quebec city

The Blue House – Acrylic Painting by Eric Mailhot

quebec fleur de lys ericzone”The Blue House” is an acrylic painting done on a 30×40 inch canvas that was completed sometime in August of 2017. Started in the month of April 2016, the project is based on the photo of a small rural house that was taken on October 22nd 2016 nearby St-Foy CEGEP in Quebec City. On publication of this article, the painting is in the hands of Renée Jacques, a friend and work collegue. With this gift, I hoped to show her my gratitude for her support since my arrival in Quebec City in March of 2016. More importantly, I’ve always been able to count on her throughout the production of the Ericzone Podcast. She has always been willing to offer carpool during the cold winter days. It was precisely during those first days of driving to work that we noticed the blue house and that the idea of painting it first dawned on me. And so, it only made a lot of sense that I would offer her the painting. Merci Renée.

The Blue House

As I mentioned, it was during those first weeks in Quebec City that I discovered the Blue House (located corner St-Foy et Chevremont), in a rather fragile state, painted with a surprising blue color. Even more surprising, is the fact that I developed such a strange fascination with this somewhat beautiful house that waited for its uncertain future. It’s in this context that I took a few photos with my cell phone in the last days of October 2016. Little did I know that, just a few days later, this modest little house would be demolished and replaced by a mundane parking lot.

A Bit of History

According to the information I was given about this humble house, the land had apparently been rented to the religious community of l’Hôtel-Dieu to Pauline de Villiers in June of 1939. The house was then built during the summer of 1939.

Mme De Villiers would go on to own the house until April of 1975, when she sold it to Godfroy Lamarche, a man from Sainte-Catherine-de-la-Jacques-Cartier. M. Lamarche, a teacher, would be proprietor until june of 2001. M. Lamarche was no longer living in the house when it was sold to M. Normand St-Cyr in June of 2001. The latter owned the place up until 2016 when it was sold to Immocom Ste-Foy Inc.


A sad ending

I would have hoped for a more honorable end to this humble house. I feel that, in light of its proximity to the CEGEP St-Foy, the house could have been converted (had it been in better condition) into a student cafe of some kind. With its fragile demeanor and its outlandish color, I can’t help but draw a parallel between the blue house and the future of Quebec. As a cafe, it could have housed future generations of students, inspiring them by the smell of coffee and Quebec music. All it would have taken to give this house a second life and to possibly make it a part of Quebec city’s heritage, would have  been an astute business person with the right amount of foresight.

The memory of this house is forever engraved in my memory. I feel happy that I was able to contribute to perpertuating its story post-mortem, through my art and this article. If ever you have photos or anecdotes to share, please don’t hesitate to write in the comments or through email.

The Blue House @ Ericzone Podcast

August 20th 2017, I had the opportunity to talk about my painting of the blue house with la Serveuse du Nelligans, while recording the Ericzone Podcast. You can click on the video below to watch the excerpt from that episode. Manon Choquette (Serveuse du Nelligans) is not only a writer and blogger, but also a talented painter. (excerpt is in french)

I invite you to have a look at the Flickr album and the photos that recall the evolution of the project. You can find images of the painting on Behance and on Deviantart. As always, I invite you to have a look at  www.ericzone.com and to visit my Facebook page. Don’t forget to click «Like». You can also find me on YouTube. Ericzone is on Instagram. Have you sent me a contact request on LinkedIn?

Visit the Ericzone Podcast page on BaladoQuebec.com. For Google Play Music users, thank you for following my podcast. The show is available on Itunes and Stitcher. There is also an Ericzone Podcast album on Flickr.

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Xmas office party tradition alive and well at SiliCycle

Cliquez ici pour l’article en français

eric_17dec_avatar1Xmas time is here. The merry time of year when people everywhere get to spend loving moments, pulled from one family gathering to the next. For many of us, xmas also means office parties. Sadly, successful office parties have become a rare breed of event. I’ve been fortunate in my life, however, to have witnessed a couple of worthy office parties. I can’t help but reminisce on those now legendary Ubisoft Montreal parties, during which I had the opportunity to film and to create a series of memorable videos (I was only able to salvage one of those videos; you can probably find the rest on Ubitube, if it still exists). This year, I was privileged to be a part of the xmas party at SiliCycle, the company in Quebec City where I am currently employed. Here’s a little rundown from a video producer’s point of view.

