Nestled on a quiet acreage and surrounded by trees, Eric Ouimet works late in his studio mapping out future projects. Pieces scaling from small screen prints on paper to 5 ft wide painted birch panels surround the artist as he conceptualises new ideas for an upcoming show with Mayberry Fine Art.
Ouimet grew up on a grain farm near St. Agathe, Manitoba that has been in his family for over 150 years. By the 1980s, the smaller acreage meant it was mostly a hobby farm, but Eric helped out where he could, by driving the grain truck around when needed and cutting the acres of grass that circled the homestead. Outside of school and working on the farm, Eric often spent time admiring the prairie landscape that surrounded him. The slower pace of life suited him just fine; he would spend hours either drawing vast country estates or developing floor plans for palatial homes modelled after the contemporary architecture he saw on television growing up. These modern structures were unlike anything the artist saw around him and this childhood fascination with domestic space and expansive terrain remains a touchstone in Ouimet’s work.
In university, Ouimet specialised in Graphic Design, often wondering how he might make a career out of his passion for art. He graduated from l’Université de Saint-Boniface with a degree in Communications and Multimedia before working in television as an award-winning motion graphics designer and creating logos and other branding material for many Western Canadian companies. His love for both art and design led naturally to the process of screen printing with an emphasis on narrative. He gravitated towards artists like Andy Warhol, Edward Hopper, and David Hockney for their unique depictions of minutiae around them; he credits these artists as sources of inspiration in his own work. Beginning with colour blocking to create his unique contrasts and colour combinations, Ouimet then hand prints details in black ink or paint. The artist finds the printing process relaxing and believes a piece to be finished when he has successfully told the story he’d hoped to with a particular work.
Looking to the city as a source of inspiration, Ouimet’s oeuvre has been especially influenced by the iconic turn-of-the-century architecture in Winnipeg, which featured in many of the works in his first solo show Mayberry Fine Art in 2022. Nightfall was Ouimet’s most ambitious show to date and cast a nostalgic gaze upon uninhabited prairie spaces.
Following his successful first solo show with Mayberry Fine Art, Ouimet continues to work on new works of art on the acreage he shares with his husband, Steve, and their property manager, a Shi Tzu named Pretzel.