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All Kinds of Beauty

All Kinds of Beauty by Michael Hepher

Fernie’s mural “All Kinds of Beauty” has been a wonderful project for our community. A year-round splash of colour in Fernie’s downtown core, the mural is deisgned to showcase many aspects of our valley and the people in it. The Ktunaxa people called this valley Kuq’in Amak’is – the land of the raven – so Kuq’in looks down across his valley taking in all that it was and is becoming. Follow his gaze to find bikes, boards, campers, hikers, farms, rivers, towns and mines. It truly is designed to have a little bit of something for everyone. Our community is beautiful because of the diversity we have, but it takes all kinds to make that beauty. 

Michael Hepher Artist Statement

A strong community is made up of all types of people who are passionate about all kinds of things. Fernie is a place that has the opportunity to continue to build a tight-knit community because of, not in spite of, its diversity. My goal with this piece was to capture in a symbolic way that beauty in the diversity we have right here in the Elk Valley. 

This piece is an attempt to capture multiple facets of mountain living using a simplified vocabulary of symbols and patter repetition to emphasize major themes while creating a visually unified piece. 

Someone said to me recently that the Elk Valley is a place with a lot of ‘flow.’ I’ve created a design for the mural that flows both from my current work as a print-maker, using the themes I observe as a landscape painter, to create the kind of ‘flow’ so persistent in our valley. My goal is to draw people along the side of the building using horizontal movement of line. Ideally, people will be drawn right onto 2nd avenue, where they will be presented with the ‘money shot’ view of downtown Fernie with the Lizard headwall as a backdrop. 

By abstracting the landscape into a series of geometric patterns, I have moved the piece into illumination of, rather than competition with, the ‘real’ Fernie, and pushed it into an idealized version that highlights many aspects of life in the valley. As people move along the piece, they embark on a journey that hopefully shows them bits of themselves, but also showcases what parts others might be passionate about. My goal is to challenge viewers to understand more about Fernie, and as all good public art does, to force people to expand the dialogue about our own understanding about who we are and what defines our community.