Gaynor Gauthier

Gaynor Gauthier

Gaynor Gauthier: a life of printer’s ink and art

After more than 35 years in the graphics design business, Gaynor Gauthier is hanging up her exacto knife.

Twenty two years ago, publishing was very different than it is now. These days anyone can become a desk top publisher, but back in 1990 things were a lot more complicated and printing was an art as much as a business.

Anyone in the graphics and publishing business will remember cutting and pasting, wax machines and set squares, repro paper, exacto knives and drafting tables. It was cumbersome, compared to today’s computer assisted publishing, but it was an art. Gaynor Gauthier thrived in that world.

In 1990, Gauthier came to Sooke with a lengthy background as a graphic designer working for printing and graphic firms.

“I’m still a newcomer,” she says with a laugh.

Originally from “back east,” Gauthier found herself in Sooke and when she went in to buy an ad at the Sooke News Mirror, publisher John Arnett hired her on the spot.

“He needed someone to do high-end ads, and it also allowed me to carry on my business (graphic design),” said Gauthier. Her stint at the Mirror was brief, but it allowed time for her own business to take off. She was Phase West Graphics and she plastered the town with her graphics. Business cards, posters, pamphlets, visitor guides, you name it and Gauthier did it. She even hand drew logos and illustrations. You couldn’t afford to make any mistakes and you had to have a thorough knowledge of the processes.

“It’s like giving birth,” said Gauthier.

Running a business in Sooke, with all the competition in Victoria, was tough, but she persevered. She worked below the poverty line and for minimum wage many times. She often worked 70-80 hours a week. But she believed in herself and what she was trying to accomplish.

“A graphic designer is not the same as someone who does desk top publishing — your work has to look professional,” she said. “It’s important to have a professional image.”

And image is what she sold, at both Phase West Graphics and Blue Moon Graphics.

She worked for most of the established arts groups and organizations in Sooke and for a time she produced Positively Sooke, a monthly “good news” community magazine.

Her clients appreciated her efforts. In many cases, she changed corporate images and with the upgrading their business tripled.

“All of a sudden the doors opened for clients in Sooke,” she said.

As testament to that, one client stated, “…your work must have reached every corner of the world into diaries and backpacks with other happy vacation memories of the Sooke Region.” Those words came from Whiffin Spit Lodge just after Gauthier announced that she was retiring from the graphic design business. She will continue to work for a couple of local groups as a community service more than as a job.

These days the offset printing industry is suffering and along with that, no doubt, go the small independent printing and graphic design firms. Gauthier’s son Colin still works for a printing company and she says they both “have printer’s ink in their veins.” He was her strongest advocate to quit the business and do art.

Gauthier hasn’t had a vacation since 1997 and now that she is retired, she wants to discover her own backyard and do some art. Images, graphics, colour and print will all appear somehow in her art. She does very realistic portrait work and now wants to do things not so controlled, something abstract. She’s anxious to get her art studio set up.

Chances are that when she does, she will be listening to the blues, creating art and discovering the inner woman within.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tourists are being asked to postpone their non-essential trips to Tofino as COVID-19 cases rise across Vancouver Island, but at least one accommodation provider is offering conflicting messaging. (Westerly file photo)
Victoria woman says Tofino Airbnb host encouraged travel despite provincial restrictions

“The only way I would get a refund is if she would be able to rebook the suite for that weekend.”

A Victoria-based orthopedic surgeon has been reprimanded after using sexualized language during a surgical consult with a pre-teen patient. (Pixabay)
Victoria doctor fined and reprimanded for calling pre-teen patient a ‘loose woman’

Dr. Bruce Taro Yoneda admitted to using sexualized language in surgical consult

Victoria police are asking for the public’s help locating Alexander Stokes, 19. (Courtesy of VicPD)
Victoria police searching for missing teen

Police looking to ensure safety of Alexander Stokes, 19

Sweetpal Chauhan, operator of several Shell Gas stations in Greater Victoria, donated 100 jackets and 100 sleeping bags to Our Place on Friday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Victoria businessman donates 100 jackets, 100 sleeping bags to Our Place

Warm jackets, sleeping bags can mean the ‘difference between life and death’

Anvy Technologies CEO Victor Nicolov displays his company’s innovative garbage disposal device, the Sepura. (Courtesy of Anvy Technologies)
Goodbye garburator, this Victoria company has a clean composting solution

Sepura has made Time Magazine’s ‘100 Best Inventions of 2020’ for its hassle-free functioning

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

(Black Press Media files)
B.C. to test emergency alert system on cell phones, TVs, radios on Wednesday

The alert is part of a twice yearly test of the national Alert Ready system

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

Phillip Tallio was just 17 when he was convicted of murder in 1983 (file photo)
Miscarriage of justice before B.C. teen’s 1983 guilty plea in girl’s murder: lawyer

Tallio was 17 when he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of his 22-month-old cousin

This undated photo issued by the University of Oxford shows of vial of coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, in Oxford, England. Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca said Monday Nov. 23, 2020, that late-stage trials showed its coronavirus vaccine was up to 90% effective, giving public health officials hope they may soon have access to a vaccine that is cheaper and easier to distribute than some of its rivals. (University of Oxford/John Cairns via AP)
VIDEO: How do the leading COVID vaccines differ? And what does that mean for Canada?

All three of the drug companies are incorporating novel techniques in developing their vaccines

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers at the project site in Kitimat. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
41 positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak in Kitimat

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

7-year-old Mackenzie Hodge from Penticton sent a hand-written letter to premiere John Horgan asking if she’d be able to see her elf, Ralph under the new coronavirus restrictions. (John Horgan / Twitter)
Elf on the shelf an acceptable house guest, B.C. premier tells Penticton girl

A 7-year-old from Penticton penned a letter asking if she’d be allowed to see her elf this year

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

Most Read