Hey my friends its been awhile since I've blogged. So much has changed since we left the NorthWest Flower and Garden Show in early March. With the cancellation of art shows and festivals for the rest of the year we have had to change the plan and get creative. It's working out well; sales are strong and travel expenses are down. While still delivering sculpture in person here on Vancouver Island, we have had to come up with some creative shipping plans for Canada, the USA and the rest of the world. Shipping has become much easier and quicker over the last few years.
Its been quite a while since we installed Gas Town Buskers at the BC Children’s Hospital Acute Care Center in Vancouver. I am always playing catch up, there seems to be no end to it; which is a good thing. In October 2016 the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation commissioned me to build a sculpture for the new Acute Care Center, which was still under construction. The sculpture was to be situated on the sixth-floor outdoor patio. I was (and am) very honored to be chosen for this project. Over the course of that summer I built the piece and installed it in September.
A few weeks ago we were very fortunate to be contacted by a producer from OhMore Media. He asked if I would be interested in taking part in a documentary featuring my sculptures. The main interest was to be my process. Why not?! Director Ken Barnes enters the story ... And he brought his incredible talent with him. Ken recognized and captured the joy in my work. Here it is: 'The Gift of Joy'….
Traveling across the United State for the first time was an eye opener. We left Mount Vernon, Washington about ten or ten thirty Monday morning heading for DuPage IL, just outside of Chicago. My GPS claimed the trip was twenty-eight hundred miles, travel duration thirty-six hours. Three days to travel most of the way across America. ‘The I 90 never stops’; we saw that sign over and over as we travelled, and it was true! There was construction all the way, but I don’t think the traffic flow stopped once. Washington; Idaho; Montana; ……. The sights went on forever.
2017 has been the busiest year ever for us. With three or four art shows in Canada and the USA, I don’t even know how many private pieces and two pubic art commissions. Jann and I both have worked full time on the business this year and after many years we are starting to enjoy the success of our labours.
Public art 2017 # 1 - The Water Works
Recently I was contacted by the DuPage Children’s Museum to create a water sculpture for their facility. The museum is just what you would expect: A place for kids to have fun while discovering new things, and experiencing how those things work. Filled with colour and super-fun looking mechanical and scientific installations, the DuPage Children’s Museum must be a dream place for kids of all ages to visit and hang out.
A few weeks ago we completed installing a sculpture at Maplewood Farm in North Vancouver, BC. The sculpture was commissioned by the North Vancouver Regional District Arts Commission earlier this year and was intended to be a functional part of the farm’s rainwater collection system. Positioned between the barn eavestrough downspout and the rain barrel, the sculpture acts as a interceptor. Water Factory is a rainwater driven kinetic sculpture that embodies form and function; and was inspired by a big red barn wall.
Like most kids of my generation I saw the movie “The Music Man” when it first came out in our local theater. Not many years after the movie I joined a marching band. It wasn’t so much a marching band as it was a drum corps supporting a group of majorettes. The “Owen Sound High Steppers” toured around southern Ontario in Canada for many years. My job in the drum corps was to hold down the bottom end. The bass drum. I guess I didn’t have the chops to play the snare drum.
Here are some photos of my most recent musical instrument fountain. I enjoy building sculptures that share the same basic theme, and the French Horn Union is one of those. I think this is number nine or ten in the French Horn Union series. I'm calling this piece "The French Horn Connection" Each sculpture in the series shares the common factor of a pair of french horns setup in an "S" shaped pattern, but that's the end of any similarity. I couldn't duplicate a fountain sculpture if I tried.
I am so very excited to have finished this sculpture; "Obsession" As many of you know, I mainly build water feature sculptures from up-cycled, discarded musical instruments and found objects, but once in awhile I get to stray from the usual and tread in unfamiliar places. The idea for the Cat Lady sculpture was inspired by one of my long time clients. She wanted me to build a significant piece as a gift for her employer. He, "the employer", is just crazy about cats; in fact he is the founder of a well known cat rescue organization.
This is part of an ongoing series, we are doing to feature all the amazing Master Upcyclers out there. Have someone we should consider writing about, then please Email Us! Follow the Master Upcycler Series here. Whimsical, eclectic, and humorous, award winning Canadian artist Douglas Walker blends and forms ordinary objects into finely crafted garden sculptures.
Melody and Mike Lee stopped by my studio the other day to have a look around. They had seen a fountain I made several years ago at The James Gallery on Quadra Island. I didn't have many fountains to show them so they kindly commissioned me to make one for them. I'm looking forward to getting started on it in the fall. While they were here Melody took a photo of the musical instrument sculpture that I am working on. I love the photo because it really captures the mood of the sculpture, as well as the chaos that I call a studio. Thanks Melody!
I met a new friend (Rick Underwood) last weekend at the Moss Street Paint In, in Victoria BC. He had recently been to Nelson BC where he happened upon my sculpture; 76 Trombones. He did a wonderful job of capturing the spirit of 76 Trombones and the results are below. Thanks Rick! The City of Nelson has leased this musical instrument sculpture for the next year from the Castlegar Sculpturewalk lease program.