Landscapes aren’t a natural part of Ilka Bauer’s artistic endeavours but nature is.
So when The Island Illustrators Society decided to create Big Canadian Stuff – Eh! to celebrate Canada’s 150 years of confederation, the Oak Bay artist was tasked with creating a vintage style travel poster for the showcase.
“I just wanted to see if I could do it and I also love the look of those old posters, they’re very very beautiful,” Bauer said. “The basic idea is you have big features ,man made or natural, given my background as a biologist and being a first-generation immigrant it’s still the natural features that amaze me. … I thought let’s just try it and see what happens.”
Through these images, artists invite viewers to take a journey across Canada, visiting the 10 provinces and three territories and witness the giant natural and man-made icons for which Canada is famous.
Bauer created two works, Newfoundland and Labrador’s iceberg alley and the Hudson Bay lowlands.
“It’s actually a collaboration with one of the other illustrators. It’s a big wetland landscape in Ontario and Manitoba,” she said. “It’s the size of Germany and a lot of people haven’t heard of it.”
Working with other artists, garnering feedback throughout the process, was another new note for Bauer.
“I’ve collaborated writing pieces but I’ve never done that in art, it was interesting but it was really good. You can actually draw on the strength of two different people,” she said.
Society show participants are required to produce work with specific parameters, in a familiar or new medium, and to meet the designers’ deadlines. This assignment prepares the artists for work in the field of illustration, while the exhibit helps to showcase our local home-grown illustration talents.
“You have to grow at anything. Every now and again you have to step out of your comfort zone and just try it because if you don’t you’re never going to get better, or learn new things,” Bauer said.
July 1, 2017 marks 150 years of Canada’s Confederation and the Island Illustrators Society celebration through vintage-style travel posters shows Jan. 4 to 29 at the Coast Collective Art Centre in Colwood. Later, the exhibition embarks on a journey of its own, to include branches of the Greater Victoria Public Library.
To further celebrate, Island Illustrators include a selection of their favourite works and illustrations of Canada. The posters and works will be available for purchase. For details visit www.islandillustrators.org online.