Christina Birch

I consider myself most fortunate to be able to call Fernie my home and to have parents that are deeply rooted here as well. I cannot thank them enough for raising me in such a great home surrounded by a fantastic and beautiful environment so rich in history. Growing up in Fernie, I never felt the need to be elsewhere and understood that this town played a big part in who I was. Leaving to pursue post-secondary education at Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary, I was able to hang on to those connections and bring forth what had influenced me most, both directly and indirectly, and incorporate those into my art. It was not until I was away that I realized how the things that had surrounded me my entire life could be included in my work. Being in Calgary and having a difficult time warming up to my surroundings I have looked to where I came from for inspiration and for love, which is what I find inside of me when I think of Fernie.

Going to the art school that I had my eyes on for a few years before I graduated from high school was one of the most rewarding risks I have ever taken. As I enter into my third year of the Bachelor of Fine Arts program at ACAD I will be majoring in Drawing, where I am one of the few students who still produces more traditional type “drawings”. I work primarily in black and white for many reasons including the versatility in what those drawing tools can create as well as the ways that these mediums help support the imagery and concepts that I work with. The work that I have been creating has been fairly representational and also primarily 2D. As I search for ways to incorporate different materials and mediums into my work I try to develop my concepts further as well as my skills. Being at ACAD I have learned so much and my eyes have been opened to the many possibilities of what can be created and what can be considered "art". I have come to acknowledge what it is really like in the art world as well as realize the possibilities of what my future may hold.

In the past couple of years at ACAD I have had the opportunity to expose myself to multiple areas involving many different techniques, such as cloth dyeing, papermaking, as well as silk screening. This has widened my technique base and my base for ideas. Producing projects and artworks non-stop to reach deadlines, as well as having to be constantly creative, is always exhausting and most of the time stressful, but the hard work can be rewarding. Having the opportunity to be part of the art community at school acts as a stepping-stone towards entering into the art community in the city, including taking part in student based work exhibitions. Being among such a tight-knit group of people in my school, I’m always learning from my peers and instructors, helping to guide my work in its intended direction.

Having a great support system with me throughout this journey, including family and friends, high school teachers, as well as the instructors I have now, has helped to encourage me to get to where I am. By continually pressing me to dig deeper and to push my ideas further they help me to see my strengths and further my practice. As for where these ideas will take me, only time will tell. For now I will continue to be inspired by where I came from and hope that when I am finished my education I will be able to be a contributing part of Fernie's blossoming art community. It would be awesome to continue to do what I love in the place I love most, because being a Fernie local is one of my most proud achievements yet!

Christina Birch discusses her ties with Fernie and how it has helped her with her art.

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