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Rick Silas


“As a professional sculptor for over 40 years, I enjoy projects that allow me to work directly with and in nature and to use reclaimed materials as much as possible. This project does both.  My wife and I enjoy using the trail systems daily, walking our dog and the occasional bike ride or hike when time allows. This sculpture will look like someone has picked up a large box of pencil crayons and playfully scattered them along the forest floor.

“The trails provide an obvious and abundant raw material that is already sitting on the forest floor. I propose to turn some of the existing fallen trees into brightly multi-coloured drawing pencils that will also serve as rest areas where a tired hiker can sit and contemplate the forest around them and perhaps be inspired to photograph or write about the experience. They would also be fun for children to safely climb on. I feel the giant pencils will become a favorite photo opportunity that will create buzz on social media via “selfies". The sculpture will, in turn, get more people excited to explore the trail systems.

“I believe my work is filling a very large gap in the use of new mediums in the fine arts. Most conventional art schools teach mediums that are centuries old: oil painting, printmaking, watercolor, pen, and ink, and many more in sculpture such as wood, metal, and stone. When budgets allow, rather than introducing new processes and contemporary materials, we add computer generated imagery into the mix. Although this is a great medium, I cannot help but wonder what Leonardo Da Vinci would have created with liquid polymers and tempered glass.

“When I finished my formal education back in 1981, I decided to take a different approach and started experimenting with more contemporary mediums such as reclaimed tempered glass, resins, spray paints and assorted plastic films. Over the last three decades, I have developed many new techniques using a combination of these materials. With these resources I have developed, what I believe, to be new artistic mediums in 3-dimensional fine art painting, sculpture, and functional works. The techniques I developed for painting on glass are multidimensional in appearance and can be created on canvas or board, as well. My formula for bending glass without heat allows me to create large glass sculptures without the limitations faced when using heat. This has allowed me to earn a living from the sale of my work. I have also received some notoriety for my inventions, including being featured on The Discovery Channel where I created a sculpture using my patented formula for bending glass without heat. I was also offered a deal on the popular television show The Dragons Den.  As well, I have had numerous published articles, local, national, and international, and many radio interviews.

“Before creating my glass technologies, I spent many years creating both large and small sculptures out of reclaimed wood. I still enjoy working in this medium, and I believe it would work perfectly in the creation of the “Pencils” sculpture for The Community Connections Trail Art Project. The goal of this sculpture is to honour the long traditions and celebrate the creativity of the many artists and artisans. I believe using the dead and fallen trees within the existing location gives the opportunity to create a monumental piece with minimal environmental impact while providing a place to meet, rest and explore.”