Spotlight on Aurora Moore
Aurora Moore infuses creativity into as much of her daily life as she can, whether through play with her two toddlers, foraging for plants to dye with, or creating her artworks in the early hours of the morning with a coffee in hand.
She is best known for her ink and watercolour landscapes and female forms, but she is also the artist behind the ReachOut! Whistler pin, which will raise awareness and funds for local mental health & wellness programs.
We spoke to her about her inspiration, creative process, and the role mental health had to play in it all.
Describe an average day in the life of Aurora Moore.
“I’m afraid my average days are not particularly glamorous and they certainly look a lot different than they used to!
My husband, Michael, was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer back in April so I’ve stayed home from work this past year to take care of our two young kids Hamish – (age 1) and Emily (age 3) – and help him recover from surgery.
Between meals, naps and outdoor play it can be a challenge to find time to make art but I try to infuse creativity into most things we do whether it’s building elaborate castles with blocks, making snow statues, or drawing with the kids.”
What inspires you to create?
“Can I say everything?!
I really try to cultivate a curiosity for all things. I’ve found that life is far more exciting if you can get inspired by the stuff that’s usually overlooked. Everyone is captured by the wonder of a bear making an appearance but, if you can get the same inspiration from new fungi popping up, or the texture of tree bark then life becomes full of magical moments!
There are a few things that are constant inspiration for me; the mountain peaks (especially in springtime) and the human body. I love to draw people. I’ve spent a lot of time drawing women blended with nature as I find it really liberating to celebrate people’s lines and curves and find beauty in the bare truth of people’s bodies.”
You are best known for creating in ink & watercolour, do you experiment with other mediums?
“Absolutely! I am always exploring new hobbies, I think I have a hobby addiction actually. Right now, for example, I’m exploring the world of organic art-making pigments and pens from foraged materials, dyeing fabric with mushrooms & lichen and processing wild clay. It’s an exciting way to merge all my interests and get the kids involved! I do have to reign myself in from time to time though – living with big creativity in a small condo can be tricky.”
Did you have previous experience with digital design mediums before this project? And, how did the creative process differ from your previous artworks?
“I actually have very little experience in digital design, but this year I enrolled myself in a handful of part-time design courses with BCIT (A COVID blessing to have the course work in an online format!)
I really enjoy digital art, its endless avenues and what you can do with it are so enticing but I don’t think it will ever take over from pen and paper for me (which is still how I planned out the design). You can’t beat the anticipation and wonder of a blank sheet and a sharp pencil.”
How has your work evolved over time?
“I’ve been working to find balance in my life for a while through different practices, including talking with a wonderful therapist here in town which has proved to be life-changing. It has been fascinating to watch my artwork grow and evolve at the same time.
My personal mental health journey has actually changed my relationship with my artwork. Where I once thought that I could only draw well in black and white, and that a .005 micron pen was the be-all and end-all of art supplies, I now strive to create larger, more expressive works.
I’ve also become much braver with subject matter and committing fully to following my artistic curiosity and passion rather than worrying about how other people will react to my art.”
Whose work inspires you?
“Oh, so many artists how to choose?!
My sister Nina Moore is at the top of my very long list! I’ve watched her work evolve since we were little and I’ve always admired her creativity. Now she’s gaining a true mastery of light and reflection that I’m hoping she’ll teach me! It’s incredible that we often get to show our work together in the Sea to Sky. Our style is so different but we have so many shared experiences, so it’s cool to see how she processes them. Not to mention her dedication to becoming a great artist is contagious!
When I feel like I need some extra inspiration I check out a book from the Pemberton Library called “Explorers’ Sketchbooks: The Art of Discovery & Adventure” by Huw Lewis-Jones and Kari Herbert. It’s full of beautiful artwork that always gets me in the mood to create (and explore)!”
What’s next in your creative journey?
“I’m hoping to complete as many graphic design courses as possible. My New Year’s intention is to make a series of larger artworks and I have a long-term personal goal of seeing my artwork on a beer can one day. I just think it would be really cool, so I’m just going to throw it out there!”
What does mental health and wellness mean to you?
“To me having other people to lean on or talk to is at the heart of mental wellness. I’ve been lucky enough to have a network of people here who came out to offer support when I most needed it.
My wonderful “Whistler Family” who made themselves present and available at the drop of a hat; the Whistler/Pemberton community for reaching out in so many ways to make sure our family was coping with a cancer diagnosis during the pandemic; Kayla Arnold for helping me breathe and listening so deeply; and of course my husband Michael for being unwaveringly supportive and brave for us when I feel like I can’t be.
Everyone deserves to talk to a therapist, no matter who you are or what you have or haven’t been through, and I hope that my design helps remind people that there is always support available.”
Purchase your ReachOut! Whistler Pin online, from Maury Young Arts Centre or the Re-use-It Centre or make a donation to show your support for local mental health and wellbeing programs.