A sonic artist advocates for the visual arts.

All photos:  Mathieu Proulx

All photos:  Mathieu Proulx

Apollo sound creative Pascal Desjardins curates Apollo Studios' contemporary art collection. Here, he shares his vision for new ways creative businesses can support the arts.

Lets get this out of the way, why would a music studio invest in the visual arts?

The creative environment at Apollo Studios lends itself to the visual arts. We work with images and visual composition every day and it lends to the appreciation of a painting or sculpture. And we think the same is true of our clients. They really seem to enjoy the pieces we share with them. Plus, the exhibits make the studios more dynamic, in that they generate discussion. Its a great added value that shows our interests go above and beyond sound creativity. Our art collection is an enriching extension of our culture.

How is this model different from, say, coffee shops that hang artists work for sale?

It may seem on the surface to be the same model, but our approach differs in terms of the quality and significance of the pieces. The works we bring into our space are the result of a serious curatorial endeavor, done in collaboration with reputable contemporary art galleries. The artists are of an international caliber, many have had their work featured in major museums like the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal or have had work acquired by major private collectors like Banque Nationale.

How much of this is mercantile in nature and how much of it is in the spirit of supporting contemporary artists?

This approach isn't intended to mimic the sales model of galleries. Our objective is to build a bridge between two worlds. We want to introduce advertising creatives to exciting contemporary visual artists. We curate the work with the goal of generating interest in the artists, but we don't aim to make a sale. That said, if one of our clients is interested in a acquiring a piece, then great!

Pascal Desjardins and his partner at La petite commission, Roxanne Arsenault.

Pascal Desjardins and his partner at La petite commission, Roxanne Arsenault.

Whats your background in art?

I studied visual arts at l’Université de Montréal alongside Peter Krausz, Serge Tousignant and Pierre Granche, all of whom are important figures in contemporary art in Québec. I developed this unbridled passion for contemporary art and started collecting some major works. I then founded La petite commission with Roxanne Arsenault who is the programming coordinator at the much celebrated Centre Clark. We specialize in the visual production of content featuring contemporary art and private curation. La petite commission handles Apollos collection and the exhibits featured in the studios. I consider myself self-taught, someone who believes that contemporary art is essential.

Do creative companies who are actively involved in commercial work have a responsibility towards the arts?

The very mission of the work I do is to steer the conversation away from responsibility and instead focus on mutual opportunities. When you look at the big picture, this is about everyone being enriched in one way or another. If companies like Apollo have the buying power to invest in art, and in turn benefit from that investment by exposing their clients to something of cultural and artistic value, then everybody wins: the investors, the artists and the clientele. Plus, there are some really great fiscal advantages to investing in Canadian artists. Contemporary art has enriched my life as a collector and as a simple admirer, thats really at the heart of all this. And yes, I think that commercial enterprises that work in creative fields should always be looking for ways to benefit the broader arts community.

What's your latest addition to the collection?

We recently acquired a superb painting by Dil Hildebrand entitled Peepshow that is in our Toronto studio. It’s a colossal piece, where the artist presents an abstract and figurative depiction of his studio. We view the artist’s studio as though looking through different pictorial mediations. It’s a really imposing and striking piece to behold!