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A girl with blue hair looking deep into the dusk of night, arms sitting gently under her chin with plants growing out of her limbs, was painted by Corinne Blouin, who calls her the “Observer.” The Observer is one of many pieces that Blouin says is influenced by her everyday wellness and healing practices. 

An Angus Reid study found that younger adults were more likely than any other demographics to identify as desolate; those who suffer from both loneliness and social isolation. Sharing art can be used as a tool to help young adults get through these states of loneliness and isolation.

The world needs the arts and its contributions now more than ever. The 27-year-old painter who has been in the art industry for about six years is helping to fulfil that very need by sharing her art through social media.

Born in Sherbrooke, Blouin came to Ottawa for school where she attended Collège La Cité to study reiki. Reiki, a form of energy healing through harnessing cosmic energy, is the fuel that Blouin says she runs on. 

“A lot of my illustrations are inspired by my own healing practices. I study energy work so it has a lot to do with emotion and unblocking emotion,” she said.

Blouin says her passion is art and the greatest gift she can receive is sharing her paintings with the Ottawa community. She says the toughest part about being an artist is feeling ‘worthy’.

“For me personally it’s dealing with the worthiness of being an artist. I often struggle feeling worthy of this job. It’s my dream job and I love it so much that I feel so lucky to do it.” 

Blouin says since the pandemic started it’s been hard for her to express her art because of self-isolation. She says going on walks and placing her artwork within neighbourhoods in Ottawa has been her “lifesaver” throughout quarantine.  


Creating for Others

“Over the summer I was feeling really down because my bread and butter is painting for festivals, to be in crowds and engaging with people at events. So because I didn’t have any contracts this summer, which is not natural for me, I spent my time painting inside.”

Blouin says because she felt secluded in isolation it was hard for her to create her usual larger, complex paintings; instead, she crafted smaller ones.

“Eventually I had so many laying around I didn’t want to sell them, so I just felt like offering them,” she says. “I started hiding them around the city, which got me exploring parts of the city that I usually wouldn’t see.”

The artist’s street offerings consist of leaving smaller art pieces across the city of Ottawa. 

“It’s pretty cool for an artist to take so much of their time, energy, resources, and money and create all of this gifted art to give out to anyone in the public who wants it,” says co-founder/producer of Music.Art.Ppl Peter Albert, “It’s actual art that she could’ve sold that she decided to give.”

Gaining Inspiration

Blouin says her intention was not always to be a painter. She originally started out figure skating at a young age but because of multiple sports injuries, she suffered from chronic pain and was forced to stop. 

“My body just couldn’t handle it anymore... I threw the skates and said I would never do this again. Then in my early 20’s I faced a lot of pain because I never dealt with it and that’s when my healing practices came into hand."

Blouin turned to yoga to heal her physical pain. By using “modalities that promote healing towards the energetic body”, she found her mind drifting into space during her classes, which inspired her to start drawing her ideas out. 

“When I’m painting, I’m usually painting for hours and it becomes a meditation for me. I can reflect on the things that are going on, I see it as a physical representation of what my mind is going through” she said. 

With art being central to Corinne’s heart, creating different visualizations is not the extent of her work. She facilitates various art workshops and is also a teacher at Collège La Cité, where she teaches the program she graduated from.

Aside from contract work, Blouin says she is currently working on a project with a non-profit company, Dandelion Dance. The Covid response project aims to encourage kids who don’t have access to extra-curricular activities, to pick up on art. 

In 2015, Blouin collaborated with her friends who are also musicians and artists, in creating an organization called Music. Art. Ppl. The group encourages local artists to share their work and empower other artists by connecting them to one another. 

Aside from graphic and web designing, Blouin contributes to the organization as being one of the five co-founders. Prior to the pandemic, the organization hosted events that provided a platform for artists and musicians to share their work and gain inspiration from one another.  

Creating Community

“Corinne is a graphic design professional so she has the range to do any type of graphic design. She can kind of adapt to the event’s theme so her artwork resembles that vibe,” says Albert. “She is a pillar of the organization, she has specific skills that none of us can fill or would want to try.”

Through live-stream events, co-founder/producer Jordan David has collaborated with Corinne in creating new music and art. He says he would start with no music in mind and she would start with a blank canvas, and the two would, “feed off of one another’s energy.” 

“Our community wouldn’t be the same without her. I don’t think my work would be the same without her influence,” David says.

“It’s amazing when your community members are able to inspire you and then you’re able to inspire someone else, it’s kind of like this inspiration cycle.”

Photo from Music.Art.Ppl. (Top, left to right: Nick Hebb, Jordan David, Corinne Blouin, Peter Albert and Eve Blouin-Hudon).

Pre-pandemic, Blouin hosted sessions called “Sketch and Stretch.” The workshops consisted of a mix of free movement yoga stretching and creative expression, where participants would engage in yoga for the first hour then spend the following hour journaling and drawing.

“I feel like it’s important to show people they have access to art too. Art shouldn’t be seen as something that is exclusive to only a few talented people. I see a lot of that in the elitist art world but to me, it’s something that we can all access, we just need to know how,” she says.

Although Blouin says it’s been challenging to stay motivated to create new art, being surrounded by a loving and caring community is what keeps her going. 

“That’s why I’m so keen on helping people share because once you find a community that really encourages you, it no longer becomes about whether the art is good or bad, it becomes about sharing.”  

Fourth year student at Carleton University, majoring in Journalism and Sociology.
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