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Nifty Naive Art and Fun Folk Art: exploring the difference with Diane Bourgeois

Updated: Aug 22, 2023

With those signature bright-coloured, whimsical and cheerful art creations, our wonderful artist-in-residence, Diane Bourgeois, never ceases to delight us!

With the help of Diane's art, we shed light on the differences and similarities between two of the most enchanting art styles ever: Folk Art and Naive Art!

Diane grew up in Cheticamp, a quaint and cozy Acadian fishing town nestled along the rugged and scenic shores of the Cabot Trail. It is no secret that Cheticamp and its neighbouring communities provide an infinite source of inspiration to Diane: all those adorable art creations, depicted with her signature vivid acrylic palette, are largely inspired by these Acadian communities. Above all, Diane is locally known for her Naive Art and Folk Art talent.

Are Folk Art and Naive Art the same thing?

Folk Art and Naive Art movements can often be confused, as they both are characterized by:

- bright, contrasting colours,

- voluntarily simplistic designs

- the absence of classic art conventions such as proportion and perspective.

Despite their similarities, they remain distinct, why?

Folk Art:

- tells a story about local day-to-day life or the culture of a given community

- literally means “the art of the people” (online Britannica catalogue).

Pictured here, Diane Bourgeois’ little wooden fish testifies to just how deeply rooted the fishing industry is in the local community’s history.

It's also a perfect example of Folk-Art: bursting with colour, with a simple outline.

Naive Art

"Naive art is characterised by childlike simplicity of execution and vision. As such it has been valued by modernists seeking to get away from what they see as the insincere sophistication of art created within the traditional system" as Tate's website explains.

Naive Art "uses childlike innocence to LIGHTEN reality" (Artists Network's website).

Anyone who has had the privilege of creating art with Diane Bourgeois knows that she purposefully removes complication and fuss from art. In doing so, she makes it so much more accessible for those of us who’ve never even been acquainted with our inner artist.

Constrained by following fancy rules and complex techniques? No Thanks! Diane knew in her heart that classic aesthetic conventions hindered her talent, and we couldn’t be more grateful for the day when Diane decided to ditch the art diktats and let her beautiful imagination take flight, embracing the whimsical, heartwarming fun of Folk-Art and Naive-Art!

Diane’s childhood winter scenes are among some of the most delightfully authentic "Cape Breton" Naive Art pieces:

Diane invites us to the blissful enjoyment of building the most formidable snowman with your friends, of sledding down the snow-powdered slopes, the fun of skating on an iced-over lake in the heart of a pristine winter wonderland, and the thrill of a snowmobile adventure through the Cape Breton wilderness!

What magic there is to be found in everyday life in wintery Acadie!

How joyfully refreshing and attaching the world becomes through Diane's eyes!

The beauty of Diane’s art is that it speaks to us all - whether we are young or old, whether we're from Acadie or not.

Her incredibly heartwarming and cheerful Naive Art scenes have a distinctive, beaming and vibrant Acadian “Joie de Vivre” about them - and what a fun-filled invitation she's given to us!

- Discover the Mi-Carême Centre's artisanal boutique, showcasing more exclusive handmade or hand-painted art creations by Diane Bourgeois.

- Find out more about Diane Bourgeois and her whimsical inspirations here:

- Book your spot and Join Diane Bourgeois for some fantastic secret art tips during the Mi-Carême Centre's Unique Cultural Experiences.

- Do you love art? Follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and don't miss our "Artsy Tuesdays / mARTdi" posts!

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