A program of ten workshops with artist Valerian Mazataud (photographer)

Winter 2023

Skol / Innovation Youth collaboration

Skol is proud to collaborate with Innovation Youth, an organization whose mandate is to offer a community space for youth and families living in or frequently visiting downtown, opening up the possibilities of integration into academic, family, and social life.

Skol participates to this mandate by presenting art workshops, given by a Skol member and based on the artist’s process.

Workshop description

Forestventures with the brave kids

For the past few years, I’ve had the opportunity to create or contribute to the creation of photographic books. I’ve found in them a generous and flexible narrative space that perfectly aligns with the type of stories I want to tell through images. Furthermore, I’ve integrated photography workshops into my artistic process since 2015. Therefore, the merging of the two seemed like a logical continuation of my process.

At the end of 2022, the Skol Center for Contemporary Arts offered me the opportunity to materialize this merging through a series of workshops with the organization Innovation Jeunes. I was to take over from two writers who had worked on creating youth stories. The goal was to finalize these stories by creating illustrations through photography, and then combining the two into an illustrated book.

With around ten young adults from the Connections program, we gathered for ten workshops during the winter of 2023. Together, we sifted through the text of the stories to isolate excerpts that seemed more visual: here, a speaking accessory like a video game controller, there, an evocative scene such as the appearance of a ghost.

At each meeting, several small groups of three students worked on creating an image that would then find its place in the book’s pages. Thus, in one corner, we photographed a close-up of a vampire’s jaw, while in another, we captured rays of colored light at low speed, and meanwhile, a third group created a mosaic of photos. Here, technical learning (cameras, lighting, digital editing and assembly, etc.) is not an end in itself but becomes a tool in service of the story.

With dozens of images in hand, the final step was to co-create the layout of the book: sequencing of photos, layout suggestions, choice of font, format, binding, and of course, the title. The final layout was created by the Sagamie Center, and the book was printed by Caius.

For me, this approach of co-creation through artistic workshops allows for strong interdisciplinary technical learning experiences and brings them to fruition by successfully completing projects that both participants and artists can be proud of.