The Fernie & District Arts Council are delighted to announce the selected artist for the Fernie Mural Project; Michael Hepher with his piece, “All Kinds of Beauty”.

“We are very excited to have this piece added to the Fernie community and public art inventory with thanks to Columbia Basin Trust for awarding funding for the project.” stated Louise Ferguson,
FDAC Executive Director, “We received six very strong applications and the jury had a tough but exciting time selecting the final piece.”

The Fernie Arts Council are not only excited about the selected artwork but also the process for this project, which we hope will be a framework for the future. This began early on in the project by meeting with community groups, hosting round tables, and surveying the community to provide applicants with information to create a piece Fernie can be proud of.

The Jury did an excellent and very thorough job of reviewing the applications based on the criteria, ensuring the best decision was made. The Jury was made up of the following people:

Vanessa Croome- Vice President of FDAC, owner/operator of Claris Media and Visual Artist.

Ron Ulrich- Executive Director of the Fernie Historical Society and curator of the Fernie Museum.

Theresa Malan- local resident with 7 years’ experience working for commercial galleries and on public art projects in Banff.

Erica Hornquist- Architect graduate and owner/operator of Wild Wolves Design.

Mel MacVoy- Visual Artist with a degree in Fine art.

Along with the voting members we had building owner representation from Mary Heavey and City liaison Marta Proctor, Community Services Director.

The mural will be located on The Beanpod, 691 2 Ave, Fernie, on the outside wall. The mural will be on the side of the building on 7th Street. The location will be prepared in the next couple of weeks. It was decided a local professional painting company (Palata) will be employed to prepare the wall to ensure that the surface for the mural is in the best condition and ready for application. Palata Painting will also apply the top coats of Mural and graffiti protection, again to ensure the best quality for the Mural which will help ensure the longevity of the piece.

Here is the winning artist’s submission from Michael Hepher for his piece, “All Kinds of Beauty”.


Working Title: All Kinds of Beauty

A strong community is made up of all types of people who are passionate about all kinds of things. Fernie is
a place that has the opportunity to continue to build a tight-knit community because of, not in spite of, it’s diversity. My goal with this proposal was to capture in a symbolic way that beauty in the diversity we have right here in the Elk Valley.

The style I chose for this piece flows out of a series of prints I’ve been working on over the past year. They are an attempt to capture multiple facets of mountain living using a simplified vocabulary of symbols and pattern repetition to bring emphasize major themes while creating a visually unified piece. The style of these prints lend themselves well to scaling up to a mural size, using a lively but simple palette to create a striking piece.

Someone said to me recently that the Elk Valley is a place with a lot of ‘flow’. I’ve created a design for the mural that flows both from my current work as a printmaker, using the themes I observe as a landscape painter, to create that kind of ‘flow’ so persistent in our valley. My goal is to draw people along the side of the building using horizontal movement of line. Ideally they will be drawn right onto 2nd avenue where they will be presented with the ‘money shot’ view of downtown Fernie with the Lizard headwall as a backdrop.

By abstracting the landscape to a series of geometric patterns, I have moved the piece in to illumination of, rather than competition with, the ‘real’ Fernie, and pushed it into an idealized version that highlights
many aspects of life in the valley. As people move along the piece, they embark on a journey that hopefully shows them bits of themselves, but also showcases what parts others might be passionate about. My goal will be to challenge viewers to understand more about Fernie, and as all good public art does, to force people to expand the dialogue about our own understanding about who we are and what defines our community.

Embedded in the piece are symbols of industry, recreation, indigenous history, and architecture. The piece has enough flexibility that, if selected, I am happy to work with the committee to fill in any symbols
the members feel would enrich the piece or increase the relevance of it.

Artistically the piece is also designed to stand on its own as a cohesive composition. Care has been taken to give it balance, cohesion, and interest. I’ve chosen a palette that is vibrant and dynamic, but not brash. For final colour selection, I would like to consult with Ron at the Fernie Museum to ensure a diverse but historically rooted colour palette so the composition has an increased relevance to the history of the town in subtle ways that enrich the piece as well as the downtown core.

Mike Hepher will begin applying the Mural on the week of Sept 2nd with the aim to be complete by early October.

Leave a comment

Related Stories