- BC Games
Father and son are attuned to art
For those who have strolled down Georgia Street en route to Vancouver’s Pacific Centre and been startled at the sight of a bull outside an office tower, just wait until the sculptor adds music to that feeling.
Joe Fafard, a Canadian sculptor whose magnificent bronze cows and roosters and farmers grace the doorways and halls and public walkways of cities nationwide, is about to tour with fellow artists Joel Schwartz and his son, musician Joël Fafard.
The father-son duo and Schwartz will be in Vernon Oct. 24 for their A Tune To Art tour that is crossing the country.
“This is our version of a father-son game of catch,” said Joël, who lives on the Sunshine Coast and works with Schwartz, a multi-instrumentalist originally from Vernon who plays with the likes of Royal Wood, Patricia O’Callaghan and The Great Lake Swimmers.
Drawn to old-school folk music, the younger Fafard says the obvious differences between his and his father’s art don’t prevent him from seeing commonalities, in no small measure because both are so inextricably connected to Saskatchewan.
“The Prairies define both of us,” he said. “My father was always playing Hank Williams westerns and I grew up dreaming of western movies and what I thought could have been the soundtracks.”
The violins and pedal-steel guitar drove him to his signature slide guitar which, mixed with musicianship from Schwartz, offers up a Southern roots collaboration, likely magical among the collection of Canadian wildlife his father has crafted specifically for this tour.
For those who have seen the older Fafard’s sculptures—often farm-focused animals or salt-of-the-earth prairie folk with an Eastern European immigrant feel—the caribou, raccoon, raven and bear he’s moulded for this tour offer a departure to another outdoorsy Canadiana style.
Joe works in bronze primarily because it’s unbreakable, weathers well and will stand the test of time, much like his subjects. It’s a time consuming process in which he creates a sculpture, a mould, wax replica, refectory mould, and then fires and cures an image. Working from photographs and a vivid imagination, he says it’s a process which sucks him into his work.
“I really don’t try to listen to (music) very much when I’m working,” he said. “I find working is enough stimulation for me.”
He does, nevertheless, believe his art likely set the stage for his son’s musical career and enjoys knowing Joël wisely chose a creative pursuit which defies familial comparisons.
“From a very young age he wanted to play music,” he said. “And I think the fact that he got started in a household where art was the main activity helped.”
The pair initially teamed up for two pop up shows, one in the Regina and the other in Victoria. Joël stage-managed both in a similar manner to how he manages his father’s online gallery sales.
The younger Fafard had a stack of CDs at both shows and during lulls took the opportunity to strum a few chords surrounded, for the first time, by his father’s work. Inspiration struck.
“It’s something that people have been suggesting for us to do for years, but neither of us could figure out how that would work,” Joël explained.
It will take just four men, the three artists and a stage manager, to move the show across the country. The heaviest piece of sculpture is 50 pounds; the heaviest lifting may prove to be the logistics.
Both father and son say they believe the tour will be a journey of memories.
The Order of Canada-winning sculptor will be showing 12 of his bronze sculptures for one night only at Headbones Gallery, 6700 Old Kamloops Rd., Oct. 24. The evening includes the performance by Juno nominated Joël Fafard and Schwartz. Tickets are available at Headbones (250-542-8987) or at the Bean Scene.