March 31, 2015 Filed in: Shows and Unveilings
Yukon Hospital Foundation tweets “Tundra Swan by Shane Wilson is proudly displayed at the entrance of the brand new MRI Suite at Whitehorse General Hospital.”
How wonderful! Thank you to the Yukon Hospital Foundation for this honour!
When I carved Tundra Swan for the Foundation’s 'Under Our Wing' fundraising campaign poster in 2005, it was my hope that the sculpture would find a permanent home with the great Yukon art displayed throughout Whitehorse General Hospital. And now it has!
BY ROSS ARMOUR
By the end of the summer, a sculpture artist based in Nanoose Bay will have completed his latest piece valued at $320,000, which is entirely made up of carved moose antler.
Back in November 2013, Shane Wilson, 54, began working on Borealis and Oreithyia (formerly Ahead of the Curves) after acquiring a load of moose antler from the wild during his days in the Yukon, where he lived for 22 years.
He has been on the Island since 2007.
With upward of 200,000 moose in the Yukon, Wilson said people who hunt the animal for food would then have no use for the antlers and come drop them on his doorstep to put to use.
It was back in 1985 when Wilson first came across a carved antler piece, in the Yukon Gallery, which illustrated birds by Maureen Morris. He has been hooked on the art form ever since.
"I love the shape, power and beauty of found antlers and bones," said Wilson. "To me they represent the absolute triumph of life in an incomprehensibly vast universe. I delight in transforming them into fine art, expressions of the highest order, objects of rare beauty."
The sculpture is named after the Greek god of the north wind and his wife and the inspiration came from Wilson's views of the northern lights which he says were a regular occurrence from his days in the north.
He uses a variety of power tools, grinders and burrs to operate in his work. "Antler isn't particularly hard to carve with power tools. Care when carving is required, because it's not a consistent material all the way through."
"Though each of my sculptures are unique, carrying their own story and meaning, I employ common themes or design elements which function as a sculptural language. The two basic elements of this sculptural language are the curved and the angled shapes or patterns which represent duality, 'the dance of polar opposites' which form the basic nature of reality as experienced by the self-conscious, mortal soul."
Wilson says the $320,000 price tag is a combination of time spent on the work, time spent in the art form and the originality of the piece.
"When I make art, I work hard to create something of value, something original, beautiful, meaningful, universal. Something which I hope contributes to the human project and captures something of the spirit of those who live in a manner that leave the world a better, richer, more beautiful place."
Wilson says he hopes the art form can be attributed to a variety of things by different sets of people due to its abstract nature.
For more information on Wilson and his work visit www.shanewilson.com.
- See the article in The Nanaimo Daily News Digital Edition
February 26, 2015 Filed in: Borealis and Oreithyia (Curves)
Dave White: Hello Shane Wilson!
Shane Wilson: Hello Dave White!
Dave White: How’re you doing?
Shane Wilson: I’m doing well, thanks.
Dave White: So we’ll catch up with you and talk about what you’ve been up to since you left the Yukon, or at least most recently in a bit, but first of all, we’re talking about a specific piece of art. So, I wonder if you can tell me about this piece?
Shane Wilson: We’re talking about Ahead of the Curves. It’s a new piece that I’m undertaking; a piece of my own interest, which follows up on some earlier themes that I worked on years ago based on the curving, Celtic, interweaving pattern. It’s a double antler, carved abstractly, based on the same design principle as the commission I did for the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto, where the two antlers are mounted side by side and the abstract pattern goes together.
Dave White: So it’s somewhat similar to the piece here at the Canada Games Centre and really elaborate, I’d imagine?
Shane Wilson: It is elaborate, but it’s not like the piece at the Canada Games Centre, which is more figurative, with animals, whereas this is going to be completely abstract.
Dave White: Now I understand there has already been an appraisal; it’s already been valued?
Shane Wilson: The value is the value that I place on it, based on other work that I’ve done, previous commissions, my pricing schedule, clients valuation of the work, etc.
Dave White: And what is that valuation?
Shane Wilson: $320,000, retail.
Dave White: That’s a lot of money.
Shane Wilson: It is a lot of money, Dave.
Dave White: So how do you come to something like that?
Shane Wilson: I use a number of factors: the size, the square footage of the sculpture itself, the amount of carving, time - this one will take two years, I’m already a year and a bit into it - the engagement of other professionals in terms of marketing and sales, advertizing, and so on. Even with all that, it is a fairly costly piece. The truth of it is, Dave, the price of my work has gone up over the last few years. It’s always been a bit high, but it’s slowly growing and I think that’s kind of fabulous.
Dave White: Yes, of course it is! Are you comfortable as an artist attaching a dollar figure to your work?
Shane Wilson: No, I’m never comfortable, but it’s something as an artist you have to do. You have to take a hard look at what you’re doing and grin and bear it, I guess.
Dave White: So does it have an impact for insurance?
Shane Wilson: Well, it certainly does for the people who purchase the art and during transportation.
Dave White: Who do you have in mind for this particular piece?
