La Liga con Lexiquette
LEXIQUETTE, is an arts & culture website that features weekly conversation pieces with emerging artists as well as cultural happenings in the city. Created by Argentinean-Canadian Alexia Bréard-Anderson, también conocida como Ale, Lexi, o simplemente como secretamente me gusta llamarla, Bréard-Anderson, is a creator currently based in Toronto. We talked about the beginnings of the quette, her current projects, about the Toronto art scene and just cool stuff in general.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born in Toronto and moved to Buenos Aires around the age of twelve. At nineteen, I found myself studying Combined Arts and teaching book club and drama classes to grades 1-6 at my old school. I had dreams of becoming an actress so I was doing a handful of theatre and musical theatre programs in my free time. Something in me clicked and I ended up dropping out of school, applying to art university in Toronto and moving to Montréal in the meanwhile to study French and figure out my shit. I can’t remember how, but I randomly stumbled into the team at MURAL Festival before our very first edition in 2013 and have been working with them each summer ever since. I got accepted at the end of 2013 and have officially been back in the city for two years, halfway through my program at OCAD University pursuing a BFA specializing in curatorial practices.
Tell us about Lexiquette. When did it begin?
It actually began as a Tumblr a couple years back where I would share art, music videos and cultural events in Buenos Aires that I found cool. It had a different name back then so I ended up renaming it and founded Lexiquette when I moved back to Canada. Basically, Lexiquette is an arts & culture website that features weekly conversation pieces with emerging artists as well as cultural happenings in the city. Through it, I’ve also been hired to produce events and am helping organize a variety of exhibitions and pop up initiatives in the city. For the moment, Lexiquette is based in Toronto but I’m looking to officially expand to Montréal and Buenos Aires in 2016.
What was your inspiration behind it?
Moving back to Toronto was a huge challenge for me. I had left a lot behind in Buenos Aires and even if I was excited for a fresh start, it took quite a bit of time to adapt myself into the culture again. I didn’t really know anybody because my childhood friends had mostly moved away, so I started exploring galleries and exhibitions on my own as an excuse to get out of the house. I realized that there were little to no articles written about young, emerging artists and independent galleries in the city. So I just started writing them myself, mostly just out of curiosity to meet interesting people.
What are your thoughts on the Toronto art scene?
It’s so interesting because it’s crazy how much it’s changed for the best. I know quite a bit of people now, so maybe that’s just the amount of time it took me to integrate myself, but I definitely see so much more support and enthusiasm in general for the arts in comparison to two years ago. I mean, Toronto is a toy city. It’s physically, historically and culturally still in construction. I used to hate it for that very reason: I found it cold, boring and uninspiring… I kept seeing money being prioritized over culture and I found it sad and couldn’t relate to it in the slightest. Now I’ve come to terms with the fact that the art scene, along with the city, is only half built. We’re like this D.I.Y generation of students, recent graduates, early and mid-career artists and entrepreneurs that are shaping the city’s cultural scene as we go, one day at a time and I think it’s really inspiring to be a part of the movement. We have a unique freedom to express ourselves in whichever way we want and there’s a lot of potential. We have a long way to go, but I think we’re headed in an exciting direction.
What do you think about artistic conformism?
In Spanish there’s a saying that goes: la ley del mínimo esfuerzo, which translates to “the law of minimal effort”. I think this applies to conformism of all types. I’m a strong believer in the capacity of art to create positive and impactful change. Artists are not only capable of record, documenting and recreating the past and present but also of transforming perceptions and influencing future generations. I know it’s completely natural to doubt yourself or to feel comfortable or to get stuck in our zones for a bit but if you’re going to take the easy path through conformation, don’t preach about authenticity and embracing change.
Do you ever feel pressured to maintain a certain image?
Of course, all the time. Buy this, say that, dress like this, hang out with them, go here, don’t go there… I’ve always admired people who are unfazed - from the start - by the crazy amount of pressure that tries to get us to act and/or react in a certain way every single day. Especially with the challenging contemporary addition of virtual personas and online identity representations. It sort of links back to conformism. I think people with insecurities are confused, intimidated and - sometimes even - threatened by differences so they end up hiding behind fabricated ideals of themselves, based on either their values or those of others. Each and every personal in this entire world is unique, yet there is so much ignorance and discrimination towards celebrations of that uniqueness that are happening on so many different levels even as we speak. The key is to keep a state of mindfulness, to be aware of and respect your surroundings and most of all to be honest towards yourself and ergo to everyone else. It’s difficult to keep our heads on our shoulders in this generation but it’s definitely not impossible.