Please scroll down the page to read some newspaper and magazine articles written about us.
"THE INCREDIBLE HULK OF ART & DESIGN"
July 2002 - THE TRI-CITY NEWS
Artist Ross Agro's work can be found in Tokyo, Malaysia, Guatemala, Saudi Arabia, New Jersey and Port Moody - to name just a few locations.
Still, it's his work that's currently being displayed at Hollywood's Universal Studios that makes him stand the tallest. The piece is a 10-foot tall, 3-D sculpture of Marvel Comic Book character "The Incredible Hulk". "It opened up a lot of doors for me," said Agro, who confesses that as a child he loved Marvel comic book characters.
If you haven't visited Universal Studios lately, you can see the Port Moody resident's work a little closer to home. Agro was commissioned to do a piece of public art for Port Moody's recently opened Trials Bike Park. He chose to create a 32-foot long, eight-foot-high relief sculpture of a fossilized mountain biker entitled "Trial By Stone", which took him approximately 10 days to complete.
Agro, a 29 year-old with a black mohawk and gregarious personality, shrugs off the label of "artist" when he talks about his work. "It's more design with intensive labour," he says modestly. "Mostly I design and fabricate large scale sculptures and themed interior design."
One of Agro's most recent projects is a Mayan temple-themed spa in downtown Vancouver. "Everything from the flooring, the walls, the lights, furniture to airbrushed murals," said Agro, who also keeps busy designing and building pieces for the film industry.
A native of Ontario, Agro doesn't have a fancy art college degree hanging on the wall of his Port Moody studio - he's always been able to draw and design, a gift that just always came naturally to him.
In fact, Agro held down a series of odd jobs - including a brief stint as a garbage man - before he got into the art and design industry eight years ago when he landed a job designing snowboard graphics for a company in Whistler. From there, the Toronto native naturally migrated to the design and sculpting field full time.
Asked what he likes most about the profession, Agro pauses for a second and replies : "It's a challenge every time a new client comes to me. It's always something completely new and completely challenging. People come with ideas and you try to figure out how to do it."
From designing children's play areas on the BC Fast Ferries to drawing a cartoon logo for the Port Moody Police Department's racing car to designing an airplane sculpture for the BC Children's Hospital, Agro has yet to meet an artistic challenge he couldn't solve.
"It takes a lot of determination and long, long hours," he confesses. "But it's very rewarding work."
"IS THAT BUTT BARE? NO, WAIT.."
July 26th, 2006 - 24 HOURS
By Graeme Mcranor
It's not every day you see a Butt on a bear bared at the corner of Robson and Burrard. But that's what happened when Brent Butt, star of the hit show Corner Gas, unveiled a Spirit Bear in the City in his likeness at the CTV building yesterday afternoon. "It looks a lot like me". Butt told 24 hours. "It really freaked me out when I took the hood off the thing. I thought it was going to be a bear and there's my giant face looking at me! And it's not that much bigger than the real thing, which is alarming, since the bear is eleven feet tall".
The bear, which is part of the B.C. Lions Society Spirit Bears in the City program, will be auctioned off in Vancouver in October, with all proceeds from the bears going towards the B.C. Lions Society's Easter Seal operations and Canucks for Kids Fund. The Brent Butt Bear, part of the Spirit Bear series, was unveiled at CTV studios by none other than Brent Butt, the star of Corner Gas.
"QUEENS STREET PLAZA"
June 2005 - The Focus
Port Moody’s dedicated festival and market space, the Queens Street Plaza, is ready for the summer season. A portion of Queens Street between Spring and Clarke Street in moody Centre is now permanently closed to traffic, allowing a pedestrian-friendly space. The Moody Centre Business Association (MCBA) will be managing the space and scheduling regular farmers’ markets throughout the summer.
The Rotary Club of Port Moody Foundation is sponsoring a whimsical railway-inspired archway designed by local artist Ross Agro for the plaza. The club is selling recognition pavers to help fund this project (see below for information). The Canadian Tulip Festival, a rolling cross-country bus tour celebrating the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands, will be at the plaza on June 7 at 6:45pm (see back page for details). Saturday markets begin July 9 and continue through September.
Ross Agro and a model of the Queens Street Plaza public art archway entitled “Queens Glass Tie.” The rail theme echoes Port Moody’s railway heritage. The rail “ties” are frosted glass, held up by timber spars set in brick bases.
"MORE PUBLIC ART ON WHEELS!"
January 21st, 2005
City of Port Moody Media Release
The City of Port Moody put another piece of art on the road today. Port Moody artist Ross Agro designed and painted the city's second public art truck, a service vehicle for the playground crew playground service truck.
The "Playground Truck" is sure to delight children and adults as it services the different parks in the city. It depicts a girl on a swing on the hood holding a paint brush, a riot of colour exploding from the brush and traveling along both sides of truck leads the eye to the back tailgate of a placid scene in the park with a boy and dad. Fish and birds can also be seen among the colours.
The city's first public art truck, painted last year by Port Moody artist Judith M Atkinson, has created interest in her work from other municipalities, as well as an extremely positive response from staff and residents.
The art trucks, as well as other pieces of public art, are commissioned through the city's public art subcommittee. Port Moody values art as an important part of community life and is committed to a far reaching public art program, including 1% of capital project infrastructure towards new works of art.
"HIGH ON THE HULK"
February 25th, 2004 - THE NOW NEWS
By Ron Devitt - Staff Reporter
Port Moody's Ross Agro is on an "incredible" high these days. Agro, 30, was asked to design and sculpt a larger-than-life image of Bruce Banner's pumped-up green alter ego in 1997. The local artist worked for two months in a Vancouver studio creating the comic book character based on specifications given to him by Universal Studios.
