Artist Gabriola partners with Vancouver developers to create public art

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Deb Chaney has partnered with Adera Development to create four large murals on the side of their recently completed Crest residential development in North Vancouver.

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

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Chaney’s murals were inspired by the feeling of walking through Lynn Valley, with its rushing river and the movement of that water. Along with the feel of the forest in the fall, dry twigs, leaves and decay, she says.

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

The project lasted nearly two years, and began in 2019 when Chaney’s submission to be considered the artist for this work was shortlisted.

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

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Artwork by Deb Chaney.  Photo credit: Deb Chaney The Home Front VS0507 Westcoast Homes: Artist Gabriola partners with Vancouver developers to create public art by Rebecca Keillor
Artwork by Deb Chaney. Photo by Deb Chaney

Originally, Chaney says she was supposed to create two murals, but it ended up being four. She worked in collaboration with Portuguese tile company Viuva Lamego, who translated her abstract art into tiles, with samples sent back and forth to achieve the perfect colors and design.

More than 2,200 tiles were used for this installation, she says, which traveled by boat from Portugal to the Panama Canal and by plane from Montreal to Vancouver.

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

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

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“Deb was chosen because she has great energy. She is new to public art of this scale, but it was her personality and her vision that drew us to her works,” he says.

There were dozens of phone calls and it was an extremely collaborative process. “It was really great working with her,” adds Sethi.

Gabriola Island artist Deb Chaney worked with Portuguese tile company Viuva Lamego to create these public art murals on the Adera's Crest development in North Vancouver.
Gabriola Island artist Deb Chaney worked with Portuguese tile company Viuva Lamego to create these public art murals on the Adera’s Crest development in North Vancouver. Photo by Deb Chaney

Adera has a proven track record in creating public art, particularly on the North Shore, Sethi explains. Over the past twelve years, they have contributed eight works of public art. “All of these pieces add interest as opposed to just building a standalone development; it’s more about what can be added to the ground plan? How can we integrate our development with the community as a whole? »

Adera has three other developments planned for the North Shore, and public art is included in those, Sethi says. They also have a large log cabin development underway in Surrey, named Pura, and are working with the City of Surrey to have public art included in this project.

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For Chaney, she hopes her works will inspire others to get out there and create things.

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

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

She hopes people will walk past her work and think, “I can create art.

“I say well, go ahead!”

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