I was born to a French-Canadian family in Montreal at Notre Dame Hospital - to a single mother under the name of Joseph André Michel François Beausoleil. I started my life on rue Berrie in Montreal and at the age of one I moved to an old Victorian house. Many of my childhood memories took place at this home; Most of my early memories were tactile.
My world I explored was through this new world of textures and colors. My first memory was touching and feeling my baby blue plastic bathtub, the warmth of the water and the cool blue sensation of its outer plastic shell and its rough-cut edges.
My mom had breast cancer, which led to chemotherapy and daily rest was needed. I was not allowed to go out of the apartment by myself until the age of 6, which essentially, caused me to develop a rich inner world.
I remember looking outside from the third floor living room window. Children played and people walked by on the street below. This was a favorite pastime, especially while mom was resting.
I also remember the cold feeling of the glass window, the texture of the green flaking paint of the wooden window frame and the cool plastic sealant masking the window, as well as the soft feeling of my mother’s stockings stuffed in the holes around the windows to keep the cold winter air out. I felt so high up since it was the only house with a third floor and I could see the entire neighborhood outside such as; the wonderful blue sky full of clouds in the summer and grey wistful clouds during the winter months.
It was wonderful looking at the pink florescent sunset and the orange dusk, in addition to the raging storms or snowy skies above my house. I would spend a lot of time on the balcony facing the backstreet because this side of the apartment was warm and the sunshine lit up the room. I loved the feeling of the westward sun on my face and the feeling of the weathered paint on the balcony.
I was 2 years old when I used my first Crayola crayons. I drew on the wall as high as I could reach. I drew my inner worlds; a forest of color in movement that surrounded me. A world that I felt was my beginning or past. What a surprise my mom had upon waking up from her nap. We were poor, so I used to make my own toys out of colored paper. I would cut, glue and fold it to build my own worlds. I built castles, skyscrapers, Greek or Egyptian temples and spaceships furniture included. I painted with gouache and watercolor, drew with Crayolas and color pencils.