Exhibitionists·Video

We aspire to the level of peaceful contentment Geordan Moore takes from drawing ghoulish creatures

The Nova Scotia artist's good nature is infectious, and you get to feel the zen too as he breaks down his creature-building practice.

The Nova Scotia artist's good nature is infectious. Feel the zen as he breaks down his practice

(CBC Arts)

Every year, tourists flock to Nova Scotia to gorge on lobster, visit lighthouses and relax next to the sea. What most tourists aren't expecting to encounter in Nova Scotia, however, are Yetis. But these days, Yeti sightings have become commonplace, and it's all thanks to printmaker Geordan Moore.

When he was young, Moore's teachers would complain about how much time he spent doodling instead of taking notes — but he says that he never wanted to do anything else. He describes his imagination as being filled with strange creatures coming out of the woods and water: "Drawing requires a lot of observation and a lot of time spent looking at different aspects of nature or creatures. And I think that the time spent kind of studying those things leads to fantasy, almost, I guess. And so in spending so much time in observing something, I start to think about whatever magic or strangeness I see in it."

Watch the video:

Artist Geordan Moore exhibits enviable chill as he creates his mysterious beasts. Filmmaker: Matthew Brown 4:13

Today, Moore is running a successful printmaking and apparel business based in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia named The Quarrelsome Yeti — after the namesake character he created while on a ski vacation with his partner and her family. He remembers, "I'd never been skiing before, and after one pitiful morning of lessons, I decided that I never wanted to ski. So I spent the week in the ski lodge drawing Yetis. One of these Yetis was the character that I named my business after: a pointy-headed Yeti standing in an old-time fighting pose. I liked the [Yeti] image enough to print onto some t-shirts which I tried selling at a small craft show back in Halifax. The 'Fightin' Yeti' is still my top selling t-shirt every year."

The majority of the artwork that Moore creates is screen-printed and depicts fantastic beasts, sea creatures, monsters and mythical beings. His studio in Dartmouth is a shared space with a few other local artists and craftspeople. Moore adds, "I like an ambiguous narrative. I want people to come up with their own stories. When I'm coming up with a composition, I try to add just enough to encourage a narrative without directing it in any specific direction."

(Geordan Moore)

In this video by filmmaker Matthew Brown with help from Zoë Boyd, you'll meet Moore at work. He begins his day at Peggy's Cove, where he shares why he loves drawing sea creatures, monsters and mythical beasts. Back at his studio, you'll get an intimate look into his process as he creates prints and one of his famous Fightin' Yeti t-shirts. And you'll learn that what's most important to Moore is that people connect with the work.

"I don't really feel like I have that much control over what people come away with it, but as long as enough people enjoy it to help me keep on making it, I guess that's good enough for me."

Follow Geordan Moore here.

(Geordan Moore)
(Geordan Moore)
(Geordan Moore)

Stream CBC Arts: Exhibitionists or catch it on CBC Television Friday nights at 11:30pm (12am NT) and Sundays at 3:30pm (4pm NT). Watch more videos here.

About the Author

Matthew Brown is a filmmaker based in New Brunswick. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts from the University of New Brunswick, he studied photography at the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design. He is the creator and producer of Studio Tour, a Bell TV1 show that profiled Atlantic Canadian artists and that aired for four seasons in Atlantic Canada.