Bit by bit, Frymire makes art
Here are some facts you might not know about Kamloops artist Bill Frymire.
He’s been a commercial graphic artist for 25 years.
He’s shown his works at the Old Courthouse Cultural Centre.
He’s also had his work seen on the cover of author John Grisham’s novel, The Confession.
And, he turned hundreds of matchbook covers into a mosaic of the famous Marlboro Man that became iconic in cigarette advertisements.
The first time I saw one of Frymire’s mosaics was at a juried art show held at the West Seymour Street centre, where his work was hanging in the window, showered by natural light filtering in through translucent small-stone pieces, revealing an image of an eye.
Frymire studied graphic design at Langara College in Vancouver and later at Thompson Rivers University.
He uses a combination of photography, illustration and graphic design to create the images he sells on his website.
In 2008, Frymire embarked on a new creative path — creating mosaics.
“I’ve always harboured a desire to create art for the pure joy of it, art that looks beautiful,” he said.
“Art that also has deeper meaning for those who care to look or even touch.”
Recently, Frymire showed his piece Closed Before Striking, the Marlboro Man work, at the prestigious Granville Island Recycled Show, where he has shown works for the past three years.
Each matchbook cover is placed carefully according to colour and design next to the other, creating the mosaic.
And, there’s a message behind the medium.
Frymire said he created it to represent the 90-million people who have died as a result of smoking.
Each small matchbook represents 50,000 deaths,while medium-sized ones represent 100,000 and the large ones, 200,000 people.
As an ex-smoker, I found the piece moving and striking.
“For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated by optical illusions.
“I love images that are not initially what they seem or those that trick the connection between our eyes and brain,” said Frymire.
“A style I seem to be drawn to is the dissection and reconstruction of visual images, using grids and tiles.
“I have been creating computer graphics using a grid system for decades.
“If you look close enough at a computer picture, you can see that it is a grid made up out of pixels.”
Frymire has created a number of stone mosaics based on Leonardo Da Vinci drawings and paintings.
In Face of an Angel, the mosaic is based on Da Vinci’s Scapigliata.
Hand-cut slate and travertine tiles were used to complete the piece. The uneven rough front surface of the tiles hides the image in shadows when viewed in direct overhead light.
This piece also snaps together from a distance; when you are close, the image breaks apart into the individual tiles.
“I depict faces in stone and wood mosaics because a large part of the human brain is devoted to recognizing faces and, so, it is easier to see than a landscape,” said Frymire.
“When we look at faces, we are drawn to the eyes so I always pay special attention to the eyes.
“My main mission as an artist is to evoke an emotional response in the viewer,” he said.
“I let the individual decide what the piece means to them but just as in many things with life,
“I like the fact that, depending on the proximity of the viewer and the type of light on the subject, people will see things quite differently.”