In Conversation With Gab Bois—The Artist Behind The Stellar Communicative Photographs
Her poignant art will compel you to think
A cursory glance through Gab Bois’ Instagram, and you’ll be forced to stop and stare. Transforming everyday objects into pieces of satirical, witty art—her feed will present you with one impactful imagery after another. From fruit loops served in a beanie, coffee martini, dirty snow ice-cream cone to blueberry necklaces—she’s on her way to change the way we consume media today. And might we say, she has completed nailed it.
The Montreal-based artist harbours a knack for altering reality by taking ordinary objects out from their mundane settings and lends them an unconventional aesthetic. With a massive following on Instagram, Gab Bois’ work mirrors reflections of uncanniness, cleverness and the ability to make you pause in a world where mindless scrolling is prevalent more than ever. Ahead, we spoke to the artist about her journey with the page so far, her creative processes, favourite creations and more.
ELLE: You’re a Fine Arts student. So, what made you gravitate towards photography and start this account on Instagram?
Gab Bois (GB): I was actually a year-and-a-half into a bachelor’s degree to become an elementary school teacher when I started to post my photography on this account. It was never the plan to make a career out of it, but thanks to many factors, my photography gained some great attraction on Instagram, to the point where I decided to pause my studies and try out a career in the arts. So far, it’s been a great ride, and I’m thankful every day that I get the space and time to follow this creative path.
ELLE: Tell us about your creative process while reimagining images?
GB: Trying to clear my mind when going into a brainstorming session is key. More often than not, the best ideas are sitting right under my nose and are the simplest ones. I turn off any electronic device that might be a distraction and get to work. Also, I try to allow time to get settled in; the first half-hour is usually only good to get focused and not really to find many great ideas. They tend to come later on.
ELLE: What have been some of your biggest creative prompts?
GB: I find that my creative motivations evolve constantly. For years I found it very challenging to get to work every day. But now it’s become so locked in my routine that I can’t really tell weekdays from weekends. Every day is a workday, and the motivation comes from whatever project I’m working on at that time.
ELLE: If you could pick one, which image would be your favourite and why? Could you tell the story behind it?
GB: That’s such a hard one to answer! I really like the orange bra, Vitamin C-Cup, because it’s one of the first images of mine that looked more polished and drifted away from that super raw and rough feel that was so present in my first couple years of photography. I also feel very connected to the dirty snow ice cream cone because that was an image I had in my head as a child—dirty snow looking like Oreo ice cream or some kind of delicious cake icing.
ELLE: How do you keep yourself motivated to be creative on a constant basis?
GB: It kind of just happens. Even when I feel burnt out and think I’ll need days of rest to recover, it only takes a few hours of relaxation until I feel the urge to work again. My work is on my mind most hours of the day and night. It’s what I live and breathe for, so motivation comes with that. It comes down to that urge that pulsion, that need to do whatever it is you love to do, and that’s really the best way I can put it into words.
ELLE: What have been some of the struggles that you have faced while starting this account and bringing it to where it is today?
GB: This platform has been an absolute blessing, and that I owe a lot of the success I’ve had to it. That being said, it hasn’t always been the smoothest ride. I’m someone who hates confrontation in my personal life. And as we all know, social media isn’t the best place to avoid confrontation. I’m also pretty private, and it’s been a challenge to find the right balance between which parts of my personal life I want to share and which ones I want to keep for myself while still engaging with my digital community. But I can definitely say that the pros outweigh the cons in my case.
ELLE: Tell us a little more about your book—New Album: An Artist Book. Is there anything new in the pipeline in the coming few years?
GB: That book was over a year in the making when it came out last fall. It was a project made in partnership with Anteism Books, an independent publisher here in Montreal. Our visions aligned very well, and they are just the absolute best when it comes to book design and production technique. It feels truly special to have a physical object representing my first three years of work.
ELLE: Any upcoming projects you would like to talk to us about?
GB: As far as future projects go, I have a lot of fun collaborations coming up. But in a broader sense, I’d like to extend my practice in the physical space a lot more than what I’ve been doing. While keeping an active digital practice, I’d love to create more sculptural, or installation works.