February 14th, 2018

Jesse Gussow


MACHA's (aka Mick Boisvert) artwork pulls you in with its bright lined colours. Then you immediately feel the raw and rough layer looks of her work. It’s dark and twisted and looks at an underworld pop culture that many people try to hide yet Mick puts it at the forefront of her art.  At first glance  it looks gross but the more you look at it the more you see the underlining beauty of it all.




Where are you from?

A small town in the boonies of the Outaouais Region: Poltimore, Quebec. Lots of cows and trees; more gravestones and bible beaters than living people I swear.




How did you get started on your artistic journey?

I guess I can truly say that my first memories are of drawing; it's always been my favorite pastime aside from writing. I've always had a penchant for unicorns (especially the skeletal kind), and my desire to adequately draw them was, I suppose, what first ignited the flame. 




How would you describe your work?

I would describe my work as dark psychedelic, drug fueled, existential, nihilistic, stream of consciousness, goreporn...if that makes any sense at all, haha.




Who are your favourite musician and bands? What are your favourite films? What does that say about you?

Bands: KMFDM, Burzum, Bright Eyes, Leftover Crack, Dead Rejects, Eyedea, The Runaways, Eyedea, Devourment, Hole, Alice In Chains, Crystal Castles, Johnny Hobo and the Freight Trains, Pixies, Weezer, Nine Inch Nails, Smashing Pumpkins and many more.

Films: Videodrome, Braindead, Trainspotting, Spun, Drugstore Cowboy, My Own Private Idaho, Toxic Avenger, Nekromantik, Blue Velvet, Pi, A Serbian Film, A Clockwork Orange, Rivers Edge, Antiviral, Requiem For A Dream, Detroit Rock City, Lost Boys, Pet Semetary 2, Breakfast Club and many more

I'd say that my taste in cinema and music reflects my fascination with gore, drug use, poetry, raw expression, morbidity and self-reflection, nostalgia and avant-garde things in general.




Where do you find the inspiration for your work?

I find inspiration in pretty much everything I experience; from the music I listen to, the people I've met, the drugs I've consumed, the books I've read, the mania and the absurdities I've seen in my mind.




How long does it take to complete a piece?

It really depends; I usually bust my sketchpad sized pieces out in a matter of 2-3 days in some sort of ecstatic stream of consciousness outburst. Bigger pieces obviously take longer, and anytime I've tried to start a painting I usually just end up resenting it, myself and the medium in general. I absolutely produce work faster if I'm using my desired tools (fine tipped markers and pencil crayons on Bristol paper), than if I'm stepping out of my comfort zone and into one I find frustrating and unrewarding mostly due to my impatience and neurosis.




What is your favourite subject to make? Why is that?

Subject matter wise I particularly enjoy portraying agony, anatomy, animals, nudity, drug use, mythical creatures; the things most people would rather not see. I feel like that's still simplifying a concept I can't really word.




What is your spirit animal and why?

It's always been a tossup between a wild horse and a black panther. The first because I'm skittish, head strong and unpredictable; the second because I'm either affectionate and purring or upset with my claws out.




I absolutely love the way you use colours to accentuate and outline as opposed to just filling in the work. How did you come to use that aesthetic?

I came to use the outlining-vs-full colour aesthetic because I wanted to find a way to incorporate the psychedelic/neon colours I adore in my art without jeopardizing the attention to detail I use on my figures. Hence, after years of trial and error, I realized that the perfect way to achieve this would be to outline my black and white figures repeatedly with whatever colours I wanted. This also makes the characters pop which I think is important in figure-based artwork.




Has any of your work been featured for bands? Seems like something I could see on a band's CD, a skate board or tattoo.

My work has yet to be featured as a band's album artwork, but I've been commissioned to do pieces by people in bands a few times. In this age of digital art, my style isn't refined enough to end up on covers, which I'm perfectly fine with. When it comes down to it, the issue is the fact that I've neglected to really make an effort in making money off of my art because I simply create for enjoyment of expression a lot of the time. I have no doubt in my mind that that can change anytime I decide.




What's the best thing someone has said about your work?

It's extremely difficult to pinpoint one 'nice' thing somebody has said. I suppose the most touching thing most people have said is that my artwork is truly, uniquely me; scathingly brutal, colourful and honest.




Why do you make art? What is the best thing about being an artist? What's a downside?

That's a tough one. I make art because I feel like I would literally off myself or implode if I didn't. I think art is the one thing that is still sacred in the world; being able to vomit your mind onto paper is so freeing and also so fascinating. There have been a lot of things that I didn't really see I had inside me until I looked at my drawings in retrospect. I'm a very nihilistic person, so to have a passion that, to me, is the only thing reaffirming my existence, is infinitely cathartic as well.




How have you improved since you first started, to now?

I think there comes a point in every artistic person’s life where they finally have that eureka moment and can begin to express what they want the way they want. Of course every artist hates themselves to some extent, but one goes through years of trial, and mostly error, before they can even think about mastering their medium. My line-work, pointillism, composition, colour schemes and just general logic have all excelled in recent years, however I'm always painfully aware that I could try harder and be better.




What is the worst job you've ever had, and why?

Definitely working overnights at Smoke's Poutine downtown. The job itself wasn't terrible, however when the only two shifts a week I'd get began to be midnight till 5am on Friday and Saturday night (including St. Patty's Day and Canada Day), it was hard not to become bitter. Although Dollarama on Rideau Street was no walk in the park either; let it never be said that it wasn't amusing though!




What would you like to be more proficient at?

I'd like to start profiting off of my artwork more in the future; which is to say, I need to work on my self-motivational skills when it comes to producing pieces that aren't simply stream of consciousness.





Do you prefer Oreo or Fudgee-O cookies?

Oreos without a doubt!

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