He even went to the California studio to put the finishing touches on his green monster as part of the studio's tribute to Marvel Comic Book characters.
Over the years, Agro wondered if his creation was still a popular attraction at the studio. When the movie The Hulk was ready for release, Agro called the studios to find out if his work was still on display. "I did it in 1997 and I thought they destroyed him," Agro said from his Port Moody studio. "But they kept it and it's their showpiece for the movie.
Agro looks back at those days in amazement, recalling all the hours and hard work. At the time, Agro was doing graphic designs for snowboards. The company he was working for was at a trade show when Agro was asked if he might be interested in creating some characters for a bid to Universal Studios. Of course he said "Yes," and he was ecstatic to learn they had won the bid to create the Incredible Hulk.
He began to work on the huge project based on studio specs. Agro's Hulk stands some nine-and-a-half feet high, weighs 500 pounds and is eight feet wide from elbow to elbow. He designed the metal and wood armature frame of the body and then covered the armature with a polyurethane foam, which he sculpted with a saw and knives. "This was the first time I've ever sculpted anything resembling a human," Agro said. "I usually do more cartoonie things."
As it neared completion, he sent pictures of his creation to Universal and was told by the studio bosses that his character's head was too big. So, he started trimming foam from his monster's cranium. However, he hit an air pocket in the foam and lost most of the head, forcing him to start from scratch and put an entirely new head on the massive body. After the head was fixed, the sculpture was fibreglassed and then gel coated.
He spent hours sanding it and filling in rough spots, working almost around the clock in order to meet tight studio deadlines.
"I did 72 hours straight," he said. "It was to the point where you're actually sleeping while painting at the top of a 12-foot ladder."
The work took its toll - Agro lost 20 pounds off his own 165-pound frame as he climbed up and down the ladder hundreds of times as he worked on his hulking creation. He then went to California to install the monster on site, working overnight to ensure it was ready for the public. When the gates opened, he sat across from his creation on a park bench to watch the reception it got.
"To see all the people running up to it and posing with it ... it was really cool to see that," he said. "They said about 45,000 people a day go through that park. People from all over the world, and stars, have posed with him." For a long time, he said, the only two photo opportunities at Universal were his monster and Jaws. "A lot of people I talk to say they have pictures of their kids with him," Agro said.
Agro has since created designs and sculptures for other theme parks, children's play areas and private corporations in the Lower Mainland.
"BCLC LEAVES JACKPOD ON VANCOUVER STREET CORNER"
July 2004 - NEWSPIRIT
That's Jackpod... not Jackpot. On June 16 Kevin Gass, British Columbia Lottery Corporation's (BCLC) Vice-President of Corporate Communications & Marketing, was joined by Mayor Larry Campbell and Stephen Miller, president of the The BC Lions Society for Children with Disabilities, to unveil three new orca sculptures (a pod) at the corner of Hornby and Robson in Vancouver.
This event showcased BCLC's sponsorship commitment to Orcas in the City, an exciting community art project that benefits children in need through The BC Lions Society's Easter Seal Operations and the Canucks for Kids Fund. The project features approximately 65 eight-foot decorated fibreglass orca sculptures displayed in outdoor locations across the Lower Mainland. BCLC commissioned artists Ross Agro and Ovidio to decorate ”Jackpod” to capture the fun and excitement of lottery, casino and bingo games.
Until the fall, the orcas can be seen at the corner of Robson and Hornby. Visit www.orcasinthecity.com for
"YOUTH DRIVEN FOR THE ARTS"
APRIL 2003 - THE TRI-CITY NEWS
By Diane Strandberg
A group of Grade 7-8 middle school students is the driving force behind a unique art project that will raise funds for youth programs in Port Moody.
Zen Bellotti's gifted students at Moody Middle are collaborating with 3-D artist Ross Agro to turn an old Morris Minor car into a work of art that can also be used as a chair. "The purpose of this project is to make community ties and fight the negative stigma that youth is often associated with," writes Megan Hyska, Grade 8, in an e-mail to The News. "What you have to realize," adds Jeeyon Kim, one of the students involved in the project, "is that not all young people go around graphitizing(sic) their neighbourhoods and beating people up. In fact, the majority of youths want to make a positive difference in their community".
The students have been collaborating with Agro, known locally for getting youth involved in designing and painting a 40-foot long mural for the Port Moody Skateboard Park, a 32-foot long relief sculpted mural for the Port Moody Mountain Bike Trials Park and for the huge sculpture of the Incredible Hulk that he built for Universal Studios.
The collaboration began with a visit by Bellotti's students to Agro's Port Moody studio. Out of that, Agro and the students came up with the idea of establishing an "Empowering Youth" fund for other art projects, such as a mural at "The Alley Youth Centre". The teens are getting businesses to buy bumper stickers with their names on them for the art car, with the money going to the fund. They have set up a website and are visiting businesses to get donations for the project.
"Unbeknownst to the students, the project is really more of an exercise in diligence, creativity and self-improvement than anything else", says Agro. He was planning to turn the Morris Minor shell into a fine furniture/functional art piece to exhibit or sell privately. But the idea of working with young people on the project was more intriguing. "I jumped at the chance to see it come to life by way of giving the students an opportunity that I could only have dreamed of as a kid".
The car chair, dubbed "Minor Comfort", is in the midst of production, with the young people helping with woodwork, sanding, bondo and othe finishing. It will be displayed at Port Moody City Hall (May 3-7) and Coquitlam Centre ( May 15 & 16).