A new mural at the Bowen Park Activity Centre is bringing the park indoors.
Last week Nanaimo artist Sean Anderson drew a mural depicting Bowen Park’s nature and wildlife on a wall in the recreation complex’s lobby. The project was commissioned by the City of Nanaimo’s culture and events team, whose offices are inside the building.
“We had a really specific project objective in mind,” culture and events manager Julie Bevan said. “We wanted to explore and to celebrate our location in Bowen Park and invite curiosity and critical thinking about the life and the relationships in the park.”
Anderson, who is also a tattoo artist, said the Bowen Park mural was an exciting, collaborative project.
“[Bevan] was very open and excited to see what ideas I had as well and it was a very fun process that way,” he said. “It wasn’t like a very confined, ‘This is what it needs to be,’ it was more of an open, ‘What could this be?’”
Anderson isn’t new to murals. He said he painted “quite a few” large spray paint murals while living in Tasmania and he has a surreal, flowery mural on the wall of Regard Coffee Roasters. He said his process is typically more intuitive, but focusing on Bowen Park led to a change in his approach.
“I actually did a bit more planning and researched the different species that live in the park and then developed it from there,” Anderson said. “Usually I’ll just go for it and I’ll just draw on the wall and it’ll kind of develop in front of me and I don’t really know what it’s going to look like.”
In an effort to make the project “immersive,” Anderson created colouring book pages from three portions of the mural, which are available free for download. Bevan said she and her team wanted to offer the community an accessible, artist-led outdoor activity.
“Sean was really interested in seek-and-find, those books and activities, and so he embedded all of these different creatures and plants into his illustrations,” she said. “So people can snuggle up at home and take on this colouring activity or it’s also meant to encourage people to get outside and explore our parks through new eyes.”
The Bowen Park colouring pages are available here.