Meet Joe La Jolie, Yukon's creative colourful chameleon

·2 min read

A Yukon artist says transformative makeup isn't just for Halloween.

It's her passion year-round.

Visual artist Josée Fortin plays with colourful, weird and wonderful body paint and makeup.

In the last few years, she's began painting herself and others to look like galaxies, fish, squirrels, neon cat people, landscapes, angels, demons, aliens, sheets of music and more.

Sometimes she just plays with abstract colour like puzzle pieces or geometric shapes.

Why does she do it?

"I just think of Lady Gaga. I was born this way," she said with a laugh. "Before people called me crazy. Now they call me artist."

Provided / Josée Fortin
Provided / Josée Fortin

Face painting not just for children

Fortin goes by the artist name Joe La Jolie.

She said she started painting on herself as a child in northern Quebec.

"I used to do it in hiding in my home, because it was not socially acceptable or normal," she said.

She has painted on canvas before but says she prefers working with people, as every face and body is different.

"It's pretty alive," she said of painting on a face or body. "I try to find the soul in paint."

Fortin does children's face painting as well. She enjoys birthday parties and Halloween.

However, she says there's a magic in transforming adults.

She recently even worked with model who was nude.

"I try to push adults because they become so vulnerable, so beautiful," she said.

Philippe Morin/CBC
Philippe Morin/CBC

Art is washed away

Fortin has worked with fire and circus performance. Lately she's been working with friends inside her COVID-19 bubble.

The application of paint leads to some laughter and wonder as she takes a few pictures and then the paint is washed off.

She calls it ephemeral art.

It's chance for herself and her models to become someone else.

"It's a treat for them, it's empowerment. It's really a strong moment between two humans and I like it," she said.

Provided / Josée Fortin
Provided / Josée Fortin