Brushstrokes make Cassiar Cannery a work of art – Prince Rupert Northern View

Cassiar Cannery emphasizes multiple levels of a new artist-in-residence at the Port Edward site. Renowned Vancouver artist Jeff Wilson spent three weeks at the Cannery, sponsored by the Prince Rupert Community Art Council (PRCAC) as part of their annual “long residency”.

Wilson will apply her acrylic-on-canvas brushes through May 10 at the North Shore tourist attraction which welcomes artists from many genres and mediums for short and long residencies each year.

“Jeff has received a number of awards, including being a finalist for Saltspring’s inaugural National Art Award, appearing on the recent TV show ‘Landscape Artist of the Year Canada’, and receiving two Small Arts Grants from the Vancouver Foundation’s Downtown Eastside,” PRCAC said. . “He has done residencies at Booth in Shetland, Parks Canada’s Art in the Park and Wallace Stegner House.

Getting to work as soon as he arrived on April 20, Wilson said The view from the north it finds its inspiration in its natural surroundings, such as the landscape, aspects of the resource industry like mining, logging, and of course, the prominent railroad cars on the north coast. He takes photographs of vignettes and scenes that catch his eye interpreting them through his artistic vision and manual labor, such as fishing and canning, he said.

His first work at the cannery depicts a morning view under the wharf under a shed. The 30 inch by 40 inch painting will take about a week.

“I talk to people, I listen to stories, I read, etc. Ultimately, some stories resonate with what you see. Ideas just flow. You photograph them and then turn them into paintings,” he said.

Originally from Edinburgh, Wilson has made Vancouver his home base since moving to British Columbia in 2004. He is one of 25 members of Portside Studios, an artists’ co-op in Gastown where his studio is located. work. It’s the largest artists’ co-op in British Columbia, he said, and is lined with more than 500 artists in the Gastown area.

It was in 2010, after studying at Emily Carr University, that his life began to turn him into a full-time professional artist after a career as a geologist with painting only as a hobby.

“I’ve done a lot of fieldwork when I was doing geological work in remote areas for long periods of time and you’re just building up your routine,” he said, adding that it helped him. with his time at the cannery.

Wilson wakes up, eats breakfast, and warms up the artist’s studio with the wood stove to paint until noon. In the afternoon, he travels the region to meet people.

He said he wanted to create a traveling portfolio of 10-15 pieces to exhibit in galleries and a number of venues over the next two years. He currently paints up to 50 pieces per year of various sizes. A large piece of art, like the Cassiar Cannery Underdock, takes about a week, and smaller ones take less time.

While Wilson is known for his visual narratives of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside cityscapes, he paints a variety of themes such as landscapes, animals, pop culture pieces like candy, junk food and neon signs. vintage.

“So the signs that might end up in my collection might be the West End or the Stardust. They’re sort of ‘from that period,'” he said. Canadian history, often reflecting the history of immigration and the railways.

Wilson said it was his favorite to paint figurative works like portraits and he would like to see greater appeal for them. They sell well in major art markets in London, Hong Kong and New York, he said. However, in British Columbia, scenic works and landscapes sell best. He prefers acrylic as his chosen medium because of the strong, bold colors and quick-drying qualities of the paint.

Wilson’s acclaim includes exhibitions in public galleries in British Columbia, Alberta and Washington State.

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Vancouver artist Jeff Wilson mixes paint for an acrylic on canvas painting replicating the Cassiar Cannery sub-dock in Port Edward, April 25, as part of the Prince Rupert Community Art Council’s residency program. (Photo: KJ Millar/The Northern View)