Joe Smith

Coffee with … Joe Smith

Local artist uses his work to conjure memories

Scott Stanfield

Record staff

As opposed to making statements, Joe Smith paints moments in time.

His paintings that depict landscapes, landmarks and random scenes tend to conjure memories. The Lorne Hotel, for instance — the Comox pub that burned to the ground in 2011 — was where some patrons had their first drink. Another subject — the Native Sons Hall in Courtenay — was where others patrons attended dances in their teen years, or met their spouse.

Other subjects are historical in nature. A converted yacht named Marabell, grounded near Campbell River, had been a mine sweeper during the Second World War.

Then there’s the ‘Drug Boat’ which had been anchored in Comox Harbour.

The ship had come from the Orient and was forced into harbour during a storm. The Coast Guard discovered drugs aboard the vessel but couldn’t arrest the crew because they were seeking safe harbour. But the boat was eventually confiscated and sold at auction.

“It’s part of your life — it’s like breathing,” Smith said of being a professional artist. “It’s all-consuming.”

The Union Bay artist has participated in various juried shows, including the Originals Only art show in Comox, of which he is a founding member.

A board member of the BC Arts Council, Smith believes in giving back to the community. He has involved himself with the Comox Valley Community Foundation and the Chamber of Commerce, and was a national president of the Association of Canadian Clubs — which started in Hamilton in the late-1800s.

“At one time there were 110 Canadian clubs across the country. There was one here in the Valley.”

Smith and his wife Carol, who have three children, lived in Oakville, Ont. before moving to the Island in 2002. He recalls how they were taken aback by the scenery while visiting on a fall day. He and Carol knew they had found their new home.

“I was driving from Victoria and stopped at that lookout on the Malahat,” he said. “I was thinking ‘This is so spectacular, what the heck are we living between Hamilton and Toronto for?’”

Before moving west, Smith had a career in the newspaper industry. He began as a staff artist at the Montreal Gazette — which Benjamin Franklin started in the 18th century — became creative director at the national office of Southam Newspapers in Toronto, and then moved into public relations at the Hamilton Spectator, where he represented the paper at numerous events. One year, he co-chaired the Canadian Country Music Awards.

“I know nothing about country music…That was a lot of fun.”

Along with painting, Smith writes a monthly column for The Record.

“It keeps me involved with the newspaper industry.”

 

Just Posted

Looking for crafters for the Gnarly Little Spring Craft Fair in Courtenay

Calling all youth crafters and entrepreneurs! The Gnarly Little Spring Craft Fair… Continue reading

Courtenay supports church renos, lunch program

Council approves $25,000 request from St. George’s United

The Hub Organ Trio coming to Courtenay

The Georgia Straight Jazz Society features an amazing trio at the Avalanche… Continue reading

YANA a blessing for Michaela, Harley, and Baby Violet

Comox Valley association a pillar of the community

Deadline looming for North Island College scholarship applications

Students have until April 24 to apply for a record number of… Continue reading

‘No answers:’ Canadians react to Sri Lanka bombings that killed hundreds

The co-ordinated bomb attacks killed at least 207 people and injured 450 more on Easter Sunday

RCMP confirm witnesses say body found at Kelowna’s Gyro Beach

Police tape is blocking part of the beach and several RCMP officers are on scene.

B.C. fire department rescues kittens

Enderby homeowner not aware kittens in wood pile near garbage pile fire that got out of hand

QUIZ: How much do you know about Easter?

Take this short quiz and put your knowledge to the test

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

Global Affairs warns Canadians in Sri Lanka there could be more attacks

A series of bomb blasts killed at least 207 people and injured hundreds more

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Kickers beat Meralomas in quarter-final

The Comox Valley Kickers women’s rugby team defeated the Vancouver Meralomas 56-5… Continue reading

Most Read