Kamloops parkade to be transformed into a giant piece of art

Kamloops artist Bill Frymire will create public artwork that will surrounding the building in around 90,000 tiny pieces of painted aluminum that will ripple like a river.

Artist Bill Frymire plans to create a shimmering ode to the Thompson rivers

Artist rendering of the public art that will soon wrap around a Kamloops parkade. (Bill Frymire)

A Kamloops parkade will soon become the largest piece of public art in the city.

Well-known local artist Bill Frymire has been commissioned to create an art piece that will cover the building with 90,000 small pieces of painted aluminum that will ripple in the breeze.

"It's really nice to work in your hometown," he told Daybreak Kamloops' Doug Herbert on a tour of his north Kamloops studio.

"As a public artist, you try to sort of represent the community that you are doing the public art for."

He says the city approached him a year ago after seeing another one of his art pieces, a 16-foot mosaic of Kamloops NBA star Kelly Olynyk.

In 2016, Bill Frymire, right, created a vinyl mosaic of Kamloops-raised NBA star Kelly Olynyk, left, on the campus of Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops. (TRU)

That work took 140 hours to complete and was made out pieces of recycled vinyl, but the upcoming project will take a lot more time and money. The city is spending $166,000 on the project. Frymire says most of that money will be spent assembling the piece.

The parkade on Lansdowne Street will first be painted in a dark colour and then wrapped with a "high-end chain link" mesh. Frymire then will attached diamond-shaped pieces of aluminum to the mesh.

"Each tab represents a person for the community," he said.

"The feature that kind of holds it all together and binds it together is the image of the Thompsons rivers….when they are moving in the wind… it's will look like the river's sort of moving."

The art piece is part of a larger $1.4 million beautification of Lansdowne Street. This summer, the City of Kamloops will be adding curb extensions, improved street lighting, sidewalk improvements and landscaping to make it more pedestrian friendly.

Bill Frymire creates his art pieces in his north Kamloops studio. (Doug Herbert/CBC)

With files from Doug Herbert.

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About the Author

Jenifer Norwell

Digital Associate Producer

Jenifer Norwell has been working with CBC since 2008. She's worked in Prince George, Vancouver, Sudbury and now makes her home in her hometown of Kamloops. She works with CBC Kamloops and with Daybreak Kamloops. jenifer.norwell@cbc.ca