Returning to Chemainus

In two weeks it will be my pleasure to return to Chemainus for a few days to speak at an international tourism conference. The topic of my presentations will be about how signs (along with murals) can radically change a community.

Chemainus will always be a special place for me. I painted my first historical mural there back in 1983. We moved there six months later and lived there for about 18 years. In those years I was heavily involved in the redevelopment of "The Little Town That Did", helping it achieve world reknown and acclaim. We owned an art gallery and a sign shop and also travelled far and wide painting murals across Canada and the USA. It was a very exciting and busy time in my life! Telling stories with larger than life murals became my passion.

It was in this period I determined that a 'sign' should encompass so much more than just a board with words on it fastened to the side of a building. It should not be an afterthought or last minute addition. To truly be effective and work well, a 'sign' needed to encompass the entire structure and even extend out to the landscape and into the building interior as well.

That first foray into my new version of what a 'sign' encompassed led to other exciting projects of a similar nature. Many themed buildings that are still a part of Chemainus' landscape began life on my drawing board.

It also was in Chemainus we built some of our first themed structures, and learned through trial and error how to do do the things that now are our norm.

The Chemainus years were hard working ones, but also were the years I learned the most. These lessons I still carry with me today. They will form a part of my talks when I travel back there.

I'm looking forward to the challenge!

-grampa dan

Dan SawatzkyComment