Norval Morisseau, Jasper Trinkets and Art
When I first moved to Jasper in 1988 a close native friend told me to go downtown to the certain gift shop opposite the original bike shop garage and inside I will find paintings of ‘Picasso of the North’ collected by the giftshop owner who payed Morriseau to paint for him.
One spin through the shop and I was hooked and Canadian Norval Morriseau(Copper Thunderbird – Ojibwe) became my favorite artist then and there. It is hard not to be drawn into the wild depictions of what Morisseau saw in culture, his people and wild animals intertwined together with heavy black outlines and eye-popping color within. Morisseau is a self-taught artist from the 50/60s and was featured at Expo ’67 and later was awarded the Order of Canada.
My friend was happy to hear how much I appreciated the work of Morriseau, then proceeded to inform me that he lived in Jasper from the early 80s to the year before I arrived.
Visiting Jasper in 2009, the collection was moved from downtown to the Maligne Canyon Gift Shop and is worth a visit.
Norval Morriseau died in 2007 at the age of 75.
Jasper the Bear
Jasper the Bear is the mascot of Jasper National Park and was created by Canadian artist James Simpkins and was a regular cartoon in Macleans magazine for 20 plus years. He became the mascot of the Park in 1962 where a statue was placed down by the train station, which until my first arrival in 1988, was a childhood vision I did not know why this funny tall black and white bear had appeared in my memory of family vacations until moving to town. It has since been removed and placed in the Jasper Museum after being vandalized in 2004. There is a great replica however placed at the NW corner of the main downtown park near the info center.