By Lisa Houle | September 28, 2023
We knew creating a sticker that conveys our Invasive-Wise Education program and its dynamic roster of games, activities, and programming supporting teachers and students across BC would not be a simple assignment. But it all unfolded easily when we met artist Chantelle Trainor-Matties, whose deep connection to art, storytelling, and nature led the way. We are very proud to unveil Chantelle’s work, and the latest addition to ISCBC’s sticker series.
Chantelle is an artist from BC with Nisga’a and Métis heritage who specializes in illustration, graphic design, painting as well as mural work for private and commercial clients. Her work ranges from bold contemporary Northwest coast Formline to charming cartoons and painterly realism.
Indigenous culture is rich in knowledge sharing and storytelling. Chantelle’s art is how she shares in this tradition.
“I’ve always struggled with storytelling, as an artist I use visuals to tell a story or to invoke emotion or to just simply share something that I enjoy with an audience. For me, art is the story,” said Chantelle.
Depicted in the sticker are native and non-invasive plants of BC, such as Large leaved lupine (Lupinus polyphyllus), Heart-leaved arnica (Arnica cordifolia), Garry oak (Quercus garryana), Western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla), and Pacific trillium (Trillium ovatum) among others. The silhouette shows a child removing invasive plants, allowing native and non-invasive plants to thrive. Chantelle’s design includes a hummingbird – a native animal and pollinator which brings joy to people.
Stephanie Weinstein, ISCBC Education Lead, is happy to collaborate with Chantelle on this project, a design that will become synonymous with ISCBC’s Invasive-Wise Education.
“When we shared with Chantelle what we were hoping to design, she envisioned a child that is rising from, and being nurtured by, native and non-invasive plants. We thought that sounded like a cool idea since we are all nurtured by plants – we can’t survive without them!” she said. “We are so happy with Chantelle’s design – the diversity of colours and shapes captures the beauty of nature and interconnectedness. The child is being supported by plants/nature and also giving back to it. This sticker perfectly symbolizes the joy of being amongst the beautiful foliage of BC.”
When it comes to her artistic process, Chantelle says every project has its own flow.
“It really depends what I’m working on. It could be a personal project or work for clients. I like to spend some time brainstorming ideas, imagining how to portray a subject matter in the most impactful way. And I also search for and study references in relation to the subject matter I plan on drawing. In this case, I was looking at a lot of flora, which I both enjoy drawing and keeping around my home,” she said.
“I then generally do some messy sketching on my iPad and when I’m happy with my sketch I clean it up and from there it again depends on what the project is. Sometimes I will then project my illustration onto a canvas or a wall and paint its final form or I will turn the artwork into a vector for scalable graphics for digital or print use.”
Chantelle not only enjoyed creating the sticker – she also learned a lot about invasive species.
“I loved working on this project! I love flora and it was neat to learn new things along the way. I hadn’t heard of ISCBC before connecting about collaboration, but I wish that I had – I truly learned a lot about invasive species just by working on this design! I couldn’t believe how many plants are not native to BC and I think it’s really important information for everyone to know,” she said.
“Part of this project was searching for photographs of different plants online, but I also had the opportunity to bring this project camping with me and was able to wander around outside searching for plants, photographing them and spend time drawing in nature which I highly recommend.”
The sticker will be distributed to young people (primarily K-8 students and educators) who participate in ISCBC’s education programs at school, in camps or other youth programs.
“We wanted something that was joyful, fun, that would celebrate and reward the hard work that young people are doing to learn about and take action to protect special places from invasive species. The kids should feel proud of their learning and care for the environment!” said Stephanie.
“The design will also be used on signs posted in areas where teachers are working with their students on stewardship projects, creating healthy habitats free of invasive species in schoolyards and nearby greenspaces. Teachers asked for these signs to educate communities about the work being done – ensuring the areas are not disturbed and native plants remain unharmed – and to help recognize the hard work of the students!”
Chantelle was happy to learn how ISCBC will be using her art.
“That is so exciting to me, I love having my art have a role in education material and being able to illustrate knowing children will see it and be inspired to learn and maybe to also create!” she said.
You can see more of Chantelle’s work at:
Lisa is a Communications and Outreach Coordinator at ISCBC. She values a diverse environment and connecting with others about environmental protection. In her spare time Lisa enjoys spending time at the ocean and beach combing for sea glass. You can reach Lisa at [email protected]