Bill Arnott’s Showcase Interview: Author-Painter-Publisher Lorette C. Luzajic

Lorette Luzajic is a Canadian powerhouse. Author, publisher and visual artist, in the world of creative arts, this multitalented Torontonian does it all! Hi Lorette, I’m delighted to have you join the Showcase. Welcome!

(Lorette) Thanks for this opportunity, Bill!

(Bill) Let’s start with an introduction. Please tell us a bit about yourself.

(Lorette) I’m Lorette Luzajic, an artist, writer, editor, and educator in Toronto, Canada. I’m curious about everything, so naturally I’m passionate about art and art history because it encompasses culture, religion, biography, and so much more. My mixed media collage art, at turns surreal, at turns urban, at turns abstract, is fuelled by that enchantment, as is much of my writing. I love prose poetry and small stories, and most of mine are inspired by visual art. Seven years ago I started The Ekphrastic Review, a journal of literature inspired by art.

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(Bill) With all of that on the go, what do you feel you’re best known for?

(Lorette) I’m best known for my signature squares, album-sized canvases that I collage and paint with fanciful, slightly strange, colourful arrangements. I’m also known for The Ekphrastic Review, because we’re a worldwide community of writers who love art.

(Bill) It’s a publication I genuinely love. Speaking of which, what would you say brought you to where you’re at now?

(Lorette) Trial and error, truth be told. I was always interested in the stories behind paintings, in being creative and making art, and in writing, but I floundered along the way, wondering how to fit all of that together. I decided to take a more practical route and study journalism, but after graduating, realized I just wasn’t cut out for the competitive, tough world of news and in fact found it depressing and not about the writing at all. I started a copy-writing service and painted on the side, but then I wanted my writing to have my name on it. I was always writing and painting and studying but it became my destiny when I started the journal. My intention was to just have a blog where I gathered some ekphrastic stuff for my own edification. I wasn’t expecting it to grow into the flagship ekphrastic journal and attract epic talent. But over six years have put me in touch with so many other writers who love the wonderland of art. We learn so much from each other. It’s a tremendous community.

(Bill) You’ve definitely nurtured a remarkable community. Who’s been a mentor to you?

(Lorette) My father was my greatest mentor. He imparted in me the values of patience, hard work, determination, faith, persistence, and acceptance or contentment, how to keep your anxieties at bay. I was never good at keeping those suckers calm, but if ever I could have my feathers unruffled, Dad was the one who could help with that. I have learned so much from creative giants like Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash, Madonna, Freddie Mercury, Barbra Streisand, Andy Warhol, Lucinda Williams, Antoni Tàpies, Sharon Olds, Haruki Murakami as well.

(Bill) What would your advice be to others?

(Lorette) Somewhere along the way, I came to understand that your weakness is your strength – the worst thing about your work is also its magic and spark. It’s not ready to go – you have to harness it and work with it to get to the gold, but that’s where the thing that makes you different is.

(Bill) I like that a lot; perhaps how a great many things are invented. Tell us what you’re working on now.

(Lorette) I want to do a few mythic portraits, large works that feature a personality but are portrayed by symbols in collage, by motifs and colours rather than by likeness. Most of my art has symbolic elements and I want these to be like playgrounds or mazes full of them. I’m also working on another collection of prose poetry and microfiction, as I just can’t stop writing the little ekphrastic story-poems that I’m known for. I keep thinking the well has run dry, but after a few weeks, a flurry of ideas bubble to the surface and I itch until I get them on paper.

(Bill) Ah, yes, a bottomless well! And what would be your “Desert Island” book, album, movie, and food dish?

(Lorette) I couldn’t live on one of each. I crave variety of creativity. I would leave it all behind and explore the island, find the art and music and poetry of the place. If I can bring an unlimited blank book, that would be perfect.

(Bill) I love it. I can imagine you mapping the island, then painting it, and then writing about it! Now for your very own Quirky Question. Make a choice: water, oil, or acrylic, and why?

(Lorette) Acrylic. Hands down. Watercolour is an amazing media, and oil is the cream of the crop – the tactile feel of it, the blending properties, everything. But acrylic is so versatile, it is quick to dry, and it can be used with most other media, used on nearly any surface. For my personal way of life and creative style, acrylic is a playground of adventures and opportunities.

(Bill) Perfect. A playground of adventure and opportunity. Inspiration for all of us. Thank you, Lorette, for being a wonderful guest for this special, mixed media Showcase. Find more of Lorette’s work at her website,, and her exceptional literary journal, The Ekphrastic Review, at

Bill Arnott is the bestselling author of the Gone Viking travel memoirs (Gone Viking: A Travel SagaGone Viking II: Beyond BoundariesGone Viking III: The Holy Grail) and A Season on Vancouver Island. He’s won numerous book awards and received a Fellowship at London’s Royal Geographical Society for his expeditions. When not trekking with a small pack and journal, Bill can be found on Canada’s west coast, where he lives near the sea on Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh land.