Lawrence Kristmanson

Lawrence (Kris) Kristmanson. Artist. Taken August 8, 2011

Lawrence (Kris) Kristmanson. Artist. Taken August 8, 2011

You never think of television as a hand-drawn medium. But as a young artist, one of Kris' jobs was doing pen and ink illustrations of Vancouver scenes to be used as CHAN TV interstitials. It was the era of theindian head test pattern, before the frenetic rotating logos, animations, and tickertape news feeds. In comparison to today's television, the local news at that time was more like a slideshow at a community hall. He once told me he was reprimanded for doing an illustration of Vancouver's east side. It was a "We can't put that on air. What the hell were you thinking?" kind of thing. No urban decay or dope fiends, mind you - just buildings and streets.

Throughout his life, Kris has tried his hand at almost every image making technique. Illustration, painting, prints, lithographs, watercolour ... he even has a small foundry set-up to do castings and he shares a credit for a medal design for the the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association. Kris taught for a number of years at the Alberta College of Art and Design where he inspired a generation of young artists. Visiting the Kristmanson house was like touring the back rooms of a museum. But it was a museum where a very curious person had gone through the deep storage and pulled everything out to see what could be found. Paintings and sketches by well-know BC artists would be leaning up against a complete set of Krazy Kat cartoons, next to a book press, next to an etching press, next to a stack of lithographic stones that he had found abandoned in an alley behind modernizing print-shops. It was a maker's house, a house of ideas. It was always a stimulating visit. 

Tim McLaughlin

Photographer and writer based in Vancouver, Canada