Memory Blocks



Vancouver artist Sid Dickens has been creating his collectable wall plaques, called Memory Blocks. since 1994 and his products are featured in over 1000 carefully-curated stores worldwide. Still, the early years of his creative efforts and fledgling business were a hard challenge as Dickens established his artistic voice and creative direction. For a commissioned piece of writing about the artist’s early efforts and growing artistic confidence, I had the privilege to discuss with Sid how that initial period in his career came to matter so much to his later international success.

 “After completing the first batches of tiles, close friends took notice and encouraged him to pursue their possible sale. But artists are rarely showmen. Artwork is often left to speak for itself as if some wind-up toy that can make its own pitch. Dickens is quietly reserved and remains reluctant to be a high-profile artist. It took years before the courage to sell his work equaled his interest in making it. ” 

– Barry Dumka  



Memory Blocks

Sid Dickens’ artistic tiles – called Memory Blocks – are now sold world-wide and regularly turn up in fashionable magazine photo spreads but the story of the tiles begins with the artist weighted down by 100 pound bags of plaster and spurred on by a bold idea.


In the early 1980s, Dickens spent a year at Vancouver’s prestigious Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design but quickly realised his inspiration wouldn’t be found in a textbook. Dickens then spent several years travelling through old Europe cultivating his interest in history and ancient ruins. Eventually, he anchored himself in San Miguel de Allende – Mexico’s cultural hotspot – where Dickens apprenticed with a master sculptor.


Once back in Canada, the idea and identity of the Memory Blocks were shaped over an extended period, particularly the work’s suggestive use of iconic imagery from the past. Dickens was interested in how the visual fragments of earlier cultures – from old manuscripts to architectural details to renaissance portraiture – could be used to express a language of memory. Dickens was curious to find a means of communicating something essential through something apparently ephemeral. But he had to make the work first to prove the idea. And that required a lot of bags of plaster.


— (end of excerpt)



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As a freelance creative consultancy, BCreative Consulting gets involved in many unique projects specific to the needs of our clients. We enjoy insightful conversations, positive client relationships and heralding the authentic meaning and value at the core of all creative efforts. It’s a powerful opportunity – and a great challenge – to inspire an audience. And we love being part of that process. 

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