Tuesday, April 10, 2012

City Of Nanaimo Banner Project

Last month I worked for weeks to come up with a cogent idea then create an interesting painting for the new banners that will be attached to the light standards in downtown Nanaimo. Every year or so the city of Nanaimo puts up newly designed banners created by a selected Canadian artist. This year they decided to do a contest and the theme was "Nanaimo, It's a Lifestyle".

Since I'm new to Nanaimo, although I've visited the city many a time, I found myself in a unique position of being able to judge how Nanaimo had changed recently. I decided that my banner art would coalesce around the idea of Nanaimo rising, improving and taking flight in the eyes of it's inhabitants. I drew out a pretty and colorful butterfly then added swirls & curlicues to represent flight. The butterfly would be on one side of the light standard and the swirls below would span both silken panels with the light standard in between. Opposite the butterfly I wrote "Nanaimo Rising". 

My inked butterfly
before coloration.
I must admit I was pretty damn proud of my idea, I thought it illuminated where Nanaimo was going. The city had recently revamped the main part of the downtown core, putting in an entirely new boardwalk with boat launches for private yachts etc., akin to the incredible harbor in Victoria near the Parliament buildings and The Empress hotel. We have lovely walkways, new little shops and wonderful green space for strolling along the waterfront. I wanted my theme to  suggest that we were moving in a better direction since Nanaimo has previously been known as not such a pretty city, more functional than idillic. With the new downtown core it has improved immensely.

So here's my submission to the now completed banner project, of which I didn't win, lol. No, I'm not upset in the least, I thoroughly enjoyed participating and I had a niggling feeling that I wouldn't be chosen because my theme seemed so different from the other year's picks. But one must follow one's heart and I submitted it, hoping that they would see where I was going with my idea. I am certainly happy for the winner who is a professional graphic designer and who's been working in the field of illustration and graphic design since 2007. I'm betting he's come up with a brilliant piece of art that will beautify all the light standards around town for the upcoming year, I can't wait to see them this summer. It was a a pleasure being a part of a community project, even if I didn't win. Because of my participation, I feel closer to my new city and this is such a good outcome! I'm glad to be a new member of my community, I feel a part of the people of Nanaimo instead of an interloper. Maybe this was just what I was supposed to get from doing this project. 

(the artwork would have been sliced down the middle to make two panels of silk banners.)
My submission to
Nanaimo's Banner Project
I thought I'd also show you where I live, it's quite beautiful with the inlet and the mountains. I'm a lucky girl. I live in a great city, don't I? :o)

Nanaimo's boardwalkNanaimo Harborfront
We'll talk soon, K? Yes? Good!

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  1. Contests are always a mixed bag. I once entered a contest for our local police department. The artwork was supposed to bring together the idea of community. I created a picture of a cop helping a little boy on his tricycle. I was really proud of it, but alas I didn't win. The winner was a design firm the city had already hired, and their design looked, to me, like an ad for a certain feminine product. Oh well; live and learn. Eventually I stopped doing contests and insisted on being paid like the professional I was. Have a great week.

  2. I love the concept of your banner and your drawing is excellent. When trying to design something for a city or community, it's always tough to know if they have a preconceived idea and whether you're fitting what they think they want. Good for you for even trying!

    I live in Seattle and we'll be spending a week in Nanaimo in August for vacation. I've never been there and your pictures certainly make it look appealing. I can't wait to visit!

  3. I like your butterfly banner & the thought behind it. It would have been cool to win, but it's all about the effort, isn't it? From your description and photo it looks like a beautiful place!

  4. Beautifully done Jenn, I LOVE your design! and your butterfly is wonderful! Even though you didn't win you are getting out into the real world with your art and making a name for yourself. And who knows maybe another project will come to you because of this?! :) Thanks too for sharing photos of your beautiful community, how i wish i lived closer so i could visit it! :)

  5. This is a beautifully designed banner and I feel that your symbolic use of the butterfly (rebith/new growth) was perfect. I am sure that you made quite an impression and who knows where that will lead. Wonderful to find your blog (through Inspiration Avenue) and I look forward to visiting again!

  6. A beautiful banner from a lovely city! Good luck in the contest..they'd be crazy not to choose your work!

  7. What a beautiful place... and I think your banner would have been amazing... so cool you got into it and gave it a shot... those photos are just lovely... I would spent lots of time down at that harbour front development...going to tell my parents they should head there and check it out when they are in Canada later in the year xx

  8. sorry you didn't win. Nice submission though. I remember visiting and staying in a bed and breakfast place about 15 years ago. Loved Vancouver Island. Looks like it has definitely changed since I was there. Thanks for the pics.
    PS thanks for the comment on my blog. Have a great day.

  9. Nanaimo is beautiful!

    I love your banner...congrats for entering! It's hard to tell what judges are looking for. Sometimes it's just something they have had in mind from the start, and who can know what that is? But making the effort is just as important as winning!

  10. Your banner is so wonderful!!
    Love this contest idea.


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