There’s a bright new mural on Third Avenue and it represents a brand new beginning for Port Alberni-based artist Shayne Lloyd.
Bright, colourful and located in front of the David Oscienny Accounting Office on the Third Avenue hill, it’s a visually loud welcome to uptown.
“I’ve always wanted to do a mural,” said Lloyd.
“Paint big, not just on a small little canvas that you can squeeze into your room but a big wall.”
It’s also the permanence of a mural that attracts Lloyd.
“I’ve gone through periods of doing lots of art and I would destroy my art. I would cut up canvases and smash windows I’d painted on,” he said.
“You just end up feeling sh**ty. At the end of the day that art could still be possibly appreciated by somebody…better to just give it away if that’s what I was just going to do.”
The past couple years have come with some challenges for Lloyd. Having the mural to focus on for the past year has allowed him to get away from them.
“To have something positive to focus on has been good because…I felt like an ostrich with my head in the sand, shut off from all my friends and family.”
The mural helped Lloyd dig his way out.
“It was just something positive to focus on because if I didn’t have that, well, idle hands are for the devil’s use. That’s why I keep busy.”
The idea for the mural has evolved since he first began working on it.
“At first, I just wanted to do one big humpback on the whole thing.”
Since then, it’s evolved three scenes—the Hupacasath welcome figures at Victoria Quay, the fish in the river and an octopus in the ocean.
The idea for the mural itself came from Lloyd.
“Waiting for someone to just hire you to paint a mural… who’s going to do that?”
Instead, Lloyd asked at the David Oscienny accounting office if he could do the work and they would just pay for the supplies.
“That worked out well.”
But Lloyd’s not doing the work for nothing.
“At the end of the day, it does promote me as an artist,” he said.
Lloyd’s not overly comfortable with the idea of self-promotion, though he has begun to realize that it is necessary if he wants to continue to grow as an artist.
“It’s a fine line because I don’t want to inflate my ego. But I work in a bank—I know you need money to live. If you don’t have money, it’s hard to live.”
But he’s tired of making that money the way he has for years, by working at the bank.
“If I can make it by doing something I love, that’s great and that’s where the self-promotion comes into play.”
Shayne Lloyd works on one of the panels for a piece of public artwork commemorating the 1964 tsunami that swept up Alberni Inlet.
One avenue Lloyd’s exploring is teaching art.
“I’m going to be getting a fine arts degree with a year-and-half teaching post-baccalaureate,” he said. The goal is to start school in the fall and get the qualifications to be able to teach high school art.
“Rather than teaching people what to do with what little money they have, it’s time to try something more in line with where my spirit is at.”
But while becoming an art teacher is a goal, it’s not the end goal.
“I feel like if I’m really humble, if I do really hard work then maybe I don’t need to become a teacher, maybe I can just do art.”