Ric Gendron is honoured to do this work on the traditional territory of the Sinixt people.
“I know and understand how important this land is to our people, to the Sinixt people. This is our territorial home. This is where we come from. In that sense, it’s wonderful that I can be up here and do this work.”
While initially delayed due to the pandemic, the project finally came to fruition.
“This project was initially supposed to happen before Covid. So this was in the works for over two years,” says Gendron.
Gendron studied art at Cornish College of the Arts, the Eastern Washington University and in 1983, received his art degree from Spokane Falls Community College.
Gendron’s process is very embodied, he explains.
“There is very little planning in my process. I sat down and did a small drawing of something similar to what’s up here now. The drawing took me like 8 minutes. I taped the original drawing up on the fence, and then we changed it all around. It’s a learning process. Working with a fantastic crew, everybody chipped in ideas, and the result is amazing.”
Gendron faced unique challenges in his early days as an artist some thirty years ago.
“I worked in the real world for several years as a surveyor and in road construction. I’m a single parent, I raised three children by myself, and while they were still young, I came home from the job I was working one night, and I told my kids, ‘Dad’s going to quit this job, and we’re going to move back to Spokane, and I’m going to do my art.’ That was a big and scary step, but I had to do it. So I’ve been doing it ever since,” says Gendron.
Art is a lifelong love for the artist.
“I’ve been involved in visual arts and music for as long as I can remember. Things have started to level out in the past 5 or 6 years. But it was an uphill climb trying to get out there, to get people to notice your work. It’s had its ups and downs, but lately, it’s been more up, and it’s great.”
For Gendron, being a successful artist is not about being born with talent but by hours of hard work over a lifetime.
“You’ve just got to work and become the best you can. I was lucky in that way,” says Gendron.
NDAC acknowledges that Brian McLaughlan’s Millennium Mural had been on the wall for twenty-two years, and appreciates his contributions as one of the founding large-scale artists in the community. NDAC feels it is a great honour for Nelson’s public art gallery to have a new piece by Ric Gendron amidst its collection and is overjoyed with the result of the project.
Gendron is happy with the process.
“Doing this mural, I think it’s great, and this is a beautiful little town to do it in. And so far, we’ve gotten some great response.”
Sinixt artist Ric Gendron made a splash this month painting a mural on Nelson's Pharmasave building. — Photo courtesy Electrify Photography