Almost any adage about clouds with silver linings and new doors opening when others have closed can be applied to Calder Moore.
Following a car accident, the 26-year-old graphic designer scored a new job and a prestigious win in a Royal Canadian National Mint contest to design several new collectors’ coins.
The talented artist has been posting his portfolio online at Behance.net, a large artist community mostly geared to graphic designs and illustrators. “The mint came to me and wanted me to take part in a competition,” he says of the contest that took place last January and was judged by a panel. “I had to go up against two other artists and I had to create a polar bear coin.”
Moore’s polar bear design won and with it came the expectation to create four more collector coins – a loon, caribou, beaver and a maple leaf, which will be released over the course of 2016.
“Over the moon; it was pretty awesome,” he says of his winning design. “Only 7,500 each will be minted, they’re all part of the $20 silver collection.”
Art has been Moore’s hobby and solace for as long as he can remember.
“I took basically every art and computer graphics course I could get. They had a 3D program and was able to start doing that,” he says, noting he has always been interested in drawing random characters and mountain scenes.
Impetus also came from a summer workshop at Okanagan College, where he and about 15 other learned how to program and create their own small digital games.
Family and friends were sure he would make a career in art. Instead, he made an unexpected detour.
Following high school, Moore was hired as a construction labourer after his dad met an old school buddy who was looking for a good worker.
Labouring towards a carpenter’s ticket filled his work days for the next three-and-a-half years, while restoring his dream car, a 1983 Camaro Z28, ate into many more hours.
“It was pretty awesome for the two weeks I got to drive it after I finished it,” he says with a wry laugh, of the March 2011 accident that totalled his car, injured him and gave him the time to review career goals.
“I got whiplash and was laid off at same time,” he says, pointing out he realized he didn’t wish to spend the rest of his life in construction.
Moore headed to the Centre For Arts and Technology in Kelowna, earning a certificate in 3D game animation and the opportunity to tutor other students as a teacher’s assistant.
A department head referred one of the owners of Nerdcorps Entertainment to Moore. And, on Aug. 25, he joined the Vancouver company, now known as DHX Media, and began making small props for Blaze and the Monster Machines, two preschool shows for the Nickelodeon network.
Moore earned his first promotion at about nine months in and began creating full background sets and environments for the shows, which teach kids math and science.
“Within a year, I worked up to being senior artist and modeler, still doing sets and environment on the same show,” he says. “I really love working on Blaze; it’s really cool work and it makes kids happy. My friends’ kids love the show and it’s pretty awesome hearing about it.”
Moore is also doing freelance work, having been commissioned by an architect with Below, a non-profit Vancouver group to create a ‘chronostratigraphic chart’ to help educate and illustrate geological time.
“I just like creating any type of art and the 3D allows me to make a living with it,” he says, noting he also continues to create art for his own joy. “I sort of unwind and create my own thing; get my head out of the stressful things. I can get very lost in a painting. I might start after work and the next thing I know it’s three in the morning.”