Remembering Félix Renaud

Celebrating a Creative Legacy

June 20, 2024

Remembering Félix Renaud

Félix Renaud's, The Brooks, a 2024 Photography Winner.

The creative world lost a shining star with the passing of Félix Renaud (1987-2024), a Montreal-based photographer and perennial winner at the Applied Arts Awards. Félix was best known for his whimsy and playfulness, with an incredible skill that earned him accolades year after year. Described as a gentle giant, talented, full of creativity and with a huge sense of humour, Félix left an enduring impression on all who knew him.


Félix Renaud, The Brooks, 2024 Photography Aards

Part of the "The Brooks" a 2024 Photography Awards winning entry by Félix Renaud.

Unveiling the results of the 2024 Photography Awards competition was bittersweet for us as we heard of Félix's sudden passing. We may not have known Félix personally, apart from a few short conversions and infrequent emails, but as a regular entrant to the Applied Arts Photography Awards, we knew his work –creative, wacky and entertaining. He had a unique style that resonated. Of course, Félix's 2024 entries made it through—3 entries—two for the "The Brooks", a Montreal-based band and a new client. The "Brooks" was his last project, and as band member Alexandre Lapointe says, "Félix was super proud of this project, and I think Félix might even say that this is some of his most accomplished work”. 


We recognize this extraordinary artist alongside those who collaborated with Félix to celebrate his life and creative brilliance by sharing their memories and insights on working with this remarkable artist.


Felix always pushed himself with every project. Marilou Bergeron, Makeup Artist, reflects, "He made me want to surpass myself, he made me push my creativity, and today, in his honour, I will for sure push myself to achieve more." “Do it! Even if it seems complicated or impossible, it is one piece of advice he could've shared with new aspiring creatives”.


Mike Clay from the band Clay and Friends, "Félix, was a part of the genesis. He single-handedly created our visual identity by bringing out the best in every one of us – A real visionary. He saw what la musica Popular de Verdun could look like before any of us knew what we'd become". Mike recalls his most memorable project he worked on with Felix, their album release of Aguà – "Félix literally turned Clay and Friends into a "message in the bottle." Mike recounts the shoot, which was one thing, but the edit he pulled off was unbelievable. "I kept telling him that every final shot he'd show me was a post for a show or movie I couldn't wait to watch".

 Clay and Friends

"Clay And Friends - Agua" a 2022 Photography Award winner.

Mike's most significant takeaway from working with Felix is that "being nice is cool. Your intentions matter, and so does the energy you put out into the room. Don't ever guess what anyone is going through. Be Interested, not interesting".


"Félix didn't care as much about a person's level of experience and background or 'job title" didn't matter", says Pétronille Gontaud, a best friend and colleague, "rather, it was ideas and motivation. He truly valued having your opinions and ideas. He treated you like a partner in the creation and not an assistant who executes – this is so rare and amazing. He always was very generous creatively and encouraging of the people he chose to work with, connected with and felt inspired by." Tommy Matteau, the main photo assistant, recounts a similar experience. "Ultimately, the best idea should always prevail, no matter the status of the person presenting it, as long as it makes the best photo. Felix's genuinely cool and friendly aura left no one indifferent. Every shoot was a small celebration for him, and he didn't hide his enjoyment of it".


Tommy's fondest memory of Felix is "turning the unwanted into a joyful, colourful party. That's the most beautiful creative legacy he left me." On our way to different location shoots, we often had time to discuss life's challenges, our role as fathers, family compromises, and other conversations between sensitive guys". Tommy remembers having this discussion with Felix about mental saturation and burnout. Tommy remembers when Felix shared with him that he felt a feeling of suffocation, a sense of not having enough mental space to deal with all the situations he was feeling. […] he quickly grabbed a notepad and a pencil to make quick sketches. So, as I drove carefully towards the Olympic Stadium on Sherbrooke Street, Felix drew an outline of what would become SATURÉ, one of his last creative projects, striking with colours.


"A true friend, somebody that I could lean on when I had any questions in my personal or professional life. He was like a big brother to me", says Raoul Fortier-Mercier, 2nd assistant.


Virginie Houde-Briand, a colleague and the general director at Shoot Studio, only met Felix in 2023 but remembers his big heart. "It's hard to draw the line between friendship and work; I think it was also his wish to never "work" but to feel like he was "playing" every day. Virginie's fondest memory of Felix was their conversations about life. "There was a lot of wisdom in the simple things he could say. Even today, I know he passed on many "messages" that will continue to help me evolve."


Felix always led with a smile and kindness, says Francis Joyal, 2nd photo assistant. "The control and confidence he had on set were infectious. He was always open to sharing his knowledge with us through projects. It was like a master class with every project." One piece of advice that Felix could've shared with aspiring creatives … "to be rigorous and nurture your creativity. Felix never went far without his iPad to sketch concepts or just to stay in a creative mindset."


Felix continually pushed himself to do better next, says Amélie Thomas, makeup artist, "he put pressure on himself, but it also motivated him a lot. Amélie says, "I will miss his friendship, especially his extreme kindness. There's no one quite like Felix!"


Félix Renaud leaves a rich and vast collection of work that will continue to inspire all creatives. His unique perspective and creative vision resonated deeply within the industry, and he will be greatly missed by all who knew him.


Let's keep this incredible person and artist's memory alive; share your story with us at @appliedartsmag.