Users of the Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre Trail might feel like they are being watched on their next adventure, but it isn’t anything sinister.
Instead, it’s a possible side effect of local artist Paul Lewis’ latest driftwood art installation.
Lewis recently set out along the trail to install three unique owl statues, which eagle-eyed trail users can spot up in the trees.
“They all have deer antlers on their heads and are done in different styles, and I thought it would be neat to stick them up somewhere,” said Lewis. “People love this type of thing, and it gets people out and about, trying to find out where these things are.”
The artist, who became well known for his driftwood art displayed along the Esquimalt Lagoon, was inspired to create his latest pop-up art display after growing fond of several smaller owl designs he had gifted to friends, as well as a need to find a good use for some antlers he had been given.
At first, he thought the completed owls would be displayed together on a tree trunk he had on hand, but in the end he decided to spread them out along a trail—a concept he has used in previous displays.
“Originally, I was going to go out for a hike up Mount Finlayson and stick them up there somewhere, but after putting two of them on my back with tools, I only made it 13 feet because they were so heavy,” said Lewis. “So I got a hold of the folks at West Shore Parks and Recreation and they loved the idea. They took me around and we found some good spots.”
As with all his public displays, Lewis said his only reason for creating them is to share the art he enjoys making with as many people as possible, and ideally to encourage them to get out and enjoy nature at the same time.
Having been busy with work the last little while, Lewis said, the display is one of the few art projects he has been able to work on, but he hopes to get some more projects started and he has already been scoping out potential locations to display them.
In the meantime, those looking to take in the owl display should make plans to hit the trail soon as it is not expected to be a permanent display, and the statues could be moved to a new location in the coming weeks.