Report from interviews for the Making Great Illustration book. For more info see About
It’s the scenic west coast of Canada. After a bus ride out from Vancouver to Horseshoe Bay, photographer Paul, myself and Hilary (my mum has come along – it’s a long time since she was here. She emigrated to Canada in the 1950’s and I was born there. Not in the 50’s) catch the big car ferry to Bowen Island. As it approaches the island, dense pine woodland reveals homes along the coast before a greater concentration of buildings appear near the dock.
There’s a lady in denims and a cowboy hat among the few people waiting for the ferry- it’s Marian come to pick us up. Marian creates amazing artworks, often of intricate typography, in an an unusal variety of materials.
Driving through the woods over the island we talk about staying in Vancouver and her reasons for leaving that city for a less stressed life in a smaller community. She tells us about a bear that’s recently appeared on the island. No-one knows how it got here – on a log perhaps? I hope it’s not going to jump out into the road.
Marian is very welcoming and makes for a thoughtful and illuminating interviewee. She even gives us cheese on toast (tasty) and watermelon (refreshing) after we’ve spoken and Paul has taken shots of her and her studio. My mother sits out on the deck reading and filling in postcards while the interview takes place.
Marian is adding more studio space on, as the upper floor of her open plan house is filling up with prints and material, and she wants to create a more dedicated space for photographing artwork (it’s been done in the kitchen up to now).
The forest comes up close to the house, and a small black squirrel scampers across the back fence. Maybe the bear will catch it later…
Marian lays out some of her incredible posters for us to see, they’re intricate and beautiful, and I’m thrilled to be given a couple. They survive the journey back to Vancouver without a cardboard tube, prompting a search around out neighbourhood for an elusive protective roll for the plane trip home.
Marian Bantjes site
Marian has a fantastic book out: I Wonder