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Through the Mystic

These last couple of years have seen an incredible amount of change for me… this new series has arisen out of this change and was formulated as the result of a trip to Vancouver Island earlier this year. My trip started in Vancouver with a visit with my sister, hiking, taking photos, sketching and exploring new work from artist colleagues on Granville Island. The ferry ride across the Salish Sea to Vancouver Island was beautiful as always, and I really enjoyed my time with friends exploring the Shawnigan Lake area. I hopped across to quaint Salt Spring Island for some further exploration and realized when I arrived, that I hadn't been there for almost 30 years… yikes! The island has changed a lot, and yet somehow has managed to stay the same...

 

When I was 21, I ventured on an epic summer bike trip from Calgary to Tofino on BC’s rugged west coast before heading to art school at ACAD that Fall. The adventure began with a long train ride to Vancouver — it was cheap and awesome at the time, and meandered through the Rockies at incredibly slow speeds… perhaps they’d be fast for 1910 or whenever that railroad was built... but it was beautiful. A couple of days were spent in Vancouver with an Aunt and Uncle, and then I pedaled off to Galiano Island. What a glorious first destination!

 

From there I went to Salt Spring and Pender Islands… though possibly not in that order. Victoria followed, and then out to Sooke for its infamously amazing potholes. Many misadventures with new friends in Victoria ensued. Eventually, I made my way all the way up to Port Alberni and then I was off to my final destinations of Ucluelet and Tofino.

 

My grand cycling adventure prior to starting art college was perfect, and allowed me to ponder and explore those really big questions like “where do I fit in the world?” And “what is my place in it?” Not such unusual questions for a young person, but ones that I really needed to figure out.

 

I was born in Tofino at the tiny general hospital perched on the side of a cliff, overlooking the vast waters. This area was, and still is so beautiful and majestic. My dad was the manager of the Co-op in Ucluelet, and we lived in a little trailer out back in what is now the parking lot. It was 1967 and this area was extremely remote. Twenty years later here I was, a young adult trying to find my way… and my roots.

 

Years later I moved to Vancouver Island, as it was the place I really felt was home. The draw to the Island was palpable. A magnetic pull that I can only explain as birth roots — not unlike a nurse log in the forest — clinging to those who we came from rather than to present life experience. I spent ten years in Victoria before a major life change dramatically shifted my direction. It ripped my roots out and sent me unwittingly through the ether.

Calgary became my home again. It was a place of familiarity, growth and change. It was a reboot for what felt like a shattered life. Calgary was, and remains like home to me. I had arrived just at the point of major change for that city and witnessed it ripen and mature. We were a reflection of each other, our stories mirroring our shattered pasts.

And here I stand, deeply rooted thirty years later, having answered those big questions and no longer wondering about my place but being in my place. Like the old growth forests of my coastal home, deeply grounded by their thick roots... I give you "Through the Mystic" a visual retrospective of growth and change.