Katzie First Nation artist Trenton Pierre’s new artwork inside Pitt Meadows Secondary School is inspired by dreams. Really big dreams.
“I’m a firm believer in energy and coming up with this piece I was just sitting in the hallway corridor [where he was commissioned to create the paintings] and I came up with the theme of dream. Each piece I created is meant to inspire dreaming big, and thinking outside the box.”
The young painter practices the same “dream big” mantra in his own life. He recently gave up his career as a civil inspector in the construction industry because he felt a calling to make a difference through art.
“I thought deep down inside I could help people so I left the engineering realm to go into art.”
With each large-scale artwork he paints, Pierre will create a scholarship/bursary for First Nations youth. Trenton, whose passion for art was sparked in high school, used spray paint to create the large art pieces at PMSS.
“I like working with spray paint because it’s rarely used with native art. There are so many colours and opportunities that a spray can presents. In my eyes, the possibilities are endless,” he said.
“What I want to do is take from traditional native art and make it modern. I want to make it open to all races and all nations, and all people that see it. I want it to be welcoming to them.”
Pierre says he’s grateful to the school for giving him this opportunity to showcase his skills. “This is my first major project. I’m so happy with the way the pieces turned out – this was just such a great experience. [Vice principal] Cheryl Schwarz and Pitt Meadows Secondary have been very welcoming.”
Schwarz said it’s important for staff, students, parents and community members to feel valued within the school.
“Trenton’s artwork captured the essence of what we, as a school, want for our community. Specifically, to have the courage to dream big and strive to reach your goals. It was an honour to learn from Trenton during his time in our building as he shared stories about his artwork and Katzie First Nation. The positive reaction to the art has been overwhelming,” she said.
When Pierre first returned to PMSS to see the completed installation of the artwork, a group of students on a tour of the school stopped to admire the work.
“I just happened to be there and Cheryl said ‘This is the artist who did it!’ They all started applauding me and at that moment it became very clear to me that this was what I was meant to be doing with my life and I’m on the right path. I love that it is the beginning, my first project, because I’m a firm believer that we need to dream beyond our limits.”
Pierre is eager to continue painting large-scale art pieces. “I just want to do as many projects as I can because I think it’s important to give back through my grant and scholarship program. Every day I’m working hard to make a difference in this world.”
To learn more about Pierre’s work, visit https://www.facebook.com/trenton.pierre.art/