Sometimes when it rains, it pours.
However, Nelsonite Shawn Morris wouldn’t have it any other way.
Freshly back in his native province after living a few years in a place he calls “Onterrible” the 40-something contemporary artist; photographer and writer landed one of the premiere events at the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival — State of the Art.
“It’s one of BC's biggest conglomerate art shows held at the Whistler Conference Centre Grand Foyer which acts as a hub for many of the other events that take place during the festival,” Morris explained.
“I applied a few years ago and didn’t get selected,” the L.V. Rogers Grad added. “But low and behold this year, having not applied, I was invited by the curator who had seen my art and thought it was a good fit for the feel of the festival.”
Morris, back BC living in Kelowna with his fiancé Emma Haley, is currently finishing a Graduate Degree in Disaster and Emergency Management.
Making art has provided him with solace and balance during this endeavour.
“In regards to the creative world I am happy to have evolved from a photographer that makes art to an artist who still loves to make photos,” Morris explained, adding an estimated 20,000 people are expected to peruse the gallery, which acts a the hub for many of the events during the week.
The WSSF, running from April 8-17, is Whistler's unique mountain culture festival with ten days of awesome events - free outdoor concerts, photography, film, skiing competitions and non-stop fun.
State of the Art invites artists from anywhere on the planet to create a community of urban street and snow ingenuity while pushing the boundaries.
Almost 200 applicants from Canada and abroad applied with 40 selected to show their work — one of which is Shawn Morris of Nelson.
“I am humbled and blown away to be included and am thankful that people are responding in such a positive way to my art,” Morris explained.
Morris, who studied at Royal Roads University, said the two years spent in Ontario while Emma completed a Masters degree in Occupational therapy, allowed him to create with no distractions.
“Minus 40 winters, no mountains and no hot springs was a trip,” he said.
“Through the ongoing process I feel lucky to continue to refine my art.”
“I can honestly say that without having art in my life to lose myself in, school would have been an even greater challenge,” Morris added.
“I owe a lot to the constant support of Emma, who continues to nurture and support my artistic endeavors.”
Morris grew up and attended public school in Nelson, enjoying travel, poetry, adventure and photography in between playing soccer.
He loves mountains, and by nature in general, open spaces, unhurried existences and vibrancies that sometimes exist just beyond the human eye.
“I feel fortunate to come from a place that still represents such exquisite beauty and feeling in its landscapes and its people,” Morris said.
“I can’t help but think outside of the box. I love to create. Todays technologies, combined with seemingly endless different mediums and infinite possibilities of arrangements, makes right now such an exciting time to be an artist.”
Morris says he regularly uses acrylic paint and resin and often takes photographs of his work in progress in order to further achieve digital enhancements.
He likes to make order from chaos and in much of his work he strives to represent a sense of calm and balance.
In contrast he admits to sometimes having sparks fly through creating what he calls “snippets of temporarily managed chaos.
“People tend to want to know things through defining them,” Morris said.
“If my art induces emotion, perhaps different in the same for each viewer, then I would say this achievement defies definition while creating its own unique purpose, one that can be very personal and at the same time openly shared.”
“When imagination takes shape in tangible form, and other people, especially friends, have a positive response to my art, for me, there are few feelings that are more fulfilling,” he adds.
And now 20,000 people get the opportunity to view Morris’ creations at one of the premier art events in Canada.
Bring on the rain.