The art depicts the life of the salmon from egg to smolt … the exodus of juvenile salmon to the ocean … then the adults’ return to the river years later to spawn and die – renewing the cycle of life. We leave home – to return again.
– Soren Henrich – Artist’s Statement
The challenge was to make the design as simple as possible for ease of fabrication, final assembly and installation; maintaining a dynamic juxtaposition from a limited palette of colours, and a variety of large and small forms, with layers and depth.
Watershed Moment Communication provided document planning and design for Aqua-Tex Scientific Consulting and the Comox Regional District for the Comox Lake Watershed Protection Plan. The document has hyperlinked page navigation, table of contents and cross-references.
The diagram combines activities on human, natural and industrial scales, relating to the salmon lifecycle, the industrial history of the hydroelectric dam, site topography and their impact on the salmon life cycle.
Topographical and dam location features in the diagram are deliberately indeterminate. The project partners did not want to show a specific location that might lead people to explore or disturb the dam site.
The Colony Farm interpretive sign includes a key infographic showing a simplified and stylized view of a real location, with overlays of long and short time series events; shown by the large blue transparent arrows highlighting the departing and returning salmon, and details of human-related events described in the red numbered text call-outs. A high key red stands out against the cool gray and blue background illustration and is an appropriate highlight colour from the photo of the spawning salmon, also used as the photo caption background colour.
The clients’ supplied the photo images with reproduction rights. Large massing of four main rectangular design elements bleed to the edges of the sign. The sign is designed around a circular theme, and the diagram flow is also circular, both echoing the cycle of returning salmon. The colourful and dynamic underwater salmon photo starts the reading of the information from upper left around to the lower right; a decorative top banner and text overlap at the top. Top banner contains graphic elements from the Kwikwetlem First Nations logo. Grayscale historical photo is arguably the least interesting element, therefore, it is made large and relegated to hold the lower left corner. Inset photos repeat the proportions of the larger photos and help the eye around the diagram. A logo bar showing the project partners, officially signs everything off at the bottom.
Multiple, web-of-life cycles, interactions and scales are shown in a colourful illustrated diagram. The illustrated elements are positioned on a solid background to allow easier reading of the adjacent text explanations.
The reverse side of the poster is a four-panel fold out brochure with 2-page spread and self-cover. In addition to illustrating and labelling the life cycle diagram, Watershed Moment principal designer, Soren Henrich, produced the layout from an existing design template, using supplied text and images.
‘All kinds of plants, animals, fish, birds and other creature make up this region. This biodiversity gives us food and medicine, shapes our climate, helps to control pollution, and much, much more – and it’s just as essential for other species as well.
In other parts of the world, habitat destruction, pollution and over-consumption have damaged nature’s delicate networks. In contrast, BC’s coast is still relatively untouched by development.
By making the right choices today, we can set a global example. We can conserve the thousands of species, habitats and ecosystems in this region – and enjoy all the benefits they give us.
The pressures are increasing. We have a rare opportunity to make sure the ecosystems around us continue to function and thrive. We also have a global responsibility. The time is now.’
These illustrations and infographics were made for the Royal BC Museum Climate Change exhibit, under the direction of Dr. Richard Hebda.
Weather is how we experience climate change
The understanding of the relationship of weather to climate requires a shift in perception of scale – from personal to planetary. How do you sympathetically introduce the museum visitor to the facts of climate change? The relationship of weather to the person is shown by illustrations of an umbrella and raincoat, two common recognizable items that protect anybody from the weather. These illustrations are black pencil renderings, scanned, with colour layers and clipping paths added in Photoshop for placing onto a solid background. The attention to the hand-drawn detail of these mundane objects invites passing scrutiny from the viewer. Sometimes you really need a hand-drawn touch to achieve this.
What are the facts of climate change?
Advancing into the exhibit, the viewer might ask: ‘Does human activity contribute to climate change or not?’
The Structure of Climate Model combines two idealized scale views and the relation between them. A grid layer on the northern hemisphere of the earth, has a transparent schematic showing multiple layers, further expanded to the large cube showing a 3-dimensional section of three elements: air, water and land. The transparency of the exploded layers and horizontal lines of the two front planes is maintained for consistency and ease of comprehension. Planar text oriented to the face of the cube labels the simplified clouds, sea ice, and snow-capped mountains. Minimal discernible differences of tone and limited colour palette also makes the infographic easier to look at. A soft blue-grey background colour, accepted by the client as a calming contrast to an alarming orange colour in the RBCM Climate Change display, also allows easy reading of the type.
What is the future of climate change?
Future climate scenarios are shown as six inputs forming the roots of a tree-shaped graphic; combining representative human activities, both causing and resulting in four outcomes in one comparative graphic display. Distinct symbolic colours show relative temperatures: red is hottest, through orange yellow, to green – the most benign scenario. The world is treated as four distinct solid coloured disc-shaped world maps from which flow the results of rising temperatures. Line drawings of different human activities in each scenario suggest cumulative impact on the climate outcomes. Faces on the figures are minimized or left blank to avoid attracting inordinate attention. A faceless man in a suit, a huge oversized automobile and a drab brown Earth are disconcerting without being alarmist. Relative size and types of automobiles invite a comparison of choice and suggested result.
Millions of museum visitors might take away facts and thoughtful messages that, when put into practice, may have a cumulative effect on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Pennant printing provides an easy and colourful art-making activity for all ages. The value of this workshop is in the discovery of the process through individual and collective artistic expression.
Participants make pennants for free when businesses, associations, and non-profits sponsors join together to cover the cost of workshop materials, set-up and hosting. This allows the participants to make pennants without reservation of cost consideration. Pennants are given away to family and friends and sewn into pennant collections for display at community events to spread corporate and collective good will and awareness of urban watershed renewal. Sponsors receive recognition at the workshop, in pre-event social media promotion and follow-up reporting.
Cash honoraria is disbursed to professional art teachers and community artists who host the workshops, honouring their dedication to community engagement through art-making. At their request, student-level assistants receive record of community service hours or job references. All volunteers are recognized for their service.
A City of Victoria – Artist in Residence grant covered the cost of a series of four public pennant printings workshops in 2010, to celebrate living in an urban watershed, to educate and encourage environmental stewardship of Bowker Creek and the urban watershed, and garner support for the Bowker Creek Blueprint – a 100-year action plan for restoring the creek and watershed. Several workshops have been hosted by local businesses, non-profits, and community associations.
This is an easy and safe relief-printing method.
Styrofoam printing plates are scribed with pencil or pen tips to make a relief print.
The printing plate is rolled with water-soluable, non-toxic block-printing inks.
Prepared fabric is positioned on top and burnished by hand.
The fabric is removed to reveal the print.
The plate can be re-inked for multiple prints.
The prints are hung out to dry.
Pennants are given away as gifts and sewn onto fabric binding tape for display at community events.
The short-term goal is to raise awareness of urban watershed renewal, and make connections to people, to nature and our place in the local land and watershed.
The goal is to make 14 kilometers of pennants to decorate the Bowker Creek greenway route from end to end. Supporting communities receive finished pennant collections for display at community events.