When Marian Bantjes' paddle emerges from the glacial‐fed waters of Emerald Lake, the liquid drips off it in shimmering waves. Her dog, Moser, moves throughout the canoe with tentative steps as it cuts a graceful wake on the smooth surface.
Together, they explore the flora and fauna that exist along the shoreline of this iconic lake sitting in the middle of Yoho National Park in the British Columbia Rockies. The skyline above is a dramatic expanse of the massive, jagged peaks this landscape is renowned for, yet Bantjes—one of Canada’s most influential graphic artists—can't take her eyes off the lake's glassy horizon.
“Water takes so many forms: the beautiful lake, the streams that have all these colours, from light aqua and white to beige and browns with the sediment mixed in. And then incredible clarity in other places. it's just completely magical and timeless.” - Marian Bantjes
Bantjes and Moser have traveled to the BC Rockies from their home on British Columbia’s Bowen Island—where the acclaimed artist creates artwork for titles like Wallpaper, Wired, The New York Times, and brands such as Saks Fifth Avenue. She’s come in search of inspiration for her next piece. Yet, for all the substantial size surrounding her, Bantjes points her camera at the tiny rather than the tremendous: a lady’s slipper orchid, a lakeshore pebble, and delicate butterflies brave enough to land on Moser’s soft fur.
“I always see the details. On the lake, I see the wave patterns and the reflections. I see little rocks. I see the colours and the sharp stones. All of these little things together are what make up the whole, magnificent spectacle.” - Marian Bantjes
Two decades ago, Bantjes was making something magnificent herself. Based in Vancouver, the friendly typesetter was gaining a reputation as a rising star in the world of graphic design. However in 2003, she dissolved her agency, moved to Bowen Island off West Vancouver’s coast, and kicked off a self-directed body of work that has, quite simply, made her a pop star in the design world. She has become renowned for her impeccably detailed and creative approach as a graphic artist.
“I can never get over the mountains,” she says, eyes alight with the morning sun as her gaze goes from lake to skyline. “They change so much with the light, and look completely different from one minute to the next. They never cease to amaze me.”
Bantjes dips her paddle into the water and digs deep into a forward stroke as Moser lies down and rests his curious head on the gunwale.