Natalie Way has never spent more time at shopping centres where there is no bargain hunting involved.
The mural artist from Ladner has just wrapped up two projects at the Tsawwassen Shopping Centre and has now started another at Ocean Park Shopping Centre in South Surrey. That comes after teaming up with fellow South Delta artists Jan Rankin for a Centennial Beach mural at Tsawwassen Mills back in August.
The demand for the mural projects not only reflects her exquisite work, but the pandemic we are all living through.
“I do some of those social painting events at Petra’s sometimes and private events as well. With COVID-19 (cancelling everything) I was worried about how I was going to fill those,” said Way. “Exterior murals, especially, seemed to be a lot more desired right now. The main reason I think is people need a bit of a lift and actually, as I am painting these, I can’t believe at how much it gets out of people. They will walk up and their eyes will be wide open with big smiles. They will say thank you for creating something so beautiful for us to see. It’s been very, very nice.”
The Tsawwassen Shopping Centre and Tsawwassen Business Improvement Association were familiar with Way’s work and hand in mind what they wanted created in different areas of the complex.
The organic blueberry theme is on the exterior wall of the L’Aroma’s Bakehouse. Way had to overcome working in forest fire smoke and a couple of days of torrential rain last month before getting that project completed. She then moved onto “Follow Your Heart which was done in about three days.
“I saw a picture I had taken on a trip. The trees just formed an actual heart. It was so beautiful,” she said. “In this part of the mall they wanted it to be very calming and loving with a real nice feeling in that respect.
“The (other part) of the mall is food and natural stuff. We wanted the brightness of the blueberries and it to be nature inspired. It was really fun to do it here. I can’t believe how many people came by. I was able to catch up with a lot of people I haven’t seen in a while and even people I didn’t know just came up to me and chatted.”
“I love the fact the Vancouver Mural festival seems to have inspired businesses to do more public art,” Way added. “People don’t realize what it brings to a community. It really does give a sense of character and well-being. It does translate. I see it on people’s faces.”