For the past two years, I have had the pleasure of traveling to the Quebec country side, to participate in a week long immersive medieval fantasy experience. Bicolline, is a medieval village that once a year is host to over 3000 people who come to compete, dress up, politic, and party. All in a make belief fantasy world created by a team of story writers, and shaped by it's participants. Bicolline is a LARP- short for Live Action Role Play- a kind of theatrical choose-your-own-adventure game.
I choose to play the role of an artist during my weeks at Bicolline. Through personal experience, I've observed a distinct lack of dedicated artists in LARP games. More often than not the focus of these games is on the combatant. A majority of characters carry some sort of sword or weapon at medieval fantasy LARP games, and having played that kind of character before- I wanted to explore what it would be like to play an artist in this kind of world. After all, artists held a distinct place in medieval society itself- so what kind of experience could I have as an artist in this kind of environment?
So I collected my materials and created an alias (with signature). In 2016, I spent the week painting in the guild common area, and creating little watercolour projects. I was not prepared for the overwhelming positive reaction I received from passer-bys. I felt people of all ages stop and pause to take a glimpse at the piece as it developed, and was encouraged by the appreciation they expressed. I found other incredible artists too. I was happy to find I was not alone, and that there in fact was a healthy culture of visual arts and creativity in the Bicolline community.
During 2017, I helped bring other creatives and artists together to help foster the arts in our guild. I enjoyed painting the architecture of the buildings in town, and gifted some works to the building owners. My only regret is not knowing enough french to chat to the curious kids who wandered over!
Overall, I have to say this experience really helped me understand the effect art can have on people. It inspired, and gave people a moment to stop and watch something creative evolve over time. It helped me connect with people in a quiet way, and brought a different level of life to the grounds. I'm excited to continue making the trip to Bicolline as an artist. I hope that by being out in the open as a dedicated artist, I've encouraged others to embrace their creativity and share it with others.