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Gnomes want to play in Port Moody

"The Gnomes of Port Moody" is a fanciful visual arts series created by Port Moody photographer David Carey and his illustrator friend, Michel LeBlanc.
David Carey Council-meeting
The regional council meets to consider a bold new step for the gnomes of Port Moody.

David Carey had a revelation when he was meditating.

The photographer had been thinking about who could illustrate his new series, The Gnomes of Port Moody, a project that he started before the pandemic hit.

Then, it came to him: Michel LeBlanc, a graphic designer and teacher, was a friend who Carey had known for years in Winnipeg before moving to Port Moody.

“I didn’t think of him right away, but I was happy that I eventually did because I had always wanted to work with him,” Carey told the Tri-City News on Monday.

Over the course of the lockdown, the two traded images electronically to find the right fit. Carey sent him the storyline and photos of Port Moody while LeBlanc offered drawings of gnomes that Carey later PhotoShopped in.

Their results can now be seen at PoMoArts, and will be the subject of a Facebook Live talk and tour on Thursday, Sept. 2 at 7:15 p.m. 

In total, they produced 19 pieces — measuring 12 by 18 inches — that tell a fanciful tale of gnomes wanting to get out to city life.

In the story, the gnomes grow tired of the forest and seek permission from the regional council.

They’re given the OK; however, it’s on condition that they maintain the city.

“I liked the idea of them contributing to society,” Carey said, noting the idea for the series started when his wife began buying ceramic gnomes for their home.

Unfortunately, though, due to the pandemic, the imaginary gnomes are forced back into the woods to quarantine.

“They will emerge again once COVID leaves,” Carey promised.

Meanwhile, Carey and LeBlanc will donate proceeds from their exhibition to the Share Family and Community Services Society, which runs the food bank in the Tri-Cities.

The show is up until Sept. 16 along with Coastal Spirit (Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki) and We Can Ask For More (Serisa Fitz-James). Visit the gallery at 2425 St. Johns St. or call 604-931-2008.

For more information about PoMoArts, go to