Nelson city council has given the go-ahead to a mural design West Kootenay artist Tyler Toews will paint on the front of city hall this month.
That approval at the May 4 meeting was the final step in a lengthy selection and design process conducted by a jury of local business, arts, and government representatives. The working group selected the artist from 26 applicants, then worked with him to select and refine the design.
The project was sponsored by the Nelson and District Art Council.
“Tyler was so understanding about trying to create something that is going to be appealing to the whole community no matter who you are,” said Sydney Black, the arts council’s executive director. “We needed that because it is a building that has a lot of serious business in it. Tyler worked with jury feedback, and feedback from the Cultural Development Committee.”
She said the guiding concept was community.
“Community resilience, bringing people together, being stronger, being united. He effectively portrayed that in the piece.”
Toews will paint the piece in sections, then attach them to the building.
He’s done that sort of off-site creation before, but this mural presents a unique technical challenge because of the way it plays with perspective by tricking the eye into seeing it as three-dimensional. The piece can only seen accurately when the viewer is at a vantage point 70 feet below it and some distance out from it – in other words, standing on the ground in front of city hall looking up at it.
But Toews doesn’t have that vantage point while painting it, and therein lies the challenge.
“I am using all the theory and principles I have learned over 20 years of doing this,” he said.
The mural will be 15 feet by 50 feet. Toews has built a 20 foot wall at his home in Krestova and he’s painting sections of it, pretending he has a vantage point he doesn’t actually have.
Since he started his business Canadian Murals in 2002, Toews has completed close to 100 pieces for cities, municipalities, and businesses across Canada.
The project is funded by a $30,000 grant from Columbia Basin Trust and the city contributed $7,500 in 2019. The cost includes payment to a contractor to assist with the installation.