Kamloops artist Vaughn Warren creating set pieces for series about residential schools | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops artist Vaughn Warren creating set pieces for series about residential schools

Artist Vaughn Warren (right) with his daughter on the set of Bones and Crows, Kamloops.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Vaughn Warren

A Kamloops artist with decades of pieces showcased throughout the city is working on the set of an upcoming TV series about residential schools.

Freelance artist Vaughn Warren has been heavily involved in the city's art scene for more than two decades, even designing the city's tournament capital logo and carving it into four tonnes of wood.

Warren has spent his life exploring many creative mediums, from carving to set design to film production. 

He is currently working on the set of the CBC mini-series Bones and Crows being filmed in Kamloops, a psychological drama following the intergenerational trauma of Canada's residential school system.

READ MORE: Actors needed for new B.C. series focused on residential school trauma

“When movies come to town, I sculpt and make scenes or props,” Warren said. “I was contacted for the series because I am known to do scenic breakdown, for example, make a brand new cabin look like it is ancient. Scenic breakdown is a specialty. I always learn a lot when working with film productions.”

Warren's most recent completed project was the statue that was unveiled in Savona earlier this month, in honour of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and the LGBTQ2S+ community. He said he is still feeling emotional about the unveiling of the statue and what the statue represents.

READ MORE: iN VIDEO: Missing and murdered Indigenous women memorial statue in Savona has powerful meaning

Warren said he is a white Canadian artist who has been emotionally and artistically involved with the issue for 20 years. He said he has worked with artists from varying backgrounds and has respect for all styles.

“Reading about Indigenous issues over the years has moved me and when I got more into the stories it inspired me to listen with my heart,” he said. 

Prior to starting to carve the statue, Warren said he talked to many community members to get their ideas and reached out to bring other local artists onto the project. The design for the statue was inspired by a drawing by a young local artist named Mia Draney.

“It was an honour to be asked to be the key artist on a collaborative process to realize a sculpture that represented these deep and extensive issues,” he said. “To ensure the statue was beautiful, while also reflecting the Skeetchestn spirit and how the issues have affected the community.”

The carved helical design includes the form of a gender-neutral warrior striking a decorated drum with a powerful drumstick, sounding the alarm, calling for justice and rallying the spirits of the living and dead with an honour song.

"The community gathering and unveiling of the statue was a truly meaningful and memorable occasion," he said.

Warren said he has been drawing since he was very young and always knew he would pursue the arts. It is important to him to mentor young artists and pass on the help he received to others.

“People have been generous with their time with me,” he said. “I have received so much support from family and friends over the years. I was given a private art tutor growing up and was encouraged in every way."

In recent years, Warren focused on various Artist Residencies at local high schools, delivering specialized projects for young arts students in Kamloops, especially First Nations youth and youth at risk.

Warren originally trained in Vancouver as a mural painter and graphic artist. He has worked for the Kamloops Art Gallery as a Preparator and Exhibition Designer. He carved Beaver, Raven and Frog poles out of reclaimed wood from Mountain Pine Beetle-killed wood in the Thompson Valley that were installed in Logan Lake in 2008.

Vaughn’s key works in Kamloops include the City’s Tournament Capital logo, the Riverpole sculpture at the corner of Columbia and Summit and the massive Kamloops logo carving in the foyer of the Tournament Capital Centre building.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Ainslie or call 250-819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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