Artists use a variety of mediums for their canvas - everything from paper to wood, fabric and more. Tinia Kaczor's canvas is a seven-foot custom-made fiberglass Asian warrior.
The Richmond art teacher, was chosen as one of 27 Lower Mainland artists to take part in the B.C. Lions Society for Children with Disabilities and Easter Seals' Terracotta Warriors Public Art Project - a fundraiser benefiting children with disabilities.
Kaczor, along with her fellow artists, was commissioned to create a unique design and apply it to the surface of the warrior, similar to the brightly painted orcas, bears and eagles that have appeared throughout B.C.
After pondering various ideas, Kaczor decided on painting her large warrior - nicknamed Wu Chang - with Chinese fabrics throughout the dynasties.
She spent months poring over books and the Internet, studying the history and designs of Chinese textiles. The 41-year-old artist was fascinated by the intricacy and the fluidity of patterns dating back more than 5,000 years.
Her bible of sorts is a library book titled 5,000 Years of Chinese Costumes. She spent a couple of weeks sketching her chosen designs before beginning the process on painting.
"It's amazing to me that thousands of years ago those creating the cloths were so technological and that many of them are quite elaborate and beautiful patterns.
"I chose about 30 patterns, male, female and armour from throughout Chinese history. On one sleeve, I'm painting different patterns from different dynasties. I'll mix and match, and I think I'll also put patterns on his face and hands."
Kaczor works on the project, which must be completed by the end of March, when she isn't busy tutoring or teaching art at the Richmond Art Centre.
It isn't the first time Kaczor has taken part in a public art project.
A few years ago, she worked on the Eagles in the City project (April 2009 to April 2010), beating out more than 100 artists from across the province to win the People's Choice Award. At that time, Kaczor was an artist-in-residence at Whiteside elementary, so used ideas from the students there to create a design on the eagle.
This time, the artist is on her own.
Stephen Miller, president and CEO of the B.C. Lions Society, is thrilled to introduce this new project.
In the past, the society focused exclusively on animals for its public art projects.
"We wanted to try something else, something that was different than the animals of the past, and move out of our comfort zone," Miller said.
"I happened to be going to China last summer and I saw the Terracotta Army of Qin Shi Huang, the First Emperor of China."
Back in 220 BCE, the emperor commissioned artisans from all over the country to create more than 7,000 life-sized terracotta warriors, horse and chariots to protect him in the after-life.
"It was one of the largest art projects ever produced in the world," Miller said, adding they are considered one of the eight wonders of the world. "The whole concept of the terracotta warriors ended up consolidating the country. Yet, the one thing the emperor couldn't control in life was life after death, therefore he created a life after death for himself . created the warrior army for a true life after death."
Local farmers discovered the buried treasure in 1974, almost 2,200 years later.
"I felt that doing a limited public art project that celebrated multiculturalism, more specifically celebrating the Asian culture and its significance in our province, warranted doing this project," Miller said.
Each of its past arts project has raised between $300,000 and $500,000 each, all going to the Easter Seals houses and camps for children, as will be the case for this project.
"This is a limited edition project confined to the Lower Mainland, and we hope to raise at least $100,000," said Miller.
The society hopes to auction them off on Sept. 20 during a banquet dinner and auction.
Kazcor's warrior will be unveiled and on display in Richmond, from April to October 2012.
Other Richmond artists include Jeanette Jarville and Herman Zheng.
For more information about the B.C. Lions Society Terracotta Warriors or to download a map of where each warrior will be displayed, visit www.terracottawarriors.ca.