WHO: Cameron Bird
WHAT: Artists Reception
WHERE: adele-campbell Fine Arts Gallery
WHEN: Saturday, April 7 th , 7-10 p.m.
He thanks his father for the courage to begin and artist Keith Smith for the inspiration to continue. At the age of 29, Cameron Bird, has already been showing his work for 10 years, in part due to Smith, whom he sought out as a mentor.
"Keith is a well-known Canadian wildlife and landscape artist. I first saw Keiths work in a gallery when I was in Grade 12. I thought If I ever paint that way, that would be fine with me. At the time I didnt really know who he was. I just phoned him up and he said Cmon over and from then on hes just been a great friend."
Smith recently passed away, but some say its a pleasure to see his work living on in the younger artist. Despite his schooling in graphic design and sign painting, as well as time spent at the Emily Carr Art School, its Smiths influence that is most prominent in Birds work. Use of bold strokes and emotive colour has drawn similar comments from collectors of both Smith and Birds pieces.
"A lot of people have said that theres an air of actually being there," says Bird. And thats probably because both have. Interestingly enough, both artists have spent many summers as horseback guides and draw on that time as a source of inspiration.
Birds present exhibition, Spring Ahead, also features another of his favourite landscapes: Whistler. But the painter doesnt require the serenity of the mountains or a warm summer meadow to find reason to raise his brush. Long hours spent plowing snow for Capilano Highways triggered a new interest.
"In the new show theres a few moonlight scenes. Driving at night, I started doing little pen sketches quickly on a piece of paper that would later turn into a larger piece. Being in a cab driving by myself at night I really started to notice lighting."
It was Smith who first encouraged Bird to start selling his work at a young age. Already Bird is being shown, commissioned and sold in galleries across North America and Europe. No easy accomplishment even for Canadian artists with twice his experience. Bird recalls encountering his first collector after just five short years on the scene.
"A gallery requested that I come up to meet with one person. I was actually a little surprised that they would ask me to meet with just one person. It turned out that he already owned five of my pieces. That said to me that perhaps people are seeing things that I dont."
The one person that did recognize Birds talent from the start was his father, who has always been a hobby painter. And perhaps at that tender age, Cameron did have some intuition of where his fathers passions would lead him.
"When I was very young I did a painting with him. We did it together. He doesnt know, but I still have that painting."