Galiano Island artist Kenna Fair is the Artist in Residence for the month of May at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel

Galiano Island artist Kenna Fair is the Artist in Residence for the month of May at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel

Art blooms in summer sun

Artishow 2013 kicks off this month

As the flowers bloom in the warm summer sun of Greater Victoria, so too will the art such beauty inspires.

Nearly 40 artists will be working out of and showcased by hotels throughout Greater Victoria from now until the end of October for the third annual Artishow Victoria.

The event kicked off on Wednesday, May 1 at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel with a reception featuring the event’s organizers and the featured artists.

“Art is an integral part of our community, and our life,” said Oak Bay Tourism director Hazel Braithwaite. “They basically took the concept from a blank canvas to what it is today, a full fledged painting – planning it out, adding brush strokes and layers to it, and every year it gets better and better and bigger and bigger.”

Throughout the six months, eight hotels will host an artist in residence, typically one per month, per hotel, along with other art-centric events. The Chateau Victoria Hotel and Suites will be hosting Art Lunches and the Fairmont Empress will host the Plein Air events, which will see local artists painting on hotel grounds every Sunday from June 30 to Sept. 1.

Kenna Fair is the artist in residence at the Beach Hotel for the month of May. She will be painting at the hotel from May 15 to 17 and May 22 to 24, and her paintings will be on displayed throughout the month.

Raised on the West Coast and now a resident of Galiano Island, Fair’s work focuses on the ocean and its inhabitants, above and below the water. She said the event is beneficial to artists because it connects them to other industries, such as tourism.

“Exposure. I get to meet people that don’t run in similar circles,” Fair said. “That kind of stuff is priceless for an artist, particularly if you’re trying to make a living.”

Many of Fair’s paintings are split between life above the water and life below the water, sometimes with interaction looming. In one piece an eagle is approaching the water, talons out, while underneath the water a salmon swims, ignorant of the impending danger.

“Those two worlds are about to collide,” Fair said. “I love that thin line between those worlds and these two different things going on side by side. … Things can be right beside us and we don’t even connect.”

Co-founder Kerry Liggins found the level of support for artists in Europe, where she spends part of the year, inspiring, and felt compelled to try and instill a similar spirit here, through the Artishow event.

“When I would go around I would be so impressed, and I thought ‘why can’t we be doing something like that in Victoria?’” Liggins said. “With funding cutbacks there are fewer and fewer opportunities for artists to show their works.”