How the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, Influenced A Decade of Painting.
The year was 2010, and I had been working as a full-time professional Canadian artist for 3 years. Before that I was doing what many do in my profession, work a side job to pay the bills, while making Art in my off hours. During the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games the city of Vancouver was punctuated with Canadian stereotype, and the air thick with smells of maple syrup pride. I came home from the experience with visions of red, maple leaves, and hockey. All these experiences zipping across my temporal lobe.
I attended a Canucks game shortly after the Vancouver Olympic Games, Roberto Luongo in goal, the energy from the Games still in the arena. The chanting still strong, the singing of the Canadian National Anthem louder than ever before. I am pretty sure if you were walking outside the stadium, you could hear the voices ringing out within!
Up until this point in my career as an artist, the sport of Hockey had yet to appear in my work. This year was different. On the tail of our Canadian hockey gold at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, hockey fever was stronger than ever, and it was hard to ignore the buzz. I could not ignore the energy and enthusiasm of everyone around me, and Hockey found its way into my brain, and onto my canvas.
On my travels across Canada I have taken thousands of photos for reference, and as I scoured I came across the rookie mask of Hockey Great, Ken Dryden, whose mask resides at the Hockey Hall of Fame. I was taken with the character of the mask, as in Dryden’s day the mold of the mask actually resembled the shape of the players face very distinctly, so that even though it is beaten up with nicks and dents, you can still see his face whenever you see the mask. I developed a deep appreciation of how dangerous the game was for him back then, with the mask as proof, it is pitted so badly that it is a wonder his face survived the game. Impressive and inspiring.
The painting now affectionately known across Canada as, ‘The Goalie’s Mask Painting‘ marks the first in a series that began as ‘Iconic’. Later Growing into a body of work known as ‘Pop Canadianisms’, under my social media persona and hashtag #ICONICCANUCK. The first solo exhibition of the work, which took place in Edmonton Alberta, was titled, #ICONICCANUCK. THe name coming to me after promoting my work, and engaging through the use of social media and Twitter. I spent a week as curator of the @peopleofcanada Twitter account in 2013, the rest is history.
A decade in, and my pop visions of Canada continue to evolve. Now with approximately 90 paintings in the series, and about 60 appearing on my website, this series just keeps on growing. My touring solo exhibitions in 2017, featured 30 of the paintings from the first 5 years of the series. Now a decade in I am gearing up for something new, spurred on by fans of the work. For the first time I am releasing 20 of the paintings in the series, as limited edition fine art prints. With many of the originals now priced in the $7000 to $15,000, I want to give everyone the opportunity to own a piece of the collection. With the evolution of technology in digital imaging and printing, the ability to offer museum quality Giclee prints on paper at an affordable price point, is easier than ever.
Again I went to social media, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram; as well as my existing clients, and I asked ‘the people’ to select their ‘top 10’ paintings from a select 50 ‘Pop Canadianisms’. The results that came back were both expected, and surprising. Now I will add my ‘top 10’ selections, and we will begin offering prints in Spring 2020.
It has been a fascinating, interactive, productive, and reflective decade of learning on all fronts. In many ways the enthusiasm and feedback from collectors, fans, and friends have provided additional fuel to keep going. I have held close a few quotes over the years and adopted them as a mantra, one of my favourites is, “don’t play to the audience, inspire the audience” and it is what I hope to do with every painting I create. With every photograph I take, and every contemplative moment shared on social media. Whether it is my process as an artist, my space, the work, or the journey; if it touches even one person, I feel my contributions to the collective consciousness are worthwhile.
Enough with the words, here are the ‘top 10’ paintings as chosen by you, for the 2020 print offering.
10. Poppies For Louise
9. Rocky Mountains Higher
8. Under A Borealis Sky
7. Canoe View
5. Remember Us
4. Let Your Backbone Rise
3. Feathers Over Blanket
2. Complementary Canoes
1. Face Off
Next Up: my top 10 selections for the 2020 print release – more to come! Until then, a new painting for you.