A gifted 15-year-old painter, Mégane Fortin sells her paintings in Quebec, New York and California
Her mother says she has “a visceral need to paint”. At 15, Mégane Fortin turns heads and provokes strong emotions wherever she exhibits her paintings, from Quebec City to New York via California. A look at the astonishing journey of this young artist from Stoneham with prodigious talent and a bright future.
Jessie Tremblay realized her daughter's love of art in kindergarten.
“She was just drawing all day. She came back to me every day with a pile of blank sheets with all kinds of drawings, a little bit of DIY, but mostly drawings.”
“In the first year, she continues, it caused a problem. Since she had other subjects to see in class, she no longer had time to draw. Every day, when she arrived in the evening, she was sad, it didn't work. It's as if she had run out of time in her day to draw. It's visceral.”
There was a line
This visceral need never left her. By taking classes and after a memorable encounter with her first teacher, Maurice Louis, Mégane Fortin discovered her passion for painting and abstract art.
It became her life.
“Of course there are people who live without painting, but I don't know how I would do it,” confides the gifted teenager, whom Le Journal met with her mother. and his mentor, Marie-Josée Lépine.
From his first exhibition at Stoneham, at the age of 9, it was madness. All his paintings find takers. When Mégane did it again the following year, the result was the same. “On the day of the opening, people lined up to enter. There were more than 150 people who came from all over Quebec,” recalls her mother, still amazed.
Bonheur, a work by Mégane Fortin from 2017.
Mégane Fortin has an innate talent. What sets her apart? “A sharp instinct for art”, answers the one who has been his teacher, guide and confidante for five years, Marie-Josée Lépine.
“I feel it’s balanced, I feel it speaks. In the movements, there is an energy, an emotion that is transmitted to us. It can't be taught. There are people who could be taught a lot of techniques, but who do not naturally have this natural articulation to do something that is beautiful, that is aesthetic and that is you.”
“I have the impression that it's easy,” says Mégane, without an ounce of pretension in her voice. I feel like anyone would be able to with practice. At first, I watched my old teacher wield his knife and I thought it looked difficult, but eventually I got to a level that I teach. When I give lessons, I see students doing things that are equivalent to what I was doing at the beginning. I think a lot of people would have the ability to do that. At this point, you have to have the time, you have to develop your style, like it.”
Mégane Fortin teaches students at Vision School in Sherbrooke on May 11 .
People are crying
The Mégane style, based on the use of bright colors with a central element, seduces from the first glance. It allowed him to exhibit as far as California and, recently, at the famous Artexpo in New York, where his paintings were acquired by art lovers from Europe and all over America.
Butterfly, a work by Mégane Fortin exhibited in New York, in April 2023.
Flamenco, a work by Mégane Fortin exhibited in New York, in April 2023.
Sunset, a work by Mégane Fortin exhibited in New York in April 2023.
Beyond Mégane's controlled and flamboyant style, it is the emotions aroused by her works that fascinate those around her.
“I remember a gentleman in Montreal. He wanted a canvas of a certain color. Look, I almost had to calm him down, I thought he was going to pass out. It was so strong. People are so filled with emotion in front of his paintings…”, says his mother.
“There are even some who cry,” adds Mégane.
Doors will open
Even if she only has 15, the young painter is now an “established artist” and her future looks “bright”, says her mentor.
“Mégane has always made choices that corresponded to her, that were consistent with who she is, with what she wants. I have the impression that it will be a lot of other doors that will open. She will go in the direction that suits her,” believes Marie-Josée Lépine.
Mégane, whose next dream is to exhibit in Miami because she has learned “that it is the bigger after New York,” takes what could be described as a rational look at its future.
“I will always paint, but I don't want to become a canvas factory, which I paint for money and depend on paint to eat. At some point, maybe I will run out of inspiration and I really don't want that to happen. I want to paint when I feel like it and currently I paint one to three times a week. That's how I like, how inspiration is always there.”
Mégane Fortin and her mom, Jessie Tremblay. It's Mégane who decides
Forget the sad stories of parents who push too hard behind their child's back. At the Fortin-Tremblay, Mégane dictates the way forward.
“Everything comes from Mégane, says her mother. I could almost say that I never asked for anything. I feel like she's ahead of me and I'm running behind. And when I say I'm running, it's because she wants to do business so badly and she has so many offers that she's hard to follow.”
Marie-Josée Lépine quickly understood that Mégane really liked to paint from their first meeting.
“I remember seeing Mégane going up the stairs and giving me the most beautiful smile. When I came home in the evening, I told my boyfriend that I fell in love right away. I seen it was true, it was pure, it was well-intentioned. Once we started working together, I saw that his instinct was real.”
Mégane Fortin and her mentor Marie-Josée Lépine have been working together for five years .
Following your instincts means using art to do yourself good.
“Sometimes, explains Mégane, I'm tired or I've experienced something at school and I want to free myself from that by painting, then there are weekends when I'm super happy and I I want to paint. […] It really helps me.”
“There was one evening, a few weeks ago, when things were really not going well. I was talking to my friend, it was 10 a.m., I had school the next day, but I couldn't help painting. When it's there, it's there.”
“His brain works by color codes”
Behind the dazzling colors of Mégane Fortin's paintings hides a curious phenomenon. Synesthesia, do you know?
A neurological singularity that affects 4% of the population, synesthesia is characterized by the association of two or more senses.
In an interview, the painter gives the example of mathematics. For her, “8 x 8 = 64 is purple”. And 6 x 6 = 36? “It’s red.”
The months of the year? November is purple, while April is pink, May and June are green. Even her emotions have an assigned color.
“When she started school, she told me it was easy because all the numbers have a color. I didn't understand, I thought she was making up colors for her numbers, but that hasn't changed and she's 15. His brain works by color codes”, explains his mother.
Jessie Tremblay has fun telling how her daughter fell in love with a tube of orange paint in the aisles of an Omer DeSerres.
“You were super emotional,” he says. she smiling.
“The orange was brilliant, it was really nice and it was new. I was very happy,” replies Mégane.
Pic bois, a work by Mégane Fortin from her Émergence collection, which was exhibited in California in 2019
“We want it to stay accessible”
Even if art lovers are snapping up Mégane's paintings, her relatives have made the decision not to raise the prices. For now.
In New York in April, Jessie Tremblay priced her daughter's artwork at $2 per square inch (between $1,000 and $2,000, depending on size) , based on its rating established in Quebec. “I was told they should have been sold for double.”
Aware that there is already escalation, the painter's mother prefers to raise prices slowly. “It's the art market, we can't close our eyes to that, but we want it to remain accessible to Quebecers.”
To keep Mégane's art accessible, its abstract creations can already be found on derivative products: toques, microbrewery beer labels, sneakers.
“It means that my friends can get them. Otherwise, they would never be able to buy canvases”, says Mégane.
As for the money raised by her sales, it is mainly used to finance the purchase of her equipment (she regularly “goes to her groceries” at Omer DeSerres) and travel expenses, notes Jessie Tremblay.
“We went to California twice, we came back from New York. It's thousands of dollars. In US. As a mom, I couldn't give this to my daughter. If she didn't have her sales, she wouldn't be able to experience this. Sales always propel her further and that removes the limits she could have financially.”
Mégane Fortin's work is already the subject of a retrospective for sale on her website.