Celebrating a sense of place
Tree Snag is a new public artwork by world-renowned artist and West Vancouver resident Douglas Coupland that will be installed at the recently completed Grosvenor Ambleside development in April 2021.
Tree Snag responds to input from hundreds of West Vancouver residents who had a vision to make Grosvenor Ambleside a place where the community could gather and enjoy art and culture year round. It will be located mid-block on Bellevue Avenue next to Ancora restaurant at the south end of the Grosvenor Ambleside Galleria. We invite you to come see it for yourself and enjoy all that Ambleside has to offer!
Tree Snag completes the community’s vision for Ambleside as a gathering place for art and culture, and fulfills Grosvenor and Coupland’s long-standing commitment to provide a significant public art contribution in West Vancouver.
Tree Snag joins three other public artworks by Coupland around the Grosvenor Ambleside property: Float Stack (2018), Whale Vertebra (2018), and Deer Vertebra (2020). The entire series of artworks reflect a day of beachcombing in Haida Gwaii by artist Douglas Coupland and his beloved friend, late artist Gordon Smith.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- What is the inspiration behind the public art at Grosvenor Ambleside?
The entire series of artworks reflect a day of beachcombing in Haida Gwaii by artist Douglas Coupland and his beloved friend, late artist Gordon Smith. The two artists gathered drifted materials, such as fishing floats and other beached curiosities. When Douglas was approached by Grosvenor for its public art project, he knew he wanted to capture the spirit of that special time spent beachcombing with Gordon.
- How was the community informed about the public art project?
Throughout the development application process from 2011 to 2013, design concepts were shared with the community at a series of Ideas Fairs. The community wanted a place where they could gather together and experience art and culture. Douglas responded with the concept to create a constellation effect around Grosvenor Ambleside, so people could discover public art from the beach, the surrounding bike and walking paths, or from a restaurant patio. The concept of strolling and encountering these “drifted forms as if found on a beach” is to recreate a favourite pastime for many West Vancouverites – beachcombing along Ambleside’s shores.
The development, including the public art concept, was approved by the municipality in 2014. Since then, Tree Snag has been featured publicly in many renderings and videos as part of the development’s sales and marketing campaign.
- How will Tree Snag be installed? And when?
In mid-April, delivery and crane trucks will arrive at Grosvenor Ambleside. The four main segments of Tree Snag will be unloaded and hoisted into position. In addition to the specialized art installation crew on site, traffic safety personnel will be stationed around the site to help keep pedestrians and vehicles safe. After the artwork is secured into position, the finishing work will continue for a few weeks. During this period, smaller sections will be added to create the final driftwood-form. Please be assured that the crews will work hard to limit the impact of this complex installation and, most importantly, keep you safe.
- Which two renowned West Vancouver artists shared a love of driftwood?
The late Gordon Smith and Douglas Coupland. Tree Snag began at Gordon’s home, where Douglas spied a piece of fir tree driftwood that the late artist had collected in the 1960s. Douglas asked his friend if he could do something with it; his permission was naturally granted.
- Trees grow big out here… and so do big art ideas!
Tree Snag measures 30 ft. tall by approximately 29.5 ft. wide and weighs approximately 16,000 lbs. To grow this same size, it would take a Douglas fir tree about 70 to 100 years, and to reach a fully mature height of 100 to 120 ft., it would take an additional 100 to 200 years.
- Total number of project hours
Approximately 4,000 hours went into the creation and fabrication of this artwork.
The conception of the idea equals an artist’s lifetime, which is approximately 519,519 hours.
- What did the artist, Douglas Coupland, enjoy snacking on while exploring Ambleside Beach as a kid?
Orange popsicles and salt and vinegar chips. The best beach treats!
- What’s rotisserie got to do with the project?
Have you ever seen your favourite BBQ item rotating on a spit to ensure it evenly cooks? Well, this turned out to be an inspirational solution for the fabrication of Tree Snag! The issue was how to evenly apply fiberglass layers over 30 ft. lengths in the driftwood texture surfaces. Not an easy task! The main segments of the Tree Snag were similarly mounted to their own heavy-duty steel rotating axels.
- Did you know Tree Snag is sea-worthy?
Four layers of resin and fiberglass make this public art piece water-tight, just like the boats you see floating off Ambleside Beach.
- It’s possibly space ready too!
The platinum paint covering the surface of Tree Snag is classified as aerospace grade.
- What is the largest driftwood ever found?
Not much further down from our coast, our southern neighbours in La Push, Washington, documented a drift log measuring 200 ft. long and 13 ft. around. It takes mighty winds and powerful high tides to cast such a giant ashore.
- Salvaging driftwood was a popular TV dramedy for 18 years!
From 1972 to 1990, the hit CBC TV series The Beachcombers was so popular it was syndicated in countries all over the globe. Who knew that the drama of salvaging logs would captivate millions of viewers?
For more information
If you’d like to learn more about Tree Snag or about Grosvenor Ambleside, send us a email or visit the website.