An interview with Vancouver artist Norah Borden

Dec 19 2017, 3:33 pm

This month, we caught up with Vancouver artist Norah Borden at The Waterfall Building. We attended an event showcasing her newest collection titled PLANET EARTH, at one of Vancouver’s most influential architectural buildings, designed by renowned architect Arthur Erickson.

Erickson, born in Vancouver in 1924, has been celebrated by architects and artists globally for his futuristic designs. Erickson has been inspiring Vancouverites since 1965, when he created Academic Quadrangle for Simon Fraser University – Burnaby, B.C. Part of Erickson’s legacy can be enjoyed by many at The Waterfall Building, home to many events, private parties and intimate weddings.

The Waterfall Building – Vancouver, B.C.

We met up with Norah on the evening of May 10, 2013 entertaining alongside The Waterfall Building’s co-owner and marketing director Joseph Mackinnon. The theme of the evening was FIRE & ICE, a spot prawn event, created by Chef Nicolas Hipperson from FARM-2-FROK, celebrating B.C.’s locally sourced cuisine and delicious wines from Liberty Wines.

It could not have been a better evening for event planner, Olga Veublevskaya. The party was elegantly prepared and guests enjoyed the food and wine while marveling at Norah’s aerial inspired artwork. Guests’ also welcomed live entertainment by singer Daria Sekacheva alongside her band. The band sounded wonderful within the sleek glass and concrete building. It was a perfect setting for live music, art, food and wine.

Vancity Buzz interviewed Norah hours before this beautiful event, FIRE & ICE to discuss her exciting new series – PLANET EARTH.

Can you tell us about your collection?

Planet Earth depicts the world from an aerial perspective, which is unencumbered by borders. It is as if the viewer is peering down through the clouds. Through movement and flow, these paintings reveal that we are essentially all connected. . .everything we do has a resonating effect on our planet. As well, there is an opportunity to truly understand the fragility of our world.

Describe your last series, how was it different from PLANET EARTH?

My previous series, Sea Change, was inspired by the concept that we project our emotions and perceptions onto our environment, thereby creating illusions within our reality. It’s a very romantic series, inspired by the Pacific Northwest. In the last couple of years I’ve started to see through my own illusions, and on many levels, that changed how I viewed the world. Literally, as my perception shifted, my perspective within my paintings changed.

What was the driving force behind PLANET EARTH?

It bothers me that time after time, we as a civilization look for the differences rather than the similarities. Historically, we have segregated, dominated and excluded people, which causes so much suffering. The way I see things, we all connected in creating this reality on earth. We are at a critical point where we are going to start to see massive shifts in our environment – due to climate change.

What do you think of the Vancouver art scene?

I love Vancouver and I’m very proud to be a part of this great city. There are many influential events within our art scene. Barry Mowatt has contributed in infinite ways, the most visible being – the Vancouver Sculpture Biennale.

Is painting your only medium or do you also work in other forms?

Painting is my medium of choice. I use non-toxic acrylic paint. I am often asked if my Planet Earth paintings are resin-based…they are not. I find epoxy resin too toxic. In my artistic practice, I strive to minimize my impact on the environment through best practices.

What inspires you in life?


What is the last piece of art you saw that you just loved?

I was riding my bike today around Vanier Park and stopped to admire Ren Jun’s sculpture, ‘Freezing Water.’

How does the Waterfall Building work with your artwork?

The Waterfall Building is such a beautiful structure. Arthur Erickson captures light in the most interesting way. I’m honored to have my Planet Earth collection in it. I think it responds well to the glass, concrete and water elements.


Written by Garth W. Jackson for Vancity Buzz. Connect with Garth on Twitter @Gjaxluxe.


Artist photographs – submitted by artist.

Waterfall Building – by  Dale Simonson/Flickr

DH Vancouver StaffDH Vancouver Staff

+ News