Rémi LaBarre

Inspiration comes from evenings of shared looks between a man & a woman...


...from a drink that perhaps changed everything and from the jazz musician who noticed it all from the stage.


''The man in me " - Bob Dylan

In Thetford Mines, Remi LaBarre gets a first glance of the world.   

In his childhoold, he draws, often, on paperboards and paper… One day, a friend who paints suggests testing this medium. He thus gets some brushes, a few colors and his first painting will dry throughout the days of September 1994. 

He is a self-taught: his training is 15 years drawing in a child's room and 3000 pages of books and magazines on art...

Since then, several paintings have been done, whether portraits or still life, all tales told. These canvases reflect the lighting of hushed environments pointing to the sensitivity of his influences, including John Singer Sargent and Richard Schmid. 

If you ever meet me, the best compliment is to let me know that you actually hear the song that the musician is playing on the canvas …to tell me that you recognise the perfume that the woman has on in the painting.


A few answers…

What is your greatest inspiration?

Music it is. I love live music and I have seen so many shows. My favorite jazz club in Montreal is House of Jazz. Over the years, I have seen live musicians performing in places like Preservation Hall in New Orleans, Ryman Auditorium and Blue bird café in Nashville, an old dance hall and a Gospel church in Texas, an open mic in Austin, a cabaret in New York, Sun Studios in Memphis, La Scala in Milan, Viper Room, Rainbow and House of Blues in LA, Ronnie Scott in London, on the streets of Havana, Barcelona, San Francisco, Seattle, Cuzco (pan flute) and in Jamaica (reggae of course), Moulin Rouge in Paris, Fado houses in Lisbon … 

How do you decide what to paint?

Sometimes it is a particular lighting (say a light through a glass of Brandy for example) or a few colours that I want to explore. Sometimes I just put every musical instruments, hats, accessories around and wait for the model to pick something and see what type of visual story they’ll write around it…In a small personal handbook, I keep dozens of idioms, lines from books and songs that will inspire me eventually for a painting. In return, I like to think that I have my own titles that could eventually inspire songwriters: modern pirate; opening line; addicted to love; cigarette voice; I am love; somnambule de toi; why is the city always following me? Please someone write a song based on one of these  ;) 

How do you paint, what is the technique, what tube do you use…? 

I always answer: ”I just put Leonard Cohen’s music on”

I start drawing the sketch directly onto the canvas with a regular HB wood pen. Then I paint the background with my ten year -old brush that I still use these days (about 8 cm). For all these steps I listen to up tempo music, rock, etc (Arcade Fire, Indochine, Of Monsters and men …). The more I pursue the painting, brushes are getting smaller and music is getting quieter (David Bowie, Lana Del Rey). I usually end up listening to jazz or folk music; a song from Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan or even a Tom Waits’ ballad. 

What about primary colors ? 

I find my yellows in a brass saxophone, my reds in Pinot Noir and my blues in the eyes of a woman...

A few words …


Nostalgia, musical, feutré, sensual, jazzy, poetic, theatrical, old-fashioned, mysterious, meilé, vaporous, impression, paixão, sensitive, humanity, cabaret, chapelier.

Tom Waits - I wish I was in New Orleans

New Orleans, birthplace of Jazz

E.James-It's a Man's Man's World

Thanks to nnigani from Bulgaria for this great video...

"...you can read their address by the moon" - Leonard Cohen

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''There's no better way 

To touch the sky 

Than to stay grounded'' - RL


Rémi LaBarre