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.

 

Just Posted

Sooke cannabis report does little to answer production questions

Council is trying to get ahead of the issue

Saanich woman runs marathons to make dreams come true

Hempler gutted her way through 122 kms with minimal breaks, to support Help Fill a Dream Foundation

Tsartlip canoe team pulls for international glory in Australia

Geronimo Canoe Club paddles to Victoria to kick-start fundraising

Average housing prices would have to drop by $413,000 for Victoria to become affordable

Alternatively, salaries need to increase to $134,000 per year, more than double current levels

Victoria Weekender: What’s happening this weekend, June 15-16

Car Free YYJ, a barber battle and an Outdoor Discovery Day

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

Monkey spotted on late-night jaunt in Campbell River

Conservation officers also apparently looking for cougar in the area

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Revamped B.C. Lions set to battle veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Lions’ first test of the season will be a big one

No business case for Trans Mountain expansion, says former environment minister

Cabinet is expected to announce its decision on the expansion of the Alberta-to-B.C. pipeline by Tuesday

Most Read