Laucolo: food illustrator
Laurence Deschamps-Léger, aka Laucolo, started to pursue her interest in food images in 2014, becoming a full-time illustrator two years later. Laurence's path is not typical for an artist. She studied international development at McGill University before gradually moving into the agri-food sector. Her lifelong interest in food systems led her to a position with Lufa Farms, where she worked for two years and developed a passion for Quebec produce. After working as a project manager, she decided to start drawing food. Her goal was to raise awareness through illustration.
At the crossroads of art and education
“Agriculture and food are so much more than just what ends up on our plates. If food is an iceberg, our plates are just the tip,” Laurence says. Above all, she draws to make people feel connected to sustainability, seasonality and biodiversity, and she hopes to spark conversations about these key issues. Laurence uses her art to communicate with consumers about agri-food, notably through her newsletter "Mêlons-nous de nos oignons." (“Let’s mind our onions” – loosely, let’s stick to what we know.)
Laurence’s drawings are full of affection and decorative detail, and they are very popular. She has sold her art at craft fairs and online through Etsy. She has also worked on visual and editorial design contracts for various companies, nutritionists and farmers. The beauty of her drawings has also attracted international clients who have purchased her work online. As a matter of fact, there has been growing demand for her to produce work in English.
“Every season has its delights”
A native of Lachine now residing in La Petite-Patrie, Laurence especially loves Jean Talon Market. She found her first point of sale there in 2015 — the Librairie Gourmande cookbook store — where her illustrations are still sold. She enjoys buying her organic fruit and vegetables at the market’s La Ferme des quatre temps and La Ferme Lussier. She is also a regular of Noix du marché, Épices de Cru and Jardins Sauvages (where she has been eagerly anticipating the arrival of this season's fiddleheads), and she buys fresh pasta at Pastificio Sacchetto.
Laurence tries to live in the moment in every season, but she loves the summer and its energy most of all. “That's when I feel at my peak. I'm like a plant!” However, when nature is at its most productive, Laurence’s artistic production slows to halt. “I like to enjoy the summer, spend time in my garden, visit the market, ride my bike…” That's understandable! Once fall arrives, Laurence starts to draw more, from the comfort of her home.
Lately, Laurence has been particularly enjoying drawing tomatoes because they “offer infinite possibilities thanks to their shapes, textures, sizes and colours.” She used to work mainly with watercolours, but she now uses a tablet for all of her illustrations. “There are so many subjects that I have yet to explore! I'm thinking of drawing seeds and grains soon.” While continuing to illustrate, Laurence is thinking of starting a podcast that would explore contemporary food and agriculture issues with guests from Quebec's agri-food sector. She is also planning to write a book addressing these topics that are so important to her. The future holds a lot of exciting projects for this artist who is as radiant as her illustrations!
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