Shane Wilson: I don’t have anyone in particular in mind. That’s in fact why I’ve engaged The Artist Project, the group in the Yukon, Susan Stanley and Allan Nixon, who have undertaken to represent Northern artists, and I still really consider myself one after living in the North for 20 some odd years, to help get the story out about the piece, to meet new people and see where it goes.
Dave White: So when do you think you will have it completed?
Shane Wilson: I am a terrible guesser at how long it takes to make things, I usually underestimate but I’d say next November - optimistically, maybe this summer.
Dave White: And overall, how are things going for you since you left the Territory?
Shane Wilson: Really well! On the family front, I now have five grandkids, which is awesome. They live close by and its been great to see them, sometimes on a daily basis, to watch them grow. I’ve completed some great commissions, both private and public, which has also been wonderful. One of the highlights has been the lobby piece for the new Four Seasons flagship hotel in Toronto. It was really and honour and cool to meet the people involved with the Four Seasons as well. Lots of great learning, I’ve tried some new media. Recently, I’ve taken up permanent residence in Nanoose Bay, and have a new studio and just love it here.
Dave White: That piece you did for the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto, have you seen it, in the lobby?
Shane Wilson: Oh yeah, I installed it in the lobby.
Dave White: That must be pretty cool, to think that that’s going to be there in such a well known, well established, popular place!
Shane Wilson: It’s pretty awesome, actually, Dave!
Dave White: Thanks very much!
Shane Wilson: Thank you for calling.
(photo by Jessica Skelton)
STAYING AHEAD OF THE CURVES
After 20 years of carving commissioned sculptures, artist Shane Wilson decided to take his first major personal project off the back burner. He then turned to The Artist Project to help him connect with a potential buyer.
by Jessica Skelton
Ahead of the Curves, the latest sculpture by Nanoose Bay artist Shane Wilson, will sell for an estimated $320,000. That's nearly the average sale price for a single-family home in the Parksville/Qualicum Beach area.
"It's probably the most beautiful I've done," he said of the piece, which is equivalently priced to his other work based on time and material. "I want this to appear simple and sublime, but it's really quite complex."
The sculpture is a pair of moose antlers, mounted side-by-side, carved into a curvy, inter-lapping design that flows between the two pieces. "Your eyes can take different paths," Wilson said. "You get lost in the endless curve."
While the piece's design is continuously refined, Ahead of the Curves is a calculated work that took shape long before Wilson picked up his electric Dremel tools. "I can't experiment," he said. "I can only take things away. You have to have things imagined beforehand."
This forethought is particularly important, Wilson said, when working with the multiple planes of moose antlers. "The designs don't always read as you intend," he said. "It's (about) playing with the curves and distortions so that the piece looks right from every direction."
Wilson estimates that the entire sculpture will take 700 hours over two years to finish, of which he's completed 400 hours since Nov. 2013.
Ahead of the Curves is the first in a series of major personal carvings, including one on a mammoth tusk, that Wilson has envisioned for the past 20 years while busying himself with mainly commissioned work.
"They were always on the back burner," he said. "I thought, 'If I don't take the time now, I might never do it.'"
To do such a large piece without a prior financial security is "a bit of a departure," he admits. And to ensure this "significant investment" of time and effort doesn't go to waste, Wilson recently partnered with The Artist Project(TAP) to market the work.
TAP is a Yukon-based organization founded by Susan Stanley and her husband Allan Nixon in 2014 to represent and manage Northern artists whose work inspires them.
"It's rather a selfish project," said Stanley, who previously worked for CBC radio. "If I believe in the art, I think others will believe in it too."
TAP provides services like selling and promoting particular pieces of art, creating business plans, helping with accounting and representing artists at events like gallery openings and receptions. In Wilson's case, TAP will also produce an interactive website that details the evolution of Ahead of the Curves from concept to completion in order to connect him with the public and a potential buyer.
"Artists are in so much need of representation," Stanley said. "It's too labour intensive for many artists (to do art and promotions)." She also added that many artists have a hard time promoting themselves.
Stanley said she and Nixon are also excited to work with Wilson because, like the other artists they represent, his work inspires "some sort of change."
For Wilson, that change has to do with sustainability. "I work within the bounds of nature," he said, adding that the natural materials he uses — which range from horn and antler to ivory and teeth — are not harvested illegally or purposely for his art. Some were naturally shed, others were found on animal remains and some were the byproduct of food hunting.
Wilson said he also strives for his art to be sustainable in the sense that it is timeless and will be considered beautiful by generations to come.
"It's not gimmicky," he said. "I'm building value back into art."
Although Wilson and his family left the Yukon for B.C. in 2007, he still considers himself a Northern artist. "I lived in the North most of my life," he said, adding that his carving was "born" in that part of Canada.
Wilson started carving in 1993 while he was working as an Anglican minister in small Northern towns. "My life has been concerned with meaning and sharing meaning," he said, adding that he left the priesthood after 10 years in part due to the fact he found himself no longer believing that meaning comes "from outside oneself."
"We (humans) create meaning," he said. "My art is about sharing the meaning I found within."
And when Ahead of the Curves is finished sometime next year, the artist hopes someone will connect with that meaning enough to take his sculpture home.
PDF Version PQB News - Staying Ahead of the Curves