Etienne Saint-Amant Artist and a Master of Science Canada

February 3, 2018 by Laura Gomez


Etienne Saint-Amant is master of sciences and professional artist in technological arts. He specializes in the conception of large-format artworks designed and described in a mathematical language. He is a specialist, lecturer and pioneer in this field. He is the author of formulas and equations that translate into various tools for artistic composition. He is dedicated to conceptual research and creation of contemporary artworks.

After six years of development of the mathematical arts, he had his first solo exhibition named Aleph in Sherbrooke. Subsequently, solo and group exhibitions both occured in Canada and internationaly. He won several fellowships, awards and commendations.

He represented Canada in visual arts at the Expo 2010 Shanghai China, in the Canada Pavilion.

As a member of Sherbrooke Connectivity Imaging Laboratory (SCIL), he produced a brain medical image of his own white matter network that he modified both mathematically and structurally. His works Selfportrait I and Selfportrait II are derived from this approach.

He is named among a short list of contemporary Canadian artists with the best potential resale value in the article “Comment s’enricher avec… l’art” (how to become richer with… the art) by Sylvie Dugas, les Affaires, July 9 and 16, 2011.

We find his work in many public, institutional and private collections. He is the lead artist of several projects of integration of art to the architecture; an area of expertise he is particularly fond.

Artist lnterview:

Name: Etienne Saint-Amant
Age: 39
Birthday: September 4th
College: Master of Science (M.Sc.), 2011, Université de Sherbrooke, Specialization in Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Diffusion (of the human brain)
Colours: That near violet that we see as black but hummingbirds could see
Books: Dune, Ubik, The Man in the High Castle
Movie: Blade Runner, A Clockwork Orange, 2001 : A Space Odyssey

Food: Confort food!

Quote: “We can evade reality, but we cannot evade the consequences of evading the reality” – Ayn Rand

For how long have been in art? How did you start? I’ve always loved art! I’ve started professionally in 2003 with my first solo exhibition. That was after a long period of developing and researching of how I could use mathematics as a mainstream art medium.

How would you define yourself as an artist? I’m a passionate of art and science. I wanted to combine those two passions as much as possible and evolve through them with creativity. So I perceive myself as a scientific explorer that look for interesting knowledge and, then, use his findings to create conceptual artworks.

Would you tell us some things about yourself? Please include a few little known facts about you as well. I’m too much loner and I protect my peace and liberty fiercely. I’m a thinker. I’ve always been very strong in school but not completely passionate by the institution. For me, creating my own enterprise was a necessity. I’m really happy when I create something I can be proud of! I’m a father of two children, a boy of 8 and a girl of 2 and they are way beyond perfect. I was the brother of the most brilliant human being I ever met. She passed away last year at 42… I’m still devastated. My father is a physicist and shared with me, very early, his love of science. My primary language is French and I’m a French Canadian although I have apparently a lot of Great Britain ancestry.

‘In my personal view of nature, awareness of the implications of chaotic mechanisms is predominant. For me, chaos is the total causality of deterministic events. It is important to not only see the instability and disorder of chaos but to see its real power as a fundamental, creative and evolutionary force. My artistic vision is strongly influenced by this view.

Conscious and unconscious thought also plays into this view. From this emanates my desire to create work that speaks to these synergies. I use paradoxes and juxtapositions to sensitize the viewer to a certain event or a certain idea. Throughout my work, attention to composition on different scales invites us to first casually glance at, and then more minutely scrutinize details that are revealed gradually as we come closer to the work. I wish to submerge viewers into a dense and rich work, creating a strong atmosphere.

The technique I use stems from avant-garde scientific concepts but also rests on several classical principles. Being master of sciences, I am profoundly interested in mathematics. I create my style, techniques and tools guided by scientific principles all throughout the process. It’s with these tools and this knowledge that mathematics spring to life and become matters and pigments.

Each artworks are the end result of a long process that has brought together these elements. In this world, the challenge is great because everything is indirect and abstract: I play with mathematics in order to achieve the right notes, the right feelings, the right energy.’
Etienne Saint-Amant



Where do you find inspiration? Previous arts, like in the 19th century beaux-arts. In mathematics. In books. In my exploration of sciences.

What are you trying to communicate with your art? Generally speaking, I want to convey an emotional response through an artwork. It must also be aesthetical because I believe that being surrounded by aesthetics help unconsciously to elevate the human mind. I want to embed some form of knowledge. I’m also using paradoxes to bring up questioning that usually serve to nuance our minds; paradoxes exist and must exist to understand the reality.

What art do you most identify with? Mathematical art. Technological art. And abstract art too.

Why do you do … what you do? Because creating is a way of life and you can apply that social act which is art sharing that can perfuse many minds! It’s a language that you don’t have to read but that you have to feel. Artists are one of the important vector working to make the world better.

What does “being creative” mean to you? Think freely, dare, break down barriers, don’t care to fail, learn from your failures, converge to something greater than you.

