Lesage was born in 1876 in Saint-Pierre-lez-Auchel in northern France, and spent his early life as a labourer in the coal mines. Then one evening in 1911, when he was thirty-five years old, he heard a voice underground that told him “One day, you will be a painter.”
A year later, partly through his involvement in Spiritualist circles, Lesage began communicating via automatic writing with “spirits,” including one he believed to be his sister Mary who had died in childhood. The spirits told him,
“The voices you heard were real. You will be a painter. Fear not, and heed our advice. You will find it ridiculous in the beginning, but we are the ones tracing through your hand. Do not try to understand.”
The voices proceeded to tell him which colours and brushes to buy, and where to order a canvas. Lesage ordered a small canvas, but when it arrived, it measured three meters square. He wanted to cut it into smaller pieces, but the voices stopped him.
For the next two years, he came home from the mines every night and went to work, letting the spirits guide his hand. He began in the upper right corner and gradually filled the entire canvas (which is now in Jean Dubuffet’s Collection de l’Art Brut in Lausanne). The composition was built by filling in small areas at a time. The spirits did not let him evaluate the work in its entirety: part of the canvas remained rolled as they guided his hand. “It was like working without working,” the artist recalled.
In July of 1913, Lesage interrupted his work in the mines to do some faith healing; a move that got him in hot water with French authorities who charged him with illegally practicing medicine. The testimony of his dozens of successful clients helped acquit him in 1914 and later that year he was deployed for WWI, where he continued to make drawings on postcards.
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d8, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d6, Knowledge (Art) d8, Notice d6, Shooting d4
Pace: 6; Parry: 5; Toughness: 5
Edges & Hindrances: Poverty, Arcane background (miracles), Haunted (Channeling, danger sense, séance)
Powers: Divination, Healing
Power points: 10
Gear: Uniform, ink set, sketchpad