I have a solo show opening this Saturday, March 11, at Luis De Jesus Los Angeles. I can’t wait! All Over the Time consists of all my recent large-scale portraits created with the ideas of  autofiction and “the happy Californicois” I mentioned above. It took me months of practice to  achieve painting my characters directly on the canvas without tracing or projection, just a live paintbrush application. Working on a large scale is crucial because I think it will make the excitement I feel while I paint visible to the viewer. The bold brush strokes and visual variation in the colors bring to life the surprise I discover while painting.


Web and socials:

IG @ediebeaucage

Edie Beaucage: All Over the Time, Studio, 2023





















































































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