Studio visit with Niels Schack


Niels Schack is a French painter based in Montreal. He has drawn all of his life and began painting again more seriously in the last few years. The works he will be exhibiting at The Letter Bet are large acrylic based canvasses that respond to the ideas of home and nostalgia 

We spoke to Niels about his art practice, what has shaped it and what he will be exhibiting at the Letter Bet.

How was growing up for you, did you have a creative childhood?

I had mostly a travelling childhood. I spent my time between France, Sri Lanka and Iran. Always loved painting but I didn’t think I would stick with it for so long. Glad it worked out that way.

Give us a quick recap on how you got into making art and what you are working on now.

I did mostly drawings for a long time after high school and after a while I was just not having a good time with it and picked up painting again and it all slowly came together.

I’ve been working here in Montreal for the past 1 month in a little bunkered studio with no show in mind. Then Jerry caught me along this moment of enjoyed solitude and decided to put this show together.

What are the materials / mediums that you mostly use in your work?

Mostly canvas and acrylic

Why do you prefer using these mediums, have you explored other styles before you decided to create art in this way?

I work fairly quickly so I do appreciate how fast you can layer with acrylic.

When you go blank for ideas what do you normally do / look at  to get inspiration?

Biking around the city and when I’m laying in bed is mostly where I come up with any ideas whether it’s art or anything else. However I found most inspiring times is when you don’t think about it and they somehow come to you.

Which artists made you want to make the art you do? 

I was happy to be part of a family that loved art so we got the chance to go see many museums. I must say I’ve always had an attraction for Miro, Matisse and Basquiat. However it’s only later on that I met painters in real life that it inspired me to find my own style and share my own stories.

How do you come up with your ideas for what to create?

Dig into memories and aspiration mostly. But sometimes it just blurts out with out so much control. Those are the most spontaneous moments. 

Do you work out of a studio space? 

Yes! So I was a part of the “Gueules de bois art show” with Jerry, Lucas Beaufort and David Lebicar in July. That’s in fact how I met Jerry. I decided afterwards to stay in Montreal for a little while longer rather than go home to France. Lucky enough, through a friend, I found this little underground studio for real cheap so I got to have my own first space to paint which felt like an accomplishing first step. 


What is your process when creating these artworks ?

Music mostly! I mean having a space and clothes where you don’t have to be careful of stains is probably the most motivating part of having this space. So the process just flows out and you can focus just on the blank canvas and what story you want to share or dive into.

How would you describe the work that you are creating for the show at the Letter Bet?

It deals mostly with the idea of home and reminiscence. I mean those are often themes that are reoccurring but I think they merge with many other feelings and daily adventures that make each painting a different story.

Words: Nicola Mitchell 

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