Sara Wiens adds detail to the rainbow trout swimming below the water’s surface in a mural on the east side of the blue building at 120 Hudson Ave. NE on Tuesday, Aug. 25. (Lachlan Labere - Salmon Arm Observer

Giant interactive mural brings local wildlife to downtown Salmon Arm

Artists, property owner interested in producing more public murals

One of the Shuswap’s more prevalent fish-eating raptors was the inspiration for a new mural in downtown Salmon Arm.

The east side of the building at 120 Hudson Ave. NE has been transformed into a series of moments showing an osprey’s descent from the air to catch a rainbow trout from the waters below.

The work is the creation of Adam Meikle, of Meikle Studios Social Art House, and collaborator Sara Wiens – with help from Adam’s brother Wade and other Meikle family members and friends.

The mural is the largest painting project Adam has ever been involved with.

“We’ve been talking about doing a mural since we were shut down in March (due to COVID-19), and Bill started to get creative and was wondering if I wanted to do a mural,” said Adam, referring to the building’s owner, Bill Laird.

Though he recently had the building repainted blue, it was still left with a large and very visible blank wall overlooking the Avon parking lot (named after the former Avon Hotel) that Laird thought could be used to showcase some of the “locals.”

“Not many people would know that an osprey actually transforms himself considerably to go down and get a fish, so when you see it finished, it starts out with the osprey flying at the top, and when you get to the bottom he’s in full attack mode,” said Laird.

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“So that’s the dream, to use up a wall space and sort of give people an opportunity to see how one of the locals supports himself.”

The mural took seven days to paint, with a lot of advance preparation.

Part of that included a “doodle grid,” a collection of simple doodles marked on the building used to digitally plot the mural.

“I bring an iPad or cell phone and connect the dots between the doodles,” Adam explained.

In addition to featuring local wildlife, another thing Laird insisted upon was that the finished mural be interactive. “So we’re putting a ‘stand here’ sticker on the sidewalk and then, when you take a picture from that perspective, it looks like the bird could be getting you instead,” said Adam.

Adam, Wiens and Laird were excited by the opportunity to create the downtown mural and are already considering future options.

“I was talking about doing a grebe because they are more fragile as a species than osprey are, and we’re one of the few places where the grebe nests, so in the future Adam and I might work together to do a grebe somewhere,” said Laird.

Laird suggested Salmon Arm could develop an art walk in the downtown featuring interactive murals, including Adam’s butterfly painting on the side of Laird’s colourful Monarch Building, home to the city’s Innovation Centre.

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Adam and brother Wade Meikle start plotting initial lines on the doodle grid used to plot the mural on the east side of the blue building at 120 Hudson Ave. NE on Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2020. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

Adam Meikle paints an osprey preparing its descent to pluck a rainbow trout from waters below in a mural on the east side of the building at 120 Hudson Avenue on Friday, Aug. 21, 2020. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

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