Signs of Big Oil
When I moved to the B.C. coast from the prairies a few years ago, I was immediately struck by the background “noise” of the oil industry. Wherever I went in this beautiful natural paradise I saw signs of the oil business. Peaceful walks to Orchard Park in Port Moody were interrupted by oil cars rolling through the trees on a trestle bridge above my head. On walks along Vancouver’s great beaches I was aware of the looming shapes of tankers moored just off the coast waiting for their chance to load up with more oil. Even in some quiet residential neighborhoods, beautifully manicured lawns looked across the street to massive oil storage tanks as children played nearby oblivious to the tanks a mere 30 feet away.
I thought about how I could best portray my discomfort with the intrusion of the oil infrastructure into the beauty of nature’s forests, mountains and oceans. I wanted my photographs to be impactful so I decided to choose background environments that were beyond pristine, perfectly composed and were familiar to many people. I decided to use Canadian paintings of nature as the environment that would be invaded by the oil structures.
I wanted to preserve the overall feel of the paintings when I added the oil business elements and just as in the real world, the oil company structures in the paintings are sometimes subtle and sometimes glaring.