CHEK Upside: Colourful front yard art collection rocks James Bay neighbourhood

CHEK Upside: Colourful front yard art collection rocks James Bay neighbourhood
WatchColourful rock artwork has been springing up in front of one Victoria home for the past four years, with new pieces continuing to bring in smiles.

From across the street, it looks like any other quaint home in Victoria.

But one look closer reveals the home isn’t like other homes in the James Bay neighbourhood.

Rock art has become a fixture in this front yard, whether it’s a roaring barbecue or a bird on its perch, each one is unique.

“Anybody who comes looks at it for quite a while I notice and they get a lot of joy, it makes them smile,” says the home’s owner Steve Barker.

The collection all started with his wife Mary.

“My wife likes to make her own things and one day she was looking for a garden ornament and she couldn’t find one that was cheap, so she sort of thought ‘maybe I’ll make my own’ and she made it out of a rock,” says Barker.

As for the artist herself, Mary prefers staying out of the spotlight and letting her art, as well as her husband, do the talking.

“Mary’s a little camera shy and so she asked me to help out a little bit here and tell the story,” laughs Steve, who has become the unofficial spokesperson for Mary’s work.

“Until we get Mary comfortable with cameras,” he adds.

One visit isn’t enough to spot every piece. With each passing glance, one can notice another work of art. The pieces range from full picnic spreads to sharks and red-eyed frogs.

“Just the surprise effect, I think, and seeing that effect is really nice,” says Steve.

Each little addition is designed to bring a smile and the artwork has many admirers, including neighbours.

“When any age group comes they kind of spend a lot of time trying to find new things as well, but mostly it’s just you see the smile on their face and that’s why she does it,” adds Steve.

The Barker’s home is located on Niagara Street, near Government Street.

Cole SorensonCole Sorenson

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