“People that don’t know me for some reason think that I am some intimidating bitchy person because of the way I look or because of the way that I don’t smile a lot and they don’t try to get to know me as a person before making that judgment.” – Madeleine Paris
Between spending time with her boyfriend Jake and working part-time as a Janitor of a doctor’s office, 19-year-old artist Madeleine Paris Dufault sets the time to create beautiful artwork for her budding clientele. From a very young age, Dufault reveals that she has always been the type of person to be interested in art, whether it would just be a doodle or a painting. Dufault credits her artistic and music-based family for her love and appreciating for art, “My dad actually has a huge file of all my artwork from when I was younger. I would say that the first actual painting that I saw from myself was from when I was two years old.” The artist also shares that her boyfriend Jake also gives her the critique she needs in order to be the artist that she is today. “I am only thankful for it because he is very very honest with me and I never take it in the wrong way because I know that he knows how to deal with this stuff. He [also] has been into American traditional tattooing, a lot longer than I have, so I’m down to listen to what he has to say because there are different ways for people to look at things.”
There are many things that the Massachusetts native have in common with her boyfriend, and one of them is being a fan of American traditional tattooing. Inspiring 90% of her artwork, Dufault shares that American Tattoo artist Norman “Sailor Jerry” Collins, and U.K. Tattoo Artist/Painter Cassandra Frances, are two of the many artists who she looks up to for inspiration for her own pieces. “I’ve followed a lot of people that are in the style of art that I like. [However] a lot of them live far away from me. But I would say that 90% of the inspiration for my artwork stems from traditional tattooing, but I also do the occasional realism art. I still enjoy painting realism pieces. And when it comes down to things that are not of tattoo style, I would say it’s most of the time, the color palettes that really grabs my attention.” The choice of colors for her work plays a major role in whether a piece is completed or not, particularly because of Dufault’s choice of art tool, ink. “You can go from the spectrum of the lightest pigment and just add water,” Dufault states as she explains the benefits of using ink. “and have between 50 shades between one another.” Ink, a tool Dufault calls “the most powerful of all art supplies“, has a multipurpose role for her art pieces, including outlining, shading and background coloring.
When Dufault isn’t losing “grasp of the real world“, spending hours alone in her home art studio, she is listening to the latest releases of Toro e Moi or Tame Impala. She reveals that within the last few years, she grew a huge appreciation for badbadnotgood, an instrumental band. “I never had like a crazy appreciation for instrumental music. But now that I’ve been listening to more of that kind of stuff and it’s really inspiring to me. I’ve actually have been looking to buy a saxophone.” Growing up in a middle-class home with parents who were respectively fans of BB King and the Dixie Chicks, Dufault relies on her love for all genres of music and the artwork of her favorite artists when she gets hits with a creative block. “Usually I would listen to a lot of music and scroll through all of my favorite artists’ work. I try not to go any days without doing any art because I feel like I have to keep up with my skills. I like to [try to] create something every day, for at least 20 minutes [a day].”
Life as an artist for Dufault has not always been an easy one. From receiving criticism from family, strangers and even a moment of severe cyberbullying, Dufault continues to push through with her art as she sees fit. Although she doesn’t use her platform to comment on current social and political issues, Dufault remembers a time when she created a piece in honor of the former US president Barack Obama, and the disapproval that she received on social media.
“The one piece of political art I ever have released was the one that said “I miss Obama” (laughs) and I got quite the negative feedback on that from my family on my Facebook page. And that’s exactly what I didn’t want to happen, but if I was to expect it from anyone it wasn’t my family. But it got to the point where someone was commenting, “If you want to see Obama, let me puke in my toilet and I’ll show that to you”, and it was just unnecessarily rude comments and I don’t need some feud going down on my professional business page. I posted a piece of art that I think is true to what I believe. I’m not posting it with the expectation of everyone agreeing with me, I was just posting it from an art aspect. I wanted to show people that I am capable of doing a portrait of a male subject because I usually draw women. But it was taken to a more personal level with my family which is why I probably won’t do very much artwork like that in the future, but I do want to speak out against stuff like that.”
“Sometimes people don’t know me on a personal level, and I feel like some part of that is good and some are bad, because there are things that someone can learn about you that–say someone was following me on Instagram and I posted about how I was really upset about all these things going on with the gun control and how people trying to change the gun laws. However, my beliefs [were] the complete opposite of theirs, and they had such a strong belief about this. And they were so passionate about this subject and the fear of them seeing that I had a different opinion from them could turn them off from wanting to support my artwork anymore. So to a certain extent, I do let people know my opinions on social and political issues, but at the same time I try and keep more of the controversial stuff to myself because I wouldn’t want it to negatively affect my business in any way or make someone not want to support what I do.”
Dufault doesn’t let the negative criticism that she receives from her art deter her from following her dreams. Naming her creativity as an outlet for her emotions, she also shares that it brings her a lot of happiness. “It’s a way for me to get my feelings on paper or canvas and it’s getting back to me. While I’m doing that it’s just the sense of happiness and doing what I feel like I’m best at.” Dufault reveals that she often looks back at past obstacles (bad family and personal relationships, mental health issues) and find comfort in how much she has progressed as an artist. “I would have never thought that I would have progressed to be the artist that I am now. Throughout the years of going through high school, going through shitty relationships, dealing with bad family relationships at home and mental health issues, [painting] helped with whatever feelings I was going through at the time. And by the time I finished working on whatever I was doing, I always feel so much better.”
“To be remembered” is the most important thing artists want to accomplish with their art. Art that lives on forever. Dufault is no different, however, she wants to also be remembered as someone who never gave up on their dreams. She continued to pursue her life’s purpose even when people told her “that it wasn’t going to work out”. It wasn’t until five years ago, the artist started to take herself seriously and consider herself a professional artist. “I would say I started taking myself seriously in 2013, about 5 years of considering myself to be like a professional artist, in terms of being proud of my work and thinking that it was something that was worth selling to someone. Thinking that I could see my art in galleries.” Dufault knows that being an artist is not easy and staying true and charging according to your worth is not easy as well. But she offers advice to those who are following in her footsteps as a commission-based artist.
“You definitely want to figure out what you see your art and your brand representing. The thing that took me the longest was figuring out what kind of art that I wanted to make, which I am not saying that every artist has to stay within one style or genre of art. But what I am saying is that when you start out as a freelance or commission artist you really want to let people know what you enjoy doing and what your strengths and weaknesses are. I have had such a long journey of figuring out, ‘Am I just going to keep my business name, Maddie Dufault? Am I going to change it into something really confusing that no one is going to know how to spell?’ I did that too and it was really a bad idea. I finally realized that using the professional version of my name was the best idea because overall, the time that I’ve had my business open I found out that it is best to keep it simple. You definitely want to know what you want your work to represent, and the type of audience you want to attract to your work.
Give yourself time to realize what it is that you want to create and put out into the world and make sure that you are 100% proud of it and you want everyone to know that that’s what you made, what you stand for and it’s what makes you happy.”
To keep up with Madeleine Paris Dufault and stay updated on any new artwork releases or to buy any pieces from her, you can follow her at the links below.
Twitter: Art by Madeleine
Instagram: Art by Madeleine Paris