Sylvain Coulombe was born in Montreal in 1971 with an innate desire to create. This early calling, along with the architectural designs of Gaudi and the Bauhaus School, compelled the young artist to enroll at UQAM to study environmental design at the age of twenty-two. This field of study steered the development of Coulombe’s unique visual language which features a variety of palettes, textures, and geometric compositions.
As Sylvain Coulombe developed as an artist, he felt that the canvases he worked on did not lend themselves to his subjects. In an attempt to resolve this, he began to seek out alternate materials to use for the surface of his paintings and soon turned to wood. This base enabled him to use a wider variety of techniques to bring out the depth of his characters. It was at this point that Coulombe’s figures came to life and his distinct artistic style began to develop. Coulombe’s latest works feature a continuation of these techniques; his linear carvings are evident beneath layered application of colours.
For Sylvain Coulombe, painting is playing with feelings and he explores these emotions by transforming colours and textures until they begin to speak to him. Each work he creates is emotionally charged, be it through his development of complex facial expressions, or his choice of colours and gestures. “The feeling inside me is my main inspiration; all my environment and all that I lived is unconsciously digested so that later I can transpose it into my work.” Coulombe represents the human form in a fashion that is curious and strikingly vivid, delivering a surrealist approach to his portraiture. Whether his figures are looking towards the viewer or off into a distant world, a relationship is developed between the spectator and the artwork.