Artist Sid Dickens’ Memory Blocks evoke ancient, mystical symbols
It’s not easy to turn down Cher, but West Coast artist Sid Dickens had to decline her offer to create an installation in her Malibu home when his Memory Block tiles started gaining momentum. Stars such as Elton John have fared better, scooping up the collectible tiles bearing regal motifs, iconic images and designs pulled from the natural world.
Though he grew up working in fisheries in Prince Rupert, B.C., Dickens found his calling after a six-month European sojourn where he soaked up the richness of history. “Churches were the main patrons of the arts,” notes Dickens. “Religious and spiritual icons have always resonated with me.” His tiles resemble a pastiche of visual snippets and calligraphy, resembling finds unearthed from an archeological dig.
The blocks are hand painted and finished, but the artistry really comes into play from the tiles’ display, which often commemorates a special day. “The tiles ultimately reflect a storyboard of the collectors’ lives,” explains Dickens.
“I love minimalistic clothes, so I tend to wear Prada and Jil Sander, and Dolce and Gabbana for a bit of extravagance.” Tom Ford sunglasses are as essential as Dickens’ Swiss Zenith or Italian Panerai watches. “They are like pieces of art.” Dickens gets his Kiton or custom mixed fragrance at the Perfume Shop in downtown Vancouver. When travelling, Dickens indulges in Marco Polo Vert Tea from Mariage Frères in Paris for instant comfort, and local Beta5 chocolates. Oversized sofas from Montauk aren’t just luxurious for lounging, they’re Canadian. Dickens likes the clean look of a Tumi bag, and Prada and Paul Smith shoes. The dramatic Black Japanese orchid is a floral fave. Dickens’ Tree of Life block. When he wants to escape, he heads for Haida Gwaii. “It’s a misty and secluded island chain also known as the Canadian Galápagos for its endemic wildlife. It’s my perfect temple of inspiration.”
Photography by Milos Tosic