Oyster River painter wins salmon stamp contest

Funds raised go towards salmon conservation

The winning painting of the 2020/2021 Pacific Salmon Foundation’s stamp contest. Photo supplied by Joshua Hansen.

Joshua Hansen comes running out of the forest as a canoe-sized log fell down, smashing to the ground behind him. He had just been using a chainsaw to clear a broken treetop that had snapped off the night before. He was OK, just out of breath and covered in dust when he came up the stairs to his patio.

Hansen is the recent winner of the 2020 Pacific Salmon Foundation (PSF) saltwater salmon stamp contest. Out of a blue background, a Chinook salmon lunges forward, hunting for krill among stalks of kelp that sway in the current. Hansen’s piece, titled “Untouchable” refers to both the undeniable status of the fish as king of salmon, and to the fact that Chinook salmon are off-limits to anglers for part of the season. His work was one of 20 pieces that were up for judging in 2019.

RELATED: Natalie MacMaster refelcts on her music, her life and her legend

It was the kind of scene that people would expect from an award-winning artist.

Every year, PSF holds an art contest to choose the piece that represents the next year’s stamp. Anglers will recognize the stamp as the colourful painting printed on federal fishing licenses that allows them to keep the salmon they catch. Those wanting to catch and keep salmon have to pay for the stamp. That money goes towards helping salmon enhancement programs across the coast. Through stamp purchases and sales of the winning prints, the program has raised over $16-million for community projects since it started in 1989.

Both art and fishing have been a part of Hansen’s life since he was a young child. He lives and works in Oyster River, and his family has been in the fishing industry for generations, he has history on the coast going back almost 100 years. He has seen the stamps on licences for years, but never thought about how they were selected.

“I didn’t know until about a year ago that it was actually an art contest. It was through my favourite artist Mark Hobson that I learned about it,” Hansen said. “He had some write-ups on his paintings and that’s when I realized there was an art contest every year. I wanted to find out more information about it and see if I could contribute.”

The award was presented at a gala in Vancouver last November, but Hansen decided not to attend. True to form, he was hunting at the time of the awards, and only found out he had won after coming in from the bush.

RELATED: Vancouver Island teen singer advances to American Idol top 20

“I’m not a very social person, so I figured if I was there and all this went down I don’t know what I would do with myself,” he explained. “I usually take a week off to hunt, just to get some meat in the freezer every year. My wife and son were visiting her folks in the Rocky Mountains, so I was home alone, hunting every day and trying to fill the freezer. They called me one morning after a pretty frustrating hunt. I just assumed that they were calling me to tell me that so and so had won or whatever.

“They said ‘hey you won!’ I was like ‘What? I won? No way!’ I don’t think it sunk in until after hunting season was even over. It was a pretty wild feeling,” he added.

The outdoors are a big inspiration for Hansen. From the front door of his home, the river is only a few metres away. He can see the water from the window in his studio, and it is hard to imagine a better place for him to paint the way he does. Vintage and new books on the outdoors and homesteading line the shelves of the Hansen home, which also serve to inspire the painter. He describes his style as “West Coast,” and his works include things like his grandfather’s fishing boat, bears hunting for crabs on the beach, and birds along the shoreline. Hansen explained that he spends most of his downtime in the winter painting. However, as the weather warms up he is pulled more and more to the outdoors and to the water.

RELATED: After 37 years, Campbell River Arts Council annual members’ show goes online

“The love of salmon has gone back in my family for a long time. My great-great-grandpa came from Norway, and we have a place up the coast that’s still in the family. A lot of my family members have been commercial fishermen and sport fishermen on the side. Even I worked very briefly on my grandfather’s boat as a deckhand,” he said. “Salmon is such a huge food source for all of us. I was pretty excited to have the opportunity to give back a little bit.”

Hansen hopes the stamp will help him get some recognition and legitimacy as an artist. He explained that until an artist has a win under their belts, it is hard to convince people of their work’s value. Having a painting that thousands of people will buy, albeit a very small version, over the course of the year will probably help with that.

“It’s kind of a crazy feeling to think that something I created out of just paint and a canvas is raising that much money to help our salmon stocks,” he said.

The stamp became available on fishing licenses on April 1.

Hansen’s work can be found at https://www.joshuahansenart.com.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

ArtsArts and cultureChinook salmon protectionSalmon

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

 

Joshua Hansen’s tools of the trade. Photo by Marc Kitteringham - Campbell River Mirror

The view from Hansen’s studio is of the river. Photo by Marc Kitteringham - Campbell River Mirror

Hansen’s home is filled with antique charts and other bits of inspiration. Photo by Marc Kitteringham - Campbell River Mirror

Joshua Hansen with some of his paintings in his Oyster River home. Photo by Marc Kitteringham - Campbell River Mirror

Some of Hansen’s art hangs in his home/studio. Photo by Marc Kitteringham - Campbell River Mirror

Just Posted

Quadra Island RCMP detachment. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror.
Multiple patients involved in Quadra Island motor vehicle incident

Quadra fire, BC Ambulance and RCMP responding

Centennial Pool is one of the ‘unfortunate casualties’ of the city’s 2021 budget cuts, according to Mayor Andy Adams, but the closure does enable the city to get more work done on the facility rather than have to close it again in the future for renovations. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror
Centennial Pool could remain closed for 2021 due to lack of gaming revenue for City of Campbell River

Change room building likely to get major overhaul while the facility is closed anyway

B.C. Provincial Election candidates for the North Island riding. (Campbell River Mirror graphic)
Over 4,300 mail-in ballots returned so far in North Island district

Elections BC provides progress report before vote count

MMFN First Nation has said that it will restrict access to portion of Highway 28 that passes through the Nation’s land until a road use agreement is reached. (Black Press file photo)
Vancouver Island First Nation blocks highway access to logging trucks in Gold River

Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation restricting access for Western Forest Products pending road deal

Physical distancing signs are a common sight in B.C. stores and businesses. THE CANADIAN PRESS
272 more COVID-19 cases for B.C., outbreak at oil sands project

Three new health care outbreaks, three declared over

This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cpl. Nathan Berze, media officer for the Mission RCMP, giving an update on the investigation at 11:30 a.m., Oct. 30. Patrick Penner photo.
VIDEO: Prisoner convicted of first-degree murder still at large from Mission Institution

When 10 p.m. count was conducted, staff discovered Roderick Muchikekwanape had disappeared

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Abbotsford pumpkin carver’s creations include fallen police officer

Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

Police service dog Herc helped RCMP locate and arrest suspects in the Ladysmith area on Oct. 23, 2020, related to a stolen vehicle. (Submitted)
RCMP nab prolific property offender in Ladysmith with assist from police dog Herc

Police attempted to stop the vehicle but it fled from the area towards Chemainus.

Health care employees take extensive precautions when working with people infected or suspected of having COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WorkSafeBC disallows majority of COVID-19 job injury claims

Health care, social services employees filing the most claims

Most Read