VANCOUVER SUN January 8, 2010

"Throughout Vancouver, the Olympic decorating has begun.  The street-side banners are being hung, and the flags unfurled.  But the signs of the pending party are indoors as well.  We at AT HOME are expecting that many city retailers are also setting their eye on the Olympics, and filling their shops with homewares directed at the visitors who will want to take a bit of Vancouver home with them.  Case in point: Gastown's Parliament Interiors.  The recently onpend shop, located at 115 Water, is selling "canvas photos" : - 12-inch-square artistic wall hang ins with images of the city.  The canvases, says Parliament's Colette Soros, "capture the beauty and history of Vancouver in a dramatic and artful way".  "More than likely, the visitors will get acquainted with the landmarks featured in these images: Canada Place sails, where the new conventions centre is; Hotel Vancouver, where they may be staying or dining; Lions Gate Bridge, which they will be crossing; Marine Building, which is situated close to the convention centre and really highlights our architecture and history; the seawall, a must-do experience for any visitor to Vancouver, and, of course, our gorgeous skyline."  The canvas art pieces, which were created by local artist Heather Johnston and sell for $125, are also intended to reflect the philosophy of the store, and its proprietors, says Soros.  "These pieces of art show our fellow Vancouverites that the 'ministers of Parliament' are very proud of where we live and want to highlight the city's beauty through some to the home decor we offer," she says.  "We love to promote local artists... and vendors who really capture the essence of Vancouver through their creativity and work."   homes@vancouversun.com


    VANCOUVER SUN Mid-Week Revival

    April 18, 2012. 10:23 am • Section: ArtsCOMMUNITYInterior Design

    "Finding fine art photography prints for your own home, that don’t break the bank, can sometimes be tricky. However, as of late, we have discovered a wonderful local photographer by the name of Heather Johnston whose fabulous (and affordable) local images can be found at Parliament Interiors (in Gastown on Water St.). Here’s a sampling of Heather’s work, enjoy!"



    Go local, do deep: After five years in London, Vancouver photographer Heather Johnston now has her native city firmly in her sights.The former art history teacher has focused solely on landmarks or places "that Vancouverites relate to, are proud of, or put on a pedestal" in a series of about 20 pictures.

    "It is both a celebration and a memorial of a time past, and one that is also rapidly changing," explains Johnston, who studied for her Master's in photography at the prestigious Royal College of Art in London, UK. "In London, you notice the Ferris wheel [British Airways London Eye] and other modern things, rather than the old; it's the opposite here."

    On the hit list: The Lions Gate Bridge, the Seawall, the Orpheum Theatre, the Stanley Park mermaid, and the East Van tag monument on 6th Avenue and Clark (by homeboy Ken Lum, who, as it happens, has an exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery from Feb. 12 to Sept. 25).

    Another notable candidate is the Marine Building, otherwise known as "the most beautiful one in town," Johnston says. "I absolutely love it ... so majestic." (She worked there in a typing pool before studying history of art at UBC, and went on to work in high schools throughout the province before deciding she "wanted to do, not teach.")

    Her pieces start as digital (occasionally film) images that are layered on to a painted background, and then digitally married. She then transfers the images on to a canvas, which she also has painted. "There's a good textural quality -- some ridges, some real surface -- and after transferring the images, I rough the edges up with sandpaper, which harks back to an earlier photographic time," she says.

    Working on the Granville Street picture with this "grunge-texture feel" was especially rewarding. "It could have been photographed back in the '40s. The result shocked me," says Johnston, who tries to merge photography and painting, a continual theme of her work.

    The tactile, accessible nature of a painting is more attractive to her than the glossy surface of a photograph in a glass frame, for example. "I try to have the textural quality of a painting, but to keep the photographic sensibility," she explains.

    You would be mistaken if you thought these items were more for tourists. "It's probably more for Vancouverites, to be honest," she adds, "although I like people to bring their personal history to it or to appreciate the beauty of what it is: an art deco building, the seawall ... I hope it inspires memories."

    Heather Johnston's canvases cost $125 (12" x 12") at Parliament, 115 Water Street (604-689 0800; www.parliamentinteriors.com)