Magic on the Trail

Visual artist Hilary Lorenz will take hand-crafted cards along her art adventure on the Chilkoot Trail in July

Hilary Lorenz is an artist living in Brooklyn, New York. Like a lot of artists she has many projects going on. One of them is the Moth Migration Project, which is an ongoing international project where people worldwide created moths out of paper and send them to her.

So far she has had 15,000 submissions from 26 countries. The project is about the environment, pollination, and community. “It bloomed into a meaningful collaboration and a social practice that continues to build,” Lorenz said.

This year the project will be showing in St. Andrews, New Brunswick at the Sunbury Shores Arts and Nature Centre from September 28 to October 20, then to Australia to be exhibited at the Bundaberg Regional Gallery in 2019.

Nature plays a huge role in her work. An outdoor enthusiast herself, she has been on many hikes such as crossing a lava field in Cameroon, Africa and hiking 14000 feet high Mount Sneffels in Colorado.

“All my work originates in nature, with me doing something physical such as hiking, backpacking or trail-running, the first thing is always the inspiration,” Lorenz said. “The mountains and trails ground me and breathe new life into me that can get crushed living in the city.”

Lorenz is a multidisciplinary artist with a love for printmaking.

“I fell in love with printmaking after taking a class with Professor Steve Campbell at the University of Illinois. I worked night and day in the studio until I had a portfolio to apply to graduate school.

“I went to the University of Iowa for printmaking and intermedia. From there I moved to New York City and have been working here ever since.”

In addition to making art, she is teaching. Lorenz is a professor of art and media arts at Long Island University in Brooklyn.

Her plan for the Chilkoot Trail Artist Residency Program is to do printmaking inspired by trading cards for a project she is calling Trail Magic. For this project she carved linoleum blocks and hand printed numerous hiking items such as headlamps, knives, ropes, sleeping bags along with treasures such as gold nuggets and finisher’s medals.

The cards will be sealed in semi-transparent glassine envelopes. Lorenz hopes hikers can take them on a trail to trade for stories, coffee or another small item. She will carry the cards along the Chilkoot Trail to trade and interact with other hikers at the campsites, she said. In addition to that, she wants to collect data in the form of photographs, drawings, watercolour paintings and sound from her residency.

“I want to gain understanding of the trail’s historic use by all peoples and respecting that in my work. I feel that every place I travel, I want to channel all the previous explorers. I want to connect, metaphorically, to those who walked the trail and want to understand their drive. I hope to absorb that history and have it later come through in my work back at home,” the artists said.

The Chilkoot Trail Artist Residency Program is now in its eighth year. The Yukon Arts Centre, Parks Canada, the United States’ National Park Service and Skagway Arts Council recently announced the three participants for this year: Josh Winkler, from Minnesota, will hike the trail at the end of June; Kristin Link from Alaska will hike the trail mid-July; and Hilary Lorenz from New York will be hiking the trail at the end of July. This series will introduce each artist with a profile.

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