The Nature of Inspiration (2012)

(Documentary, 60 minutes)

The Nature of Inspiration travels from coast to coast, documenting the country’s great artists and spectacular locations.  Shot over a period of six years by Gemini Award-winning documentarian Ian Toews, the program offers an unprecedented glimpse into the minds of artists and their muse, the natural landscape.

     - CBC Manitoba

“So well made it gives me some hope all is not lost with… TV documentary.”
     - Retired Globe and Mail TV Critic James Bawden

The Nature of Inspiration features intimate interviews with some of Canada’s best visual artists, who discuss their work and its relationship to nature and the environment.  The documentary features photographer Edward Burtynsky, mixed media artists Marlene Creates, Peter von Tiesenhausen, sculptor Dempsey Bob, and five other prominent artists.

The artists and their techniques are as varied as the Canadian landscapes which inspire them.  World-famous Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky travels to Chile to photograph Chuquicamata mine, in the Atacama Desert one of the driest places on earth.  Aganetha Dyck uses bees and their hives as co-creators in her sculpting process.  Octogenarian, Takao Tanabe paints subtle landscapes of Canada’s west coast.

Robert Wiens photographs trees, then paints life-sized versions with thousands of tiny brushstrokes. Peter von Tiesenhausen makes art of trees, with trees, and atop trees.  David Alexander visits Newfoundland and BC’s Purcell Mountains and creates colouful landscape paintings.  Marlene Creates combines poetry, photography, and herself in her artwork.  John Chalke creates work that is literally made from the earth itself.  And finally, Dempsey Bob sculpts wooden portrait masks, inspired by the faces he sees in the land.

Artist Peter von Tiesenhausen sums up an artist’s relationship to nature very well: “Art is creation.  Thereby unifying yourself with all other creation and becoming connected to the divinity that dwells within us all.” 

Though a portrait of artists and their work, The Nature of Inspirationis also a work of art in its own right.  With its exquisite photography, lush music and sound design, the documentary is a uniquely beautiful experience.