Lines by Lyon

May 12, 2009 at 2:07 pm Leave a comment

For some time now, we at the City Program have been looking for an image that captures our place in the downtown core.  Here in Harbour Centre at 515 West Hastings, we’re part of an urban campus, one of many learning institutions housed in dozens of buildings roughly north of Georgia and west of Granville. 

There’s SFU, of course, in three different locations (soon to be four, with Woodward’s).  There’s BCIT and Vancouver Community College.  There are an unknown number of private language colleges and the Vancouver Film School.  Altogether, thousands of students, spilling out on to the sidewalks and adding energy to the streets. 

And we in the education industry are just part of the mix.  Like NYU around Washington Square in New York City, collectively we may give this district a collegial  feel, but we don’t dominate; there is too much else going on – the bustle of so many people moving through the area because of the wealth of transportation options, particularly at Waterfront Station.

A photograph can’t capture all that.  And the drawings we’ve used in the past tended to focus on the architecture, not the streets.  But at last we found a solution – particularly after coming across this web site: Splinter in Your Eye.   It showcases the work of artist Bernie Lyon and photographer Lee Bacchus.  Together their vignettes capture the sensibility of Vancouver.

Here’s a recent  example of Bernie’s work: texting under the Cambie Bridge, waiting for a ferry.

Texting

So we gave Bernie and a call and challenged her to capture our urban campus.  And she delivered:

Lyon drawing

Given the need to fit so much in – all SFU’s locations, in particular – along with snapshots of people and activity, a web page just doesn’t do this justice.  But you’ll be seeing this image blown to cinema-size at the beginning of City Program lectures and programs whenever we have the opportunity.  While waiting for an event to begin, you’ll have a chance to explore the wonderful details in Lyon’s work.

Here’s an example:

Lyon drawing -detail

Bernie loved working on the project – and we’re grateful for the way she captured the environment we work in but sometimes miss seeing ourselves.  For instance, she was fascinated with the change of grade all around us – the hills and slopes of the various streets – and used it as a way of adding rhythm to the work.  That was something we really hadn’t appreciated.

And no doubt there’s more, as we’ll discover with repeated viewings.

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