Biography

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     Born in Canada, Michel LeBlanc expresses his yearning for painting and the theatre as early as age 9.

He is the son of a former professional hockey player, who attended the Detroit Red Wings' training camp in the early 50's, and who later became a profesionnal painter. Michel follows in his father's the footsteps. However, nearing the junior ranks he was subjected to bullying, due to his small body stature. This will dampen his passion for hockey.

     At age 20, he is diagnosed with cancer in both breasts. Two operations will keep him  in convalescence for several months, a challenge he will overcome with his miracle therapy : painting.  After his rehabilitation he joins the Académie de l’Entrepreneurship Québécois  (Quebec Academy of Entrepreneurship), obtaining two years later his diploma in business start-ups. He then creates CinéMasque, an artistic and educational pre-kindergarten, and a drama school on Montreal's south shore.

     A year later, tragedy strikes again as fire erupts in his apartment during the night.  The screams of his young black cat apparently saved his life. Having lost everything and out on the street, he moves into his theatre school, with the few pieces of clothing donated by the Red Cross.  Along with his business he conducts theater workshops in five inner-city schools. Member of the Union des Artistes (Actors' Union) as an actor, he played in over thirty film and television productions.

     Sensitized to various humanitarian causes, he is involded in the Canadian Children's Dream Foundation, as well as the and the Quebec association of children with Specific Language Impairement (dysphasia) and the Quebec Society of Autism.

     As arts columnist for the radio program Planet Montreal, he is approached in 2000 to be the  master of ceremonies at an international painting exhibition entitled "Art Unites" in Montreal. Organized by "Visions sur l'art (Quebec)" affiliated to "Very Special Arts International" based in Washington, DC. VSA  provides a framework to atists with disabilities and promotes their work.  Michel will have the honor of working alongside with its founder Dr. Jean Kennedy Smith, a member of the famous Kennedy family and younger sister of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

     Eight years later, in August 2008, Michel was the victim of a violent car accident, hit  head-on by a reckless driver. With two crushed legs, he was not only fighting for his life, but his doctors were trying to avoid amputation of both legs.  After a month in the Sacred Heart hospital of Montreal and a total of forty hours on the operating table, he will undergo major surgery requiring sixty implants in the legs, nails, plates and screws, as well as 98 staples on each leg to close the wounds.

     He then spent the next five months in a rehabilitation hospital. Having lost the taste for life, nailed to a bed and sentenced to a wheelchair, he never leaves his room and  draws in a sketching book that he was given.

One day, as if a good fairy had guessed his wish, a hospital recreational activities  facilitator enters his room and sees his sketchbook lying on his wheelchair. She will make him an unusual proposal that will transform his long months in the hospital, get him out of the bed, chase boredom away and give him back a taste for life.

 

     Michel was offered an unused room in the basement to  be used as an atelier. As soon as he gets hold of the key to his artist studio, he stops his psychotherapy sessions with the hospital psychologist. He is too much in a hurry to go paint, he has too many paintings to complete, too much happiness to spread on canvas. Even gallery owners give him the art supplies needed to get back to work. He will make the hospital his home. Once again, painting will be an integral part of his many therapies.

     Although he will never regain normal use of his legs, Michel LeBlanc strives every day to improve his condition, as the fighter he is. He is now a member of "Visions sur l'art (Quebec) " as a professional disabled painter,  nicknamed "The Quebec painter of Time Square" for is New York scenes, very  appreciated by art galleries.

 

     The artist has exhibited his work around the world : Paris, Italy, California, Singapore and of course, Canada. With his invigorating works, representative of a dynamic generation, Michel LeBlanc paints with his knife the freedom of a survivor. He is an actor, speaker and the author of  « L’art qui fait revivre » ("The art that revives") an inspirational and unusual story!

 

 

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