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Artist Jeff Musseau is a man of many talents

Jeff Musseau showcased some of his work during the PAB Lifestyle Expo, which was held on May 5th through 7th. – © Jaymie White / Wreckhouse Press Incorporated

By Jaymie White Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

PORT AUX BASQUES — Born in Port aux Basques, Jeff Musseau is a self-taught artist who has honed his skills to create brilliant masterpieces depicting the world around him. Harnessing a rich colour palette, superb attention to detail, and a realistic point of view, Musseau has turned his acrylic paintings into near perfect representations of what he sees in front of him. The abundance of beauty on the Southwest coast of the province gives Musseau an endless supply of inspiration to pull from, capturing pieces of history that have started to disappear with the remorseless onslaught of time. “I like to capture stuff that we’re losing, like the old stage, the old church down on the beach, a seagull on an old barn. That’s the kind of stuff I like,” said Musseau. “I started as a sign painter. I got into painting and somebody asked me to do a sign, and I thought, you know, there’s money into this. So I got into the sign business and was doing everything by hand. Now I’m back at this. It’s all acrylic.” As much as he enjoys painting, Musseau admits it can get quite boring sometimes. “My paintings are boring. When I get there, I think “my God, this is never going to end’, so I’ll push it to one side, pick up another one, and then it gets exciting again. When I get to that stage again it’s like, “oh God, here we go again,’ and I push that one to the side and pick up another one, and then before you know it I’ve got three or four I’m working on at the same time.” Present at the Lifestyle Expo in Port aux Basques on the weekend of May 5, Musseau was seated in a both near the entrance with his art on full display. Musseau even included a black and white painting of a horse, which came from his personal collection and was not for sale, showing the true depth of talent he has to offer. As part of the setup, Musseau included other aspects of his work that people may not realize he offers. “I’m like a one-stop shop,” quipped Musseau. Not only does he paint, but he is also a photographer and he does custom framing for his work. “One thing about canvas is that you can leave it as is or you can put a molding on it, so it looks like the original,” said Musseau.“I just got a message online, because I’m a photographer too, and there is a week, a 3-day event down in Montana to do a photo shoot with the wild horses. So I got bells and whistles going off now and I may plan that for next year so I can go down to Montana and get those pictures.” An industrial painter by trade, Musseau sells the majority of his work outside of Newfoundland and Labrador. “Ninety-five percent of my work sells on the mainland,” said Musseau. “I don’t push my work, but when I go out to work I always have my portfolio and I throw it on the table, and you’d be surprised who collects art. People will tell me, ‘oh my God, I collect art,’ then they talk with this one and that one and before you know it I’m picking up more and more clients.” One of the reasons Musseau wanted to take part in the Expo is to show residents in his own community what he has to offer. “That’s why I came here (to the Expo) to show what I have to offer, to get that exposure,” said Musseau. “There are people in this town who don’t even know that I paint. I keep a low profile and I keep my circle of friends small.” One of the most difficult things about painting is the lack of availability in the province for the supplies that he needs to make his artwork. “I went into Stephenville a couple of times, looking for some art materials, but there wasn’t any, and it’s really hard to get art supplies in Newfoundland,” admitted Musseau. “But I paint with dollar store brushes, three dollars a pack, but I don’t skimp on my paint. Brushes, I don’t believe in going down and spending $20 or $30 on a brush.” Currently Musseau has a lot on his proverbial plate. “I’m building a studio and a gallery on my house, so I’ll come right out of my bedroom and into my studio, and people could come into my gallery, browse around, have a coffee, and then you can go upstairs into my studio, so that’s in the making right now.” People may also be able to watch him and his brother, musician Barry Musseau, on a popular TV series in the future. “Right now, there’s a guy in Twillingate that’s working on Land and Sea, apparently working on doing an episode on us, two brothers. He’s (Barry) on the musical side and I’m on the visual side, and apparently they are working on doing a story on us, and that would be awesome. That will be a lot of exposure, and that’s what it’s all about.” Musseau will also be showcasing his work outside of Newfoundland and Labrador soon. “I’m gearing up now to do a solo show at Niagara-on-the-Lake, in Niagara Falls. It’s supposed to be this September, but I want to push it a little further next year so I can add more material.” If a client is interested in requesting a one-of-a-kind piece, Musseau also offers that option. “I do commission pieces as well, but only if the money is there.” One of the best parts about painting is the reaction of those who receive a piece of his artwork. “It’s amazing. I’ve had people cry. Some people like it, some people don’t. I guess I’m a realist, and seeing some people’s expressions sometimes, its worth it.” To view or purchase some of his artwork, you can find Musseau online at artofjeffmusseau.com.

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