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  • Writer's pictureHannah Johnston

Kirkland artist's snow dragon comes to life in honour of Chinese New Year.

Steven Zhang, a Kirkland artist, has completed his front lawn masterpiece, and shared his insight into the creative process with West Island Today. Happy Year of the Dragon to those celebrating! 🐲🏮


Q: What is your past art experience/background?

I specialize in Chinese paintings. I teach Chinese painting and calligraphy. I have been making snow sculptures yearly since I came to Canada four years ago.


Q: How long did it take you to complete this dragon?

You know, the weather this year is not suitable for making snow sculptures. The weather is relatively mild, and there is less snow. It took me a week to collect the snow and make it into snow blocks, and another four days to carve it.


Q: What is the process behind these sculptures?

The snow sculpture-making process is divided into the following steps:

  • To begin, establish the project, choose the theme you want to express, and design the sculpture according to the theme. If the structure is complex, you need to draw a design sketch. The strength of the snow must be considered during the design to ensure that the snow sculpture will not collapse.

  • Secondly, to make snow blocks, use four wooden boards to make a mold, like a large box without a bottom. Collect snow, fill it into the mold, and compact it to ensure the snow blocks are solid and even in density. Also, keep the snow clean and free of dirt, ice, and leaves. If there is soil or leaves in the snow, the snow sculpture will look dirty, and the snow around the soil or leaves will turn into a small hole under the sunlight. The finished snow block needs to be left for at least 24 hours until it freezes. Stack snow blocks according to the design sketch, and the mold can be used repeatedly.

  • Lastly, carve the snow sculptures. Draw cutting lines on the snow block according to the design sketch, and use a large hand saw or ice shovel to cut; the size should be larger than the design size. Then, start to carve out the rough shape required, then polish it, and then carve the details. Finally, do the cleaning.


Q: What inspires these designs?

Most of the design inspirations came from my mental state at the time, and most of them originated from Chinese culture. During the COVID-19 epidemic, I carved Guan Gong as spiritual support and some beautiful themes such as cheongsam blue and white porcelain, horse heads, wings, etc. Some works represent good wishes and blessings. This year is the Year of the Dragon in the Chinese lunar calendar, so the Chinese dragon is a must-do theme.

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