We spoke with Eric Metcalfe about his upcoming project for Façade Festival 2016.
Burrard Arts Foundation: Previously, you’ve worked in drawing, painting and performance art. You’re also one of the founders of the Western Front Society. What would you want our readers to know about your existing body of work?
Eric Metcalfe: Well, to describe over a half century of artistic practice could take a lot of words. I would have to say that my work has always been influenced by media such as comic books as a child, movies such as westerns, war and film noir, literature, classical music and jazz. Over the years I have been involved in several concept projects and collaborations. Such works include The Spots Before Your Eyes (1978) with Dana Atchley, Sax Island (1984) with Hank Bull, and Stellar (2014), an indoor mural created in collaboration with the Burrard Arts Foundation. In 1973 I also collaborated with Kate Craig on Leopard Realty, which was an outdoor mural painted on the façade of the Vancouver Art Gallery (at it’s former location).
BAF: Describe your project for Façade. How did you come up with the idea?
EM: I was really excited when the Burrard Arts Foundation approached me about the project. My initial idea was to portray works from my Stellar gouache series and eventually the work evolved to include the Leopard Realty piece as well, an homage to the 1973 mural.
BAF: How does working in video and projection mapping fit into, and contrast with, the content and mediums you’ve worked in before?
EM: It opens up a whole new area to explore, a new technology that could be in the tool kit for future use.
BAF: What have you learned about your art through this process?
EM: I can see now after my experience during the creative process with Go2 Productions that projection mapping offers a lot of potential to the realm of visual arts as well as a new branch to explore.
BAF: For Façade Festival we partnered with Go2Productions to bring the festival to life. Go2 specializes in attention-grabbing content and installations that marry technology and art – what was it like working with them to complete your vision?
EM: I really like working with Go2 production, they appreciated my creative practice and allowed for a carte blanche approach.
BAF: What do you think of the integration of technology and artistic expression?
EM: First of all, I’m an artist who chooses and works with the correct medium and the right tool for each project, keeping in mind how and where it will be viewed. In regards to the work I have created for Façade Festival 2016, using projection mapping to portray the work is the right method. It’s an exceptional opportunity, so different and exciting to do something outside of the traditional realm, to explore with the help of BAF and Go2 Productions.
BAF: How did you come to collaborate with us here at the Burrard Arts Foundation?
EM: I was commissioned in 2014 to work with the Burrard Arts Foundation to work on a large indoor mural titled, Stellar. The mural is currently located within the interior lobby of the Burrard Building in downtown Vancouver 1030 West Georgia Street.
Eric’s project will be displayed Tuesday, August 30th from 8pm to 12am on the Robson Street side of the Vancouver Art Gallery. His work will also be shown on September 4th and September 5th for the encore and Grand Finale evenings. Façade Festival 2016 runs from August 30th to September 5th featuring the work of Rebecca Chaperon, Barry Doupé, Renée Van Halm, Eric Metcalfe and Chris Shier. Learn more about Façade Festival here and follow online #facadefest @burrardarts.
Text by Genevieve Michaels and Eric Metcalfe