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arlier this year, Scotland's Innis & Gunn approached the
Society of Canadian Artists (SCA) with the proposal
for members to create an image representing Canada, to
appear on their special edition Canada Day beer. Since 2009
Innis & Gunn has produced this special beer for Canadians as
a thank you for appreciating their brew. Artist Deborah Colvin
decided to try her hand at designing packaging artwork for the
first time. Out of 50 entries from the SCA, Colvin's design was
unanimously chosen by the brewery for her vision of Canada.
"I had to think about how Canada looked to me and what it
might look like to young Canadians. How does one visually
represent something as vast as one's nation?" says Colvin.
Her design consists of three components that she believes best
represent the country -- hockey, maps, and birch bark. She
says she started thinking about her childhood, growing up in
the Toronto area, when her cousins would come over to play
hockey on their backyard rink and
street hockey in the warmer weather.
"Hockey is very much part of the
psyche of Canadians," she says.
Drawing and colouring maps of
Canada she felt was also a very
Canadian pursuit.
"I remember doing this as a kid
and I loved it," says Colvin.
The shape of the map also refer-
ences the rugged geography and
visually serves as a goal for the three
hockey players. The birch bark she
says embodies our connection with
nature and makes reference to the
indigenous people.
"My hope for this piece is that it speaks to Canadians and informs
non-Canadians of our spirit," she says.
Colvin also had a deep family connection to this project. Her
late father and grandparents were born in Scotland. She says she
carried their memory with her through the creative journey.
"This was really special for me."
Colvin began drawing as a child and loved getting lost in book
illustrations. She spent her summers at Martha's vineyard as a
teenager and during her last summer there she took life-drawing
classes at an oceanfront gallery. She was strongly encouraged by
artists and teachers to pursue an art education and career.
She describes her artistic style as
abstracted human forms in mixed
media, which are often used as land-
scape or placed in cosmic settings.
"My work is an inquiry into the
emotions of being human and our
connections to the world we live in
and those around us," she says.
Colvin is currently working on a
series of reliefs made from plaster
castings of disposable plastic items.
The concept is "what are we going
to leave behind for archeologists to
discover in the future."
To view more of Colvin's art, visit
by Melissa Lombard
featuRe stORy
How does one visually
represent something as
vast as one's nation?