By Nicole Fitzgerald
What: Harvest Art Fest
Who: Evan Biswanger
When: Thursday, Sept. 21
Where: Fountain Courtyard
Admission: By donation
It took a deadline, but creativity heard the call of time ticking down. It’s not artistic verve or even driven ambition but the desperation of needing to complete promised new works for the Harvest Art Fest Thursday, Sept. 21 that fuels his pen and paint brush.
Illustrator Evan Biswanger, a modern Michelangelo of the commercial art world, wouldn’t have it any other way. Someone commissioning his works or at least offering an opportunity for him to showcase his artwork motivates the portrait-driven artist, who works in ink and acrylics.
The award-winning artist has a generous portfolio to bare testimony. Only instead of flipping through an ear-torn scrapbook, Biswanger surfs the Internet to share his works.
He begins with www.piquenewsmagazine.com , popping up front cover pages boasting his detailed portraits placed in surreal environments.
Each cover page tells a story. Sometimes told on its own; the image of a long-haired hippie with circle eyeglasses holding a sign with a red veto crossing out a chainsaw in front of a background of trees needs no explanation on what is at the heart of the logging story.
“This is a good example of composition,” Biswanger explains. “There is a flow to it. Your eye doesn’t stop. It keeps you going.”
Other stories only become evident once the reader turns inside to delve into the article. On top of a mountain, a laughing man tosses coins into the air while seated on an electric toy horse you might find in a shopping mall. The article that follows divulges things to do in Whistler on a nickel and dime budget.
“I much prefer art with a purpose; it’s challenging,” Biswanger says. “It’s a challenge to put your own spin on an already existing idea.”
Biswanger was trained at the top illustration program in the world at Sheridan College, Ontario. Only instead of following in the Disney footsteps like so many of the college’s graduates, Biswanger took another route — a flight to Whistler to participate in a work co-op at the Pique Newsmagazine. Three years later, his artwork continues to grace the covers of the newsmagazine and his graphic art the advertisements found therein. His artistry is not only a familiar sight around town, but a familiar sound as well. He joins Jay Brown and James Lawson as the drummer of the Halcyon Daze, often heard on the patio at Merlin’s.
“It all has to do with layout and composition,” Biswanger says of the crossover, spanning colouring to composition. “I think I have a good eye for it and that is good for whatever art genre you are in — even in music.”
Biswanger also designed promotional items for musicians and poster illustrations for organizations such as the Short Skirt Theatre Company and events such as the Harvest Art Fest.
Biswanger is one of a dozen artists joining the intimate soiree of art demonstrations, exhibits and live music this Thursday from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. at the Fountain Courtyard behind the Holiday Inn.
The festival celebrates the autumn equinox with fall décor, live jazz and blues on acoustic guitar and saxophone, and artists showcasing everything from paintings to jewelry.
Other artists showcased include Justin Ormiston, Kasia Jasnowski, Daniel Poisson, Mark Richards, Kym Terrill, Emma Gunderson, Michelle Klaui and Caroline Miller.
Admission is by donation.