The City of Vaudreuil-Dorion's outdoor winter project was fascinating this year. The organizing committee invited ten resident artists to create giant lanterns for an installation in a local park. The final works weren't "suspended" as one would expect of lanterns but the result was nonetheless magical.

The city asked Philippe Corriveau, graphic designer and visual artist to coordinate the project. He liaised with the city and public works to have structures built for the lanterns and found a supplier capable of printing on the right type of fabric for this outdoor exhibition. 

At first, the city planned on using three eight foot shapes: cubes, pyramids, and houses. Artists chose the shape they wanted to work with. Eventually only two were used, cubes and houses. Philippe gave each person the template of their choice. Some artists chose to create artwork via traditional means (paintings, drawings, mosaics) while other artists like myself, decided to work digitally. Once completed, images created by hand were photographed and printed on fabric while digital works were printed directly onto fabric from the file. All were attached to the structures by public works. The exhibition was up from the 10th of December 2021 to February 6th, 2022.

I chose the house shape. After photographing and enjoying the neighbour's cat over the years, I went with a feline theme (yeah, a cathouse). The template was later modified because roof elements couldn't be viewed properly at the initial angle. I had to make alterations to my design but the final result worked out well. 

I created images in "chunks" on the iPad Pro (Procreate app). Arthur the cat was sound asleep in most of my photos and I could easily envision him resting inside an egg as he wound himself up into embryonic shapes

The first element I drew was a sleeping Arthur. I then housed a number of semi-transparent snoozing Arthurs on an egg background that I had created a few weeks earlier. 

Egg background  


While I loved the softness and mood of the image, I felt the final work needed more pizzazz and dynamic emotional contrast. I was also worried that a dark background would not work well as a lantern. I opted for a "cat" dream sequence wherein Arthur could be more active.
Now what does a chubby yellow cat dream of? We always want to be what we're not and that led me to fantasize about Arthur. I imagined he might see himself as an athlete who loves to flaunt his assertive side...hmmm...think like a cat..."does he dream of being a wild Tom who juggles eggs?" You may have noticed that I love absurd scenarios.

Primary and complementary hues tend to be punchy so I started with those.
Pink and blue egg shapes

I placed Arthur within the pink egg shape and the wild cat juggling fried eggs in blue. (A fried egg has more or less the same shape as an "uncracked" egg and the deep yellow yolk echos Arthur's colouring.)


My composition on the original template was basic. I placed my drawings within the confines of the rectangular surfaces of the house. It soon became obvious that things were rather static and had to be jazzed up!

I moved Arthur around on the original template and played with scale. I added semi-transparent fried eggs to the background which in turn became totally blue to achieve visual continuity.


After receiving the template change, I painstakingly readjusted and modified the elements.


I built little paper prototypes of the house which ultimately revealed why the initial house template wasn't working from the spectator's point of view. The mock-ups also gave me an idea of what the final result would look like.


It was electrifying to see my design blown up to an eight foot scale and a revelation to see how light alters colours.

Le rêve d'Arthur (Arthur's Dream) at night
Arthur's Dream during the day

Each of the lanterns created by the ten invited artists looked liked enormous jewels. They were installed in a circular shape, and while gentle music serenaded visitors, a small central fireplace burned logs to keep everyone warm. The city and artists invented an enchanting environment that brought much-needed escapist joy to the pandemic-weary community.


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