Persistence pays off for Nick 

Grant allows Whistler artist to travel, study sculpting techniques

Long-time local, Christina Nick, has been awarded a prestigious art grant. The Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation of Montreal selected Nick for the bursary "after her persistent applications."

"I started applying when I graduated from Mt. Allison University about 10 years ago," says Nick. "I applied every year, and actually gave up. Then I received a letter from them last year asking why I hadn’t applied again. So I thought, this could be my chance. I applied very quickly and I got it. I guess it was just my time."

Nick has been prominent on the arts scene in Whistler, active with the Public Arts Committee and Arts Council, as well as heading up the local artisan showcase Artrageous. She keeps her hands busy with multi-media, two-dimensional paintings and three dimensional artwork using carved wood and stone, steel and bronze casting. Her latest piece is a welded steel sculpture of a large "toro" using the parts of an old 1930s truck and real bull horns. Nick also makes frequent trips to France, where she established friends and a studio during her travels after university.

"I met other artists and started working with them and actually lived (in France) for about a year. I had a couple shows and was on television, which was cool. Shortly after that I came to Whistler. I wanted to stay open to meeting new people and learning new things."

The Greenshields grant will allow Nick to return to Europe, as well as Africa and South America, to further her studies of different sculptural techniques, in particular the ancient practice of "cire-perdu".

"In English it means ‘lost wax method’. It’s one of the oldest ways of producing bronze sculptures. And that’s by first making a sculpture out of wax or something that’s meltable and then casting it. The way you do that is you make a plaster cast (around the wax) and then put it in an oven and heat it for 48 hours until all the wax has melted out. There’s just a hollow where the sculpture used to be and then you pour the bronze into it. You only get one replica of the sculpture."

Nick also intends to keep a journal and sketchbook of her travels, which will serve as the raw material for future artwork which she hopes to showcase in France, Hungary, New York and Toronto.

Nick’s only regret as she prepares to leave Whistler is that she doesn’t have a permanent art piece to leave her mark in the community.

"I’ve been living and working here for almost a decade and I’ve submitted dozens of proposals for public art and sculpture but I’ve never been accepted. I don’t think that just because I live here I should be… but I guess I’m disappointed that I, and other local artists, haven’t been able to find an outlet in Whistler. I think there’s a real need to recognize local artists because people will, and have, left."

Nick says she does hope to return to the area after her travels, but for now she takes Whistler with her as another page in her sketchbook of life.

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