Any shows, galleries, or publications where our readers can find your work? I always have some works in my representing galleries : l. I’m planning to do more international art shows and art fairs. I’m currently working on my future exhibitions. I’m pretty overloaded with my creation schedule at the moment and I really can’t complain.

How do you cultivate a collector base? By always building win-win situations with my collectors. They are my best ambassadors so I keep them informed of my projects. They have to feel free to contact me.

Which is your most cherished piece? I don’t know! I always do something unique, a particular evolution or a discovery, on every art piece I’m publishing. Because I want all of them to witness something special and truly unique about me. And all my cares go to the artwork I’m working on (when I’m working)!

If you had an exclusive collective exhibition with other artists work, who would you choose? I’m thinking about it and I don’t know! My work doesn’t fit that well with the ones of my inspirational masters.

What do you see as the strengths of your pieces, visually or conceptually? There is a very strong concept behind the idea of creating a purely mathematical description of an artwork : we avoid totally the media. Plastic art relies on materials (matter). Photography relies on capturing the light (energy). Well, mathematic art doesn’t even need matter or energy. It’s the purest form of abstraction and one important consequence is that I work in an infinite mathematical precision which let me create a perfect resolution artwork. It’s really a conceptual grail that bluff the world of art.

What aspect of your work do you pay particular attention to? Emotional power.

What role does the artist have in society? Through his/her art, he/she communicates something precious. With the integration of art within our environment we contribute to elevate our mind and we build up the identity of the society. Culture is the lungs of a society.

What is your most treasured memory? The births of my children.

What for you is the most enjoyable part of your art? Discoveries are the most enjoyable part!

What famous artists have influenced you, and how? J. M. W. Turner with his incredible evocation of pure light. Leonardo Da Vinci because of the blend of science and art… and the awesome quality of all his works.

What other interests do you have outside of art? Hiking, bicycling, skiing, kayaking. I play tennis and squash. I love cooking. I love cinema. I love to play games in general.

Some short questions now:

more Colours: I’m falling often for orange. But I really love all colours.

Textures: Atmospheric textures

Define your art: Chaotic, in the sense that chaos has the power to bring up some new properties from an apparently unorganized state.

Prizes: I received the Pericles Prize awarded to one alumnus of Séminaire Salésien (my highschool) who has completed higher education and has a remarkable career

Art Fairs: Affordable Art Fair New York City (2016) and Aqua Art Miami (2017)

Museums: The Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) in New Work, The Museum of Modern Art (Moma), Le Louvre and Le Musée d’Orsay (Paris) and the Musée des beaux-arts de Sherbrooke (the most important museum of my hometown)

Cities: I live in Orford, Quebec, Canada. I was born in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada.

Travels: France, Spain, England, El Salvaldor, Morocco, USA

Artists: Leonardo Da Vinci, JMW Turner, Philip K. Dick, Frank Herbert, so many others…

Music: Radiohead, Air, Tycho, Parov Stelar

Cars: I’m not a fan of car any longer. But I remember that I liked the Pontiac 1969 GTO (The Judge) when I was a kid!

Drones: I have an affordable but really great Dromida Vista UAV!

Mobile App: Facebook mainly, and I don’t use it much… for now 😉

You seem to be very aware of the history of works. Where do you see films, photo exhibitions, art perfomances today? I see films more at home now than cinema but I’m trying my best to see some exhibitions in my surrounding museums, cultural centers and galleries.

How would your life change if you were no longer allowed to create art? I would go all way toward science or I would create a startup or maybe I would die…

What do you think about the art community and market? There is always a lot of interesting things coming from the art community although the way artists share their work is changing (and not always for the best). About the market, it’s really special because market is actually a sign of how well your art can be integrated in various environments (like domestic, business or institutional usage) but it is really a second effect of your creation act. You have to focus on your art and not the market even though the market is what gives you a living. Market is a paradoxical element.

Should art be funded? Why? Yes. Anything that achieves a goal extremely precious and important but that have a greater effect on the future (you can’t monetarize art quick) should be funded.

Which of your projects has given you the most satisfaction? The important contributions I’ve done for the development of this new art form that mathematical art is.

Who are the writer’s you admire the most? I would say Frank Herbert.

What about architects and designers? It depends of the century. Presently I like what architect like Zaha Hadid has done. A bit in the past, I’m really impressed by the work of Victor Horta.

What else are you working on at the moment? Next projects? I’ve started a Club with Université de Sherbrooke. We are a bunch of scientists having fun. I have several exhibition projects ongoing. I’m also working with some artificial intelligence experiments.

Share something you would like the world to know about you? I exist and I’m doing passionately large-format artworks!

Define ‘Klassik International’ and ‘Klassik Magazine International’ for the audience?
It is a relief we can have PR NEWS MEDIA ‘Klassik International’ reference for haute culture. Also, many artists, like me, are always looking to develop their international networks so it’s very welcome to reach out a totally new network. ‘Klassik International’ is a reference agency of contemporary arts and culture. Thanks to “Klassik International” and MEDIA NEWS ‘Klassik Magazine International’ for this amazing opportunity!
-Etienne Saint-Amant