Alumnus wows at Kamloops Courthouse Gallery

Cameron Staff, Contributor Ω

Welcome to my world is the name of Dale Redfern’s art exhibit, showing at the Kamloops Courthouse Gallery until Oct. 27.

Speaking to Redfern about what inspires him, his answer was simple — “it’s about emotion.”

At first glance, Redfern’s black and white works seem very simple, but when looked at closer one can see the detail that goes into his sketches of the old buildings in and around the Kamloops region.

He speaks very highly of the people who created the buildings and how they built them by hand and under the most brutal of conditions.

“Without that work ethic and integrity we wouldn’t be here today,” Redfern said. “I get very emotional about this and try to put myself in their place.”

His exhibit includes several sketches all done in graphite pencil, a technique that he explained as “very clean, sharp, crisp and intense.”

Redfern’s art is very unique in its simplicity, but after explaining his reasoning for using the sketching technique this simplicity is understandable.

“[Sketching] goes all the way back to the cave-age,” Redfern said. “It crosses all cultures and all boundaries.”

He has an enthusiasm that attracts people to him and his art. One can really see his personality within the art itself and even in things like the signs outside the exhibit. One quote written by Redfern on a poster just outside the exhibit doors sums up his inspiration:

“The more we get away from nature, our past, and history the more lonely our future will become.”

Redfern began drawing at the age of 14. It was around this time when he was told lawyers make money and artists starve. This clearly didn’t stick with him, as Redfern is now a member of the Kamloops Art Council and the Federation of Canadian Artists.

Being a University College of the Cariboo (UCC) alumnus (the former name of TRU), Redfern knows all about campus life. He attended UCC from 1992-1995 and graduated with a business degree.

“I had an absolute hoot in college,” he said. “At the end of my program I had a lot of my fellow students tell me they were glad they went to school with me.”

His personality is still a notable attribute, in addition to his artistic ability.

“An artist told me in 1991 that ‘a famous artist is 50 per cent talent and 50 per cent personality,’” he said.

Being an artist can sometimes be discouraging, though, especially for young people. Redfern is glad to give some advice to students who dream of being artists.

“Play with it, get in with artists,” Redfern said. “Be willing to pay your dues and take criticism. If you’re not willing to take criticism you aren’t going anywhere.”