As is true of most artists, Mathieu had been drawing his whole life. At seven years old he had already had his first drawing published. When Mathieu graduated from high school, he enrolled in a 2D animation program, after which he began drawing for the Ren & Stimpy Show. In 2003, he left Ren & Stimpy to continue growing as an artist; teaching himself a new animation software, which was quickly becoming the standard in the industry, and building his portfolio. All the meanwhile, drawing inspiration from the poster design and typography of the 50s and 60s, Mathieu had also begun designing and screen printing concert posters, some of them commissioned from garage and punk bands.
In 2010, having returned to Ottawa, heavily inspired by illustrator Miroslav Šašek, Mathieu began illustrating storefronts of local businesses in the Ottawa Gatineau region. For Mathieu, his work was a means of preserving the beauty he saw in these places – a permanent portrayal, of the sometimes transient nature of their existence. Especially drawn to places that were most often overlooked, dismissed as ugly and run down, Mathieu documented a moment in the history of the neighbourhoods he loved. Collections of these neighbourhoods were depicted in the form of screenprints, illustrations, maps and comics, such as “This is Ottawa”, “Hulltramar”, and “Vanier Then & Now”. In addition to the neighbourhoods he loved, Mathieu also illustrated the places in which he liked to spend time, such as the Mayfair Theatre, or the Dominion Tavern.
One of Mathieu’s other passions was music. In addition to designing several concert posters and album covers, Mathieu also demonstrated his talent in video projection as a VJ. He collaborated with many dance events in the city, including FAU Mardi and events held at House of Common.
In October of 2014, Mathieu was in a serious bike accident while cycling to work. He suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of the crash and spent two months rehabilitating in hospital. After the accident, Mathieu eventually returned to work full time and took part in many creatives projects at artist-run centers like Daïmôn and SAW, as well as several festivals, including Chinatown Remixed, Arboretum, and Winterlude. It was unexpected when, in early March of this year, Mathieu went missing. Tragically, his body was found in the Ottawa River this May.
A posthumous showing of a collection of Mathieu’s work, curated by Daïmôn and friends of the artist, begins tonight and continues through the month of July and Daïmôn in Gatineau. They have put together a showing of his work, grouped into three collections – the storefronts for which Mathieu was best known, a series concert posters he designed in the early 2000s, and the black and white sketches he created last summer. A group of objets d’art that depict Mathieu’s creative life – such as his first published illustration, a collection of his agenda covers, and a lunchbox he designed – will also be on display. In addition to the printed material, there will also be a video showcasing some of Mathieu’s video and animation work. The title of the show, Where is Mawt Trood?, takes its name from the question that would often accompany one of Mathieu’s posts on social media.
There will also be a group of djs and vjs playing at the opening of Where is Mawt Trood? This group consists of DJs Mr. Caffrey, VJ Daisy, Jas Nasty, Chris International, Gloryhull, Mathieu Thibault, Mimi la Twisteuse, Yanick, JP, and Guillaume; as well as VJs Hard Science, Sasha Vreca, and VJ Ina. The DJs and VJs playing are friends of Mathieu’s, some of whom worked with him on creative projects.