Family affairs

Founded in 1995, SiliCycle® Inc. is a worldwide leader in the development, the manufacturing and the commercialization of high value silica-based and specialty products for chromatography, analytical and organic chemistry (yes, I copy pasted that from their official website www.silicycle.com). The company itself is a tightly knit core of individuals that seem to have made a conscious effort to include a strong sense of family in its activities. Whereas monstrous Ubisoft events were fueled by raw Montreal geek energy and pride, SiliCycle is yet small enough to infuse its events with a true sense of camaraderie. At the core of SiliCycle is a group of friends from university who, if i’m not mistaken, mostly come from the Gaspé peninsula in Quebec, Canada. Considering the strong traditions in Gaspé, it’s no wonder that there is such an authentic family bond which permeates most activities at SiliCycle.

Inspiring Christmas video mandate

It’s in this context that, as video editor/graphics designer, I was mandated by Geneviève Gingras (head of SiliCycle marketing), to produce a series of homage videos. The objective of these videos: highlight the years of service of four SiliCycle employees during the 2016 xmas party. And so, I threw myself into this mandate with every intention of contributing to the mood of the upcoming event.

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Nicolas Bilodeau, dressed up as a news anchor for one the SiliCycle hommage video entitled ‘SiliaNews’

Green screens and roasts

Aside from offering multimedia and audiovisual support, I delved into each production with an open mind and a readiness to create. For me, each new project is the occasion to learn and to exchange with interesting people. To make a long story short, preproduction talks brought on great sketch ideas and scripts. Everybody involved had a great time contributing and filming the videos. I was also happy to get further acquainted with my colleagues. (read more about my arrival at SiliCycle in March of 2016)

My past work on various projects such as the Blackburn Podcast, coupled with my years as video editor and my diploma in audio techniques, gave me the tools I needed as production moved forward. Aside from this unique opportunity to participate on comedic/roast videos (which I seldom have a chance to do), I was eager to further my understanding of green screens. (One of the skits was set in a newsroom with an animated background borrowed on Youtube and integrated in After Effects … have a look at some of the production photos in this Flickr album)

Last minute preparations

Early morning, December 17th 2016, I accompanied colleague Renée Jacques (administrative assistant to the president of SiliCycle) to the Quebec City venue called District St-Joseph in order to prepare ourselves for the evening’s festivities. With 10 videos to show and a busy schedule, we needed to make sure everything was ready. We were greeted by District St-Joseph owner, Alain Marceau, who was kind to give us the time we needed to set up.

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Eric Mailhot – Saturday December 17th 2016 @ District in Quebec city. In the background, Renée Jacques and District people preparing the venue.


A night to be remembered

After i was done filming the evening and had shown the videos, i sat at the bar for a while, wearing my red xmas tie.

I was pleased that my colleagues enjoyed the homage videos and that my work contributed to the general mood of the evening. Somewhat an introvert, I always prefer playing the quiet observer (maybe I was an anthropologist in a past life). The evening reminded me of my true motivation as an artist. Undeniably, making people feel positive and happy is my principal incentive in any of my endeavours.

Headlining for the evening was singer Valerie Clio and a group of talented musicians (Samuel Lussier on guitar). Her stage presence was energetic and her voice was incredible.

A great many thanks

Many thanks to Renée Jacques. She skillfully took on the task of executive producer for the project, guiding each separate production and making sure everybody was in tune. After giving her a crash course on lav mics, she often took charge of mic setup and was great help with lighting for each shoot. Thank you also to Geneviève Gingras for this great project. And thanks to everybody for their participation, support and feedback before and after the reveal!

Feel free to go and have a look on my Flickr page at some photos from the evening and check out the Flickr album for the video production photos. For more information about SiliCycle, visit their Facebook page or their official website. As always, visit my online portfolio at www.ericzone.com and visit my professional Facebook page and click Like in order to keep in touch. You can also find me on Youtube. Have you sent me a contact request on LinkedIn?