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Illustrating Alberta's Roots in Water

October 13, 2015
Published In: Employee Stories

While applying both his education and design degrees to fuel the creative process, his love for history is what truly makes an impact. The result is an illustrative narrative of Edmonton's most celebrated urban parks, landmarks, and culture.

"People made all this," says Jason Blower, gesturing widely to the signature cityscapes hung on his studio walls and the storyboards stacked across his desk. "Knowing how it evolved helps you understand why the city is the way it is."

Having grown up in Alberta, Jason recalls how school lessons and trips influenced his appreciation for cities and how they evolve. Now, he's creating activity books based on Alberta school curriculums where kids can write down their own memories and create a picture of themselves at an Alberta landmark.

"It allows them not just to colour, but to interact with the book and draw upon their memories and experiences," says Jason. "I know things about the city and I know how much that's influenced me. I hope I can do that for other people and other kids to make that difference for them too."

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"The more you know about a place, the more you like it. The more you like it, the more you'll learn to love it. When you love it, you'll be more involved and make it better." - Jason Blower

While leading classroom lessons in Alberta, Jason instils an inspiring philosophy: "the more you know about a place, the more you like it. The more you like it, the more you'll learn to love it. When you love it, you'll be more involved and make it better."

Through his landmark illustrations, curriculum material, and colouring books for all ages, that's exactly what Jason strives to do. His inspirations are all his life milestones and actively venturing around Edmonton to reignite memories of past experiences.

"I find it surreal when I'm sitting in my car above something that I used to be eight feet below," says Jason about his time working in Water Distribution and Transmission at EPCOR. "When I drive around the city, I can recall places I've been many times before. Like an alley we used to go up and down to fix water main breaks, or the fire hydrant we repaired."

Jason's father not only inspired his love of history, but also his career at EPCOR. He comes from a long line of water workers spanning three generations and working at EPCOR was a natural step for him as he finished his schooling.

"Jason worked with EPCOR for several years and we knew he was an aspiring artist. When he needed more time to work on his illustrations, we supported his move to a new part-time position to give him that flexibility," says Susan Ancel, Director, Edmonton Water D&T at EPCOR.

As a part-time water meter installer on evenings and weekends, Jason was able to balance his art aspirations while ensuring a consistent income. The evening and weekends hours arrangement was also appreciated by EPCOR customers with busy schedules.  When his workload grew at EPCOR at the same time as his illustrating career was booming, Jason knew it was time to take the plunge and make his art a fulltime focus.

"I'm really happy with where I am and where I'm going," he shares. When friends from EPCOR visit his art shows and he sees them on job sites around the city, it's always a welcome exchange of support.

Based on his familiarity with distribution networks and water valves, Jason is working on a new spread with EPCOR in his curriculum book. He'll be illustrating the process of how water gets from the river all the way to your home and then back again. Jason's whimsical, fun, and graphic style will deliver the message to kids as well as adults.

"When it comes to my career, it's like a river," he says. "Every rock that falls in and redirects the flow pushes it in a different direction. Who decides to share my story and to whom they decide to share it with ultimately shapes my path."

​Follow Jason's Story on Instagram