Marketing the Common Merganser

Migrating magnets broaden scope of knowledge of local biodiversity

Local artist Rhiannon Snaith is trying to broaden the scope of Victorians' knowledge of local biodiversity.

Local artist Rhiannon Snaith is trying to broaden the scope of Victorians' knowledge of local biodiversity.

 

When local artist Rhiannon Snaith heard the shocking statistic that people recognize more corporate logos than natural species, she was  inspired to do something about it.

She’s hoping to broaden the scope of the public’s knowledge of local biodiversity through an interactive art installation, called Migrating Magnets, featuring three species of birds that can be found locally — the Belted Kingfisher, the Red-Breasted Nuthatch and the Common Merganser.

“Victoria is famous for its birds,” says Snaith. “It’s even become a destination for bird watching.”

In partnership with the Sierra Club B.C., her project Scope is a public art initiative promoting species recognition by the same means that commercial enterprises create brand recognition — by creating  eye-catching logos featuring each species and using the urban environment as the billboard.

“Every species has its own visual characteristics, known as field marks. These actually function a lot like logos when you come to know them. A big orange square might say hardware store in the same way a long slender neck might say heron to a casual passerby,” says Snaith.

She created three different magnets, each featuring different artistic style and a species easily found locally, and is handing them out to the public in hopes that they put them up around town. She’s also hoping that when someone comes across one of her magnets that they’ll peel it off and move it to a new location.

“They’re non-polluting, non-destructive and will have a good life-span outdoors,” says Snaith. “Some people will put them on their bumpers and drive across the country, some people might put it on their fridge so their guests can see it, some store owner might put it on their cash till where it will stay for 20 years. The idea is that the magnet has a life, just like a living creature.”

With help from a friend, Snaith was able to secure an Idea Grant from the CRD Arts Development Service to make the project a reality. She used the money to build a website and to print the 300 magnets she’ll be doling out Saturday, June 16 at the Bastion Square Public Market (11 a.m. To 5 p.m.).

“The magnets act like wild animals as well as like commercial advertising. They can appear anywhere, they have a particular identity, and they move around and take you by surprise,” says Snaith.

Each magnet includes the url of her website, Naturallybranded.info, where people can visit if they’re seeking more information about the project, the species on the magnet or how to identify it.

Snaith is hoping that the framework, which could be used to promote other species in other regions, will catch on and spread to other areas. She’s also hoping that other artists will want to draw, paint, photograph or illustrate other species to be included in future versions of the project.

“This is all about the proliferation of our brand, and the fun of scoping out the natural species, live or drawn, that pop up randomly in the urban environment,” says Snaith. M

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Scaredy Cats television series has turned Empress Avenue in Fernwood into a Halloween themed neighbourhood. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Trick or treat! Halloween comes to Fernwood in January

New television series Scaredy Cats filming in Victoria

Cindy Foggit plays the lead role of Eliza in Passion and Performance’s film production Eliza: An Adaption of a Christmas Carol. (Courtesy of Rachel Paish)
Victoria adult dance studio releases modern adaption of A Christmas Carol

Instead of usual stage performance, dance studio turns to film

Braden Holtby’s new mask designed in collaboration with Luke Marston and David Gunnarsson. (Mike Wavrecan photo)
Vancouver Island Coast Salish artist unveils new mask for Canucks goalie

Braden Holtby’s new mask features artwork by Luke Marston inspired by the legend of the seawolf

Ty Wesley, Nicole Darlington and Cameron Macaulay (from left) performed in the Beholder Entertainment production <em>Gender Sucks!</em> in the 2020 Nanaimo Fringe Festival. (Video still courtesy Sam Wharram)
Nanaimo Fringe Festival artist lottery open to local and B.C. playwrights

Organizers hope to stage plays in-person at indoor and outdoor venues this summer

Canadian singer-songwriter-actor Joëlle Rabu will join her son, Nico Rhoades, for a livestream performance courtesy the Tidemark Theatre Jan. 29. Photo submitted
Mother/son powerhouses Joelle Rabu and Nico Rhodes join forces for Island livestream

Campbell River’s Tidemark Theatre hosts online music revue

Dr. John Hooper is the new conductor of Island Voices. Photo supplied
Island Voices welcomes new conductor

Dr. John Hooper to lead mid-Island based choir

Jorie Benjamin does a modern dance performance to ‘La Vie en rose’ by Édith Piaf, Louis Gugliemi and Marguerite Monnot, choreographed by Elise Sampson during the Cowichan Music Festival’s Highlights Concert at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre on March 1, 2020. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan Music Festival cancelled for 2021

The festival had already been limited to solo performances only for 2021

<em>Chinook Salmon: Breaking Through</em> by B.C.’s Mark Hobson was selected among 13 entries as the winner of the Pacific Salmon Foundation’s Salmon Stamp Competition.
Stained-glass lighting casts a win to B.C. salmon artist

Painting of chinook is Mark Hobson’s third win in annual contest

Apollonian means “serene, calm, or well-balanced; poised & disciplined”. The natural photo art for the album includes Vancouver Island mountains, rivers and beaches. Scenes from the Cowichan River, Witchcraft Lake, Pipers Lagoon, Wall Beach and other popular Island recreation destinations accentuate the album. (RICHIErichieRichie Music Publishing photo)
Serenity Now! Richie Valley debuts third LP dubbed Apollonian

Apollonian means “serene, calm, or well-balanced; poised & disciplined”

Victoria artist Noah Layne is conducting online workshops on portrait drawing as part of the Metchosin ArtPod’s About Face portrait show. (Photo courtesy of Noah Layne)
Metchosin Art Pod doing an about-face

Renowned artist Noah Layne hosting online classes in portrait drawing

This weekend Amy Pye is holding a virtual book launch for her latest children’s book, <em>Bruce the Silly Goose</em>. (Photo courtesy Amy Pye)
Victoria writer and illustrator pens children’s book about COVID-19 safety

Amy Pye to hold online book launch for ‘Bruce the Silly Goose’

Most Read