. book totem

Book Totem by Rick L. Silas

The work of Rick L. Silas, a sculptor of many art installations in Calgary and the Beltline area, graces urban parks and streets, adding to the overall artistic atmosphere within the city. 

Experimenting with several mediums over the past twenty-five years has presented Silas with many opportunities to create and showcase his work on a grand scale. A close-up of the statue at Tomkins ParkBeing an up-and-coming artist looking for exposure, Silas volunteered to craft a sculpture for the opening of Tomkins Park on 17th Avenue.

Citing his love of reading as the inspiration behind the Book Totem, Silas utilized telephone poles and chainsaws to make the installation onsite and in the public eye.

“As a sculptor, you reflect what’s in front of you,” he explained.  “Carving the pole was simple math; its just cubes on top of cubes in a mathematical equation. It didn’t take very long.” 

The finished piece was branded by then-mayor Ralph Klein at the opening of the park.

Silas, as a self-proclaimed purveyor of guerilla art,  is responsible for constructing and illegally placing a large, red book outside of the Calgary Public Library a few years back. 

After multiple visits to the poorly marked library, Silas and another artist decided to take matters into their own hands and while impersonating city workers, illegally placed a large, red book at the entrance.

The art was displayed for ten years until the structure was deemed unsafe.

The book was removed and the duo received a thumbs-up from a Calgary Herald writer, naming the book as a "landmark guerilla art piece."

Public art at Tomkins Park

Silas has since moved to Sidney, B.C., and has begun experimenting with more contemporary sculpting mediums.

After a surgery to remove a spinal tumour, Silas was forced to stop the physically demanding practise of wood carving.

In an attempt to keep busy, the artist began exploring the more fiscally obtainable mediums of glass and plastic and began making jewellery during his recovery.

“I was initially fascinated by the translucency of it. The three-dimensional and transparency aspects opened up tremendous possibilities for me,” he said. 

Since his first introduction to glass, Silas has completed thousands of pieces of art and large corporate installations within Canada.

He has also patented his own techniques for creating shattered glass, aptly named Silastial™.              Book Totem by Rick L. Silas

                                                         In a nation where art creations are being replaced by neon signage, Silas thinks there is something monumental about existing outdoor public art.

“The rarity of outdoor installations has a profound effect on people’s psyche; they believe the sculpture has been there for decades when in reality, it’s been there for a couple of years,” he stated. 

“I believe in making art for the love of it.”

For more information on Rick Silas, click the link.