Don’t be surprised if you recognize a few of the faces on display at the Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre this Saturday. Local artist Cherie Van Overbeke’s exhibit of work, titled Townsfolk, features portraits of 17 people who currently live in Revelstoke.
“I thought it would be fun to showcase some of the community’s individuals: long time Revelstokians, newcomers, young and old,” said Van Overbeke, who is hopeful that painting members of the community will inspire more local arts.
Van Overbeke, who received a grant through Columbia Basin Trust to complete the work for this exhibition, said she randomly chose the 17 individuals featured in her works, picking people she thought were interesting or who would be fun to paint.
“I just went up to them and said ‘Can I paint you?’,” she said.
While many people said no, Van Overbeke said she understands that some individuals are shy or private, or simply may have not been willing to participate.
“It was just fun to do and made me meet new people as well,” she said.
For each portrait painted, Van Overbeke also gathered a small history of that individual. Wanting to keep it simple, she asked each person if they were born and raised in Revelstoke, did they move here, why did they move here, what their occupation is, and what are some things they love about Revelstoke.
“I just kept it simple because I know a lot of people don’t want to be asked a huge survey of questions,” she said. “I gave them a choice too, they didn’t have to [answer the questions].”
Van Overbeke also chose not to include individuals who are already well known within the community. Some of the people included in the exhibit are Ray Cooper from Ray’s Butcher Shop, Nicole Cherlet who owns Big Mountain Kitchen, and Krista Kallio, who is instrumental in organizing the yearly Emergency Services Food Drive.
“I wanted to include people that are involved in the community, but maybe aren’t as well known,” Van Overbeke said. “Just every day people.”
While painting people was a bit of a departure for Van Overbeke, the portraits are done in a folk art style that include the bright and bold colour she is known for.
“I wanted to keep it within my abilities. I think they turned out really fun and quirky, and that’s all their meant to be is fun, they’re not meant to look like photographs.”
Townsfolk will be on display at the Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre from September 4 to 25, along with Flourish and Flow: A Joint Exhibition by Revelstoke Awareness and Outreach Program and Forsythe House. The exhibit opens Friday, Sept. 4 at 6 p.m.