The Home Front: Gabriola artist partners with Vancouver developers to create public art

Open more share options Breadcrumb Trail Links Westcoast Homes And Design Homes Design The Home Front: Gabriola artist partners with Vancouver developers to create public art Deb Chaney partnered with Adera Development to create four large murals on the side of their recently completed North Vancouver residential development Crest. | Author of the article:Rebecca Keillor Publishing date: May 06, 2022

Gabriola Island artist Deb Chaney has partnered with Adera Development to create four large murals on the side of their recently completed North Vancouver residential development Crest. The City of North Vancouver was also involved.

Chaney’s murals were inspired by how it feels to walk through Lynn Valley, with its rushing river and the motion of that water. Along with the feel of the forest in fall, dry twigs, leaves and decay, she says.

“You just have this incredible beauty. It’s ephemeral and always changing. Every time you walk in the forest there, it’s different. Capturing this feeling with abstract paintings was the inspiration.”

The project took almost two years to complete, kicking off in 2019 when Chaney’s submission to be considered as the artist for this job was shortlisted.

Chaney was up against artists who applied from all over British Columbia, Alberta and Washington, and after presenting to the Adera group, with nine or 10 shortlisted artists, she was chosen.

Originally, Chaney says she was to create two murals, but it ended up being four. She worked in collaboration with Portugal-based tile company Viuva Lamego, who translated her abstract art into tiles, with samples sent back and forth to get the colours and design just right.

There were more than 2,200 tiles used for this installation, she says, which travelled by boat from Portugal to the Panama Canal, and by air from Montreal to Vancouver.

“When they arrived, we unpacked them and counted them and looked for any cracks,” she says. Having them installed on the side of the Crest buildings took around six weeks, with inevitably rain breaks here and there.

Rocky Sethi is chief operating officer for Adera Development and one of the people involved in choosing Chaney as the artist for this project.

“Deb was picked because she has a great energy. She’s new to public art of this scale, but it was her personality and her vision that drew us to her pieces,” he says.

There were dozens of phone calls back in forth, and it was an extremely collaborative process. “She was just really great to work with,” adds Sethi.

Adera has a track record of creating public art, especially on the North Shore, Sethi explains. In the last twelve years, they’ve contributed eight public art pieces. “All these pieces add interest as opposed to just building a stand-alone development; it’s more about what can we add to the ground plan? How can we knit our development into the community at large?”

Adera has three more developments planned for the North Shore, and public art is included in these, says Sethi. They also have a large mass-timber condo development underway in Surrey, named Pura, and are working with the City of Surrey to have public art included in this project.

For Chaney, she hopes that her artwork inspires others to get out there and create things.

“I think right now we’re heading into a mental health crisis for many people, and I personally believe getting into a creative process and pursuing any form of creativity is incredibly healing,” she says.

Chaney says she thinks it’s interesting this project happened during COVID and required so many people to come together and collaborate.

She hopes people will pass by her work and think, ‘I can create art.’

“I say good, go do it!”


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