For Daniel Poisson, a rock isn’t just a rock, but a piece of treasure that can be turned into art.
Even as a child, he found rocks fascinating. He would skip, throw, stack and collect them whenever he could. Poisson’s father would take him and his siblings to different volcanic regions in the province and areas they knew there would be gold for panning and sluicing.
He would find jade in the rivers, platinum, quartz crystals, jasper, agate and geodes, a round rock that contains a hollow cavity lined with crystals.
“We used to find geodes and cut them ourselves,” Poisson said. “I’ve always loved being outdoors, hiking rivers, climbing hills, playing in the dirt and digging holes. It’s something that’s never left me.”
As he grew older, he shifted his focus to art. Poisson began his artistic career as a fine art painter, putting on his first exhibit at 18 years old, and painting hundreds of works over a 15-year-period.
More recently, Poisson has returned to his childhood hobby and has traded his paint brush for a hammer and chisel as a stonemason and sculptor.
“I wanted to get out of the two-dimensional realm and branch out to 3D, so I went to learn the art of stone through stonemasonry and carving,” said Poisson, who has a home studio in Fernwood. “I was ready for a life change and I consciously thought of things I liked as a child . . . and I haven’t looked back.”
His designs come from his own imagination and are often mandala-style designs carved into flat pieces of stone, such as marble and basalt, where he starts at a central point and works his way out.
Poisson and dozens of other Greater Victoria artists’ work will be on display as part of the second annual Arts Victoria Now exhibit from May 14 to 23.
As part of the exhibit, 65 works from emerging and local artists including a range of subject matters such as landscapes, abstract, figurative work, sculptures, textiles and mixed media works, will be available to the public.
“We just asked people to create work which they felt reflect Victoria in our time and place, so rather than being derivative of other work, be creative and feel inspired by the local Victoria culture, atmosphere and landscape,” said Stephanie Eisenbraun, executive director of the Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria, that is putting on the exhibit.
“We hope that (people) see the diverse range of artists that are creating here in Victoria.”
Two of Poisson’s works will be on display at the exhibit — one carved from Vancouver Island marble called Moon on Earth, which is roughly 24 inches wide, and one carved from basalt from the Squamish Valley called Tower of Dreams, standing at roughly five-feet-tall.
“He uses a very unique media and detailed carvings. I think people appreciated the technical skill he used in creating those carvings,” Eisenbraun said of Poisson’s work.
The exhibit is free and takes place at the Atrium on Yates Street. It runs from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.