A huge public art piece, designed by Dean and Christina Lauze of D’Arts, isn’t scheduled to be unveiled to the public until the spring of 2018.
However, the piece has been completed and, while it can’t be revealed, the Mission Record was allowed a sneak peek of the “M monument.”
“That’s not an official name, but that’s what we’ve been calling it,” explained Dean about the massive piece.
The artwork is designed to commemorate Mission’s 125th birthday, as well as Canada’s 150th.
It was Christina who came up with the concept of a giant letter M, and the two artists worked together to create the piece.
“Mission has a very industrial feel to it. It was built on industry so we used heavy trusses to create the M,” explained Dean.
The design is a giant Times-Roman-style M made with heavy-duty beams. It contains many other items that represent the district and its history.
The two artists spent several months working to find just the right items.
There’s a farming section with pulleys, a dinner bell triangle, a plow, tractor seats and more.
Another section provides a strong representation of the Mission Raceway, including actual racing mags.
“Logging is a huge part of it so we have a giant saw and a few other things that represent the industry.”
The power station, the river, the soap box derby and First Nations are also represented on the piece.
“The replication of a truss from the old Mission Bridge is my favourite thing,” said Dean, adding it was a challenge to get it to look right.
He and Christina wanted to take closeup pictures of the old bridge, for reference, but Dean said security on site would not permit it.
“So we just drove onto the other side of the river, ran onto the bridge and snapped a few pictures.”
Christina has several favourite pieces, but one stands out more than the others.
“I like the overall shape, but I love the helmet up there. It makes me feel good,” said Christina.
The helmet is from the First World War and represents Mission’s veterans. It sits at the top of the monument.
Overall, the piece has a Steam Punk quality to it and all of the pieces come together to create an impressive display.
But the artists had to be careful.
“It’s so easy to start overdoing it. Next thing you know, you stand back and it’s too much,” said Dean.
That’s where Christina provided some solutions. Dean said her judgment on placement is excellent.
“It’s such an eclectic statue,” said Christina, “but if it (an item) doesn’t have a purpose then it shouldn’t be there.”
As you look at the piece, you start to realize it has layers of meaning.
“Whenever a piece of art can captivate someone for a period of time, then I think you’re successful,” said Dean.
As residents of Mission for the past 15 years, the duo said they were very pleased to get the project. To be part of a significant public art piece is amazing, they said.
“This is something different from what we have done before. We love doing something different, it keeps us on our toes, keeps us excited and inspired.”
The public art piece will be unveiled in the spring at a special celebration. Landscaping has to be completed on Second Avenue and Welton Street, close to the museum, where the structure will be permanently located.
Until then, the public will have to wait to see it.