I spent a wonderful afternoon with my family in Fort Langley today.
While the egg scramble mayhem and sugar highs rang out outside, I was drawn to the silent interiors.
Form follows function—that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union.
– Frank Lloyd Wright
Architecture should speak of its time and place, but yearn for timelessness.
– Frank Gehry
I don’t enjoy living in a white box flooded with light. I like shadows, small spaces, old furniture.
– Kevin McCloud
Every city is a ghost. New buildings rise upon the bones of the old so that each shiny steel bean, each tower of brick carries within it the memories of what has gone before, an architectural haunting. Sometimes you can catch a glimpse of these former incarnations in the awkward angle of a street or filigreed gate, an old oak door peeking out from a new facade, the plaque commemorating the spot that was once a battleground, which became a saloon and is now a park.
What happens when a case is very old, when much of its physical evidence is deteriorated or destroyed, and its main players long deceased? How do we investigate?
For me it is all about the historical context.
When I work on Molly, I step into the 1940’s through books, research, primary sources. And I do it through collecting vintage items.
The objects are the context from which I draw clues.
Now how I find these objects is a magical process. Yes, I visit my favorite places like Salmagundi West in Gastown or Village Antique Mall in Fort Langley, but the objects themselves seem to choose me.
Can that be?
Do they hold clues?
Are they trying to tell me something?
Photos by Julian Bowers
The distinction between life and lifeless is a human construct. Every atom in this body existed before organic life emerged 4000 million years ago. Remember our childhood as minerals, as lava, as rocks? Rocks contain the potentiality to weave themselves into such stuff as this. We are the rocks dancing. Why do we look down on them with such a condescending air? It is they that are an immortal part of us.
There is no end to the inspiration I get from looking at vintage photographs- through immersion comes awakened imagination.
The central characters in my graphic novel are real people but as I am doing an artistic interpretation of real events, I revel in the freedom to flesh out the central characters using old photos as a starting point.
There is no harm in imposing appearance and character on the brothers and sisters, so long as we regard this as a mere device for solidifying Will’s physical background. We are entitled to visualize him as a boy eating, singing and sleeping in the house on Henley Street, and its convenient to have him surrounded by something thicker than swathes of ectoplasm with name-tags.
NOTE: All photographs in my graphic novel research collection were purchased at a variety of places such as on ETSY, at Salmagundi West, Fort Langley Antique Mall, etc. They are all dated 1947 or earlier.
What is public domain?
Photographs taken in Canada in 1949 and earlier by a photographer or a corporation, as these lapsed into the public domain prior to Canadian copyright changes in 1998.
Corporate records and photographs created in Canada more than 50 years old.