In early 2019 I was contacted by a Vancouver business that is going to get started with rooftop bee keeping, and before they get their bee boxes all set up they wanted to have an artist paint their boxes for them.
They reached out to me after contacting THIRVE Art Studio and the lovely lady bosses over at THRIVE directed them towards me (I've been a member since 2016), perhaps because they knew that I have taken some bee keeping workshops and plan to keep bees myself down the road.
After sending in a proposal and outline of how I would handle the project, we agreed on the terms and off I went with the project. Each box would include one of my colourful spirit animals plus a variety of abstract foliage in the colours that are attractive to bees. The boxes would need to be a cohesive set, though independent images so that they would work together as the boxes get moved during the hive checking process. Outside of that they gave me complete creative control, and did not require any pre-sketches or plans, they just let me go for it (the best kind of client an artist can get!).
See images below showing the process shots and the final look of the boxes before they were shipped off to their new home. If you have any questions feel free to send them my way!
ALSO, here’s some interesting facts about bees and bee keeping:
Bees prefer the colours blue, purple and yellow. Bees look for patterns and colours to remember which hive is their own.
The honey bees that you see have already lived out most of their lives, collecting honey is the last stage of their life.
The bees you see are primarily working females. The male bees are called drones and pretty much sit around and consume resources most of their lives. They will mate with the queen bee then die.
Dandelions are a very crucial food source for bees.
The honey bees are master recyclers, even if a bee keeper accidentally kills bees while checking hives (very likely), the remaining bees will reuse the protein of that bee, nothing ever goes to waste.
Bee propolis is essentially a type of glue the bees make, made from tree sap. They use it to seal their hives. For instance if a rodent gets into the hive the bees will kill it, but because it is too big for them to push out of the hive they will seal it up with propolis to prevent the decomposition and bacteria from impacting the hive production.
Bee propolis has been found to have amazing health benefits, and bee keepers are often the most healthy and long lived because they are always around it!
Honey bees come in different temperaments, most bee keepers have very docile bees.
The smoker that you see bee keepers use calms the bees down. The process of smoking simulates a forest fire to the bees, which encourages them to get into the hive and eat honey so that if their tree burns they can evacuate and easily start building a new comb elsewhere.
BC Hydro in partnership with artists and corporations has done some really interesting community projects where bee friendly flowers are planted in areas under power lines and areas that aren’t typically high traffic spaces. Here’s a great example of how areas around hydro land can become beneficial spaces for pollinators.
Published April 7, 2019