Seth has left his mark all around Guelph. The award-winning artist and graphic novelist has his art displayed outside the Bookshelf, in the sculpture garden at the Art Gallery of Guelph, and now on the wall along the Trans Canada Trail behind the Matrix Building next to the river. Members of the Guelph Hiking Trail Club, the Matrix’s board, and the artist himself officially unveiled the new piece on Monday.
“I was delighted that Seth could see the potential of this site and he agreed to design an installation for it,” said John Fisher, president of the Guelph Hiking Trail Club who helped organize the project.
“With an international reputation and an iconic persona to design work for this site, I absolutely knew the stars were aligned when Seth was nominated to the Giller long list for his graphic novel, Clyde Fans, and then he was appointed as Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters of France in June of this year by the French Minister of Culture,” Fisher added.
The artist himself didn’t want to decode the meaning of his new piece, the “Civic Dreamscape”, he said that the idea of a project like this is to invite the viewer to look at the details and then fill in their own meaning. “There’s a reason that artists hate to give these kinds of talks, and that reason is that once you do the work, you usually have nothing to say about it,” Seth said.
“Obviously, it’s called a ‘Civic Dreamscape’ and therefore it has something to do with civic life, and to me, having this work put up is another piece of myself being a part of Guelph civic life,” Seth added. “When I came to Guelph 20 years ago, I did not feel any great connection to Guelph, but over time, the city has been very welcoming to me. I love Guelph, I feel a connection to the town, I feel it’s a good place to live. And so I’m excited to have another one of my works here somewhere where people will be walking by on the trail, having a daily experience with it.”
The creation and installation of the mural was made possible with a $15,000 grant from the Canada Community Revitalization Fund (CCRF) under the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario). The funds were announced in a media event back in April along with other approved projects like the facelift to amenities in Riverside Park.
“We used to live across the river, and this was a regular walking route for me to come to work in the morning. We’re up Woolwich now a little bit further, but I’ll be making sure that I come back and see this,” said Guelph MP Lloyd Longfield, who was also on hand for the unveiling.
“The Guelph Hiking Trail Club is very creative in how they look at getting the most out of support from the Federal government; last time it was a bridge, and now it’s some art,” Longfield added. “There’s some other ideas that are floating between us and Goderich, so I think there’s opportunity for Canada to support the work and give back to Guelph some of what Guelph gives to Canada, and that’s a very important thing.”