Paul Archer stands outside his shop on Broughton Street, holding Luna — who appears in the self-portrait above the doorway — with Takaya’s mural along side him. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)

Paul Archer stands outside his shop on Broughton Street, holding Luna — who appears in the self-portrait above the doorway — with Takaya’s mural along side him. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)

Victoria artist commemorates Discovery Island wolf Takaya with mural

Longtime artist doesn’t want Takaya’s death overshadowed by news of pandemic

Although Victoria artist Paul Archer only learned of Takaya about a year ago, news of the wolf’s death “saddened” him.

Takaya, the lone wolf that lived on Discovery Island for about eight years, was captured in James Bay in January and released in a coastal habitat on the west side of Vancouver Island only to be shot and killed a few months later.

“[The news of Takaya’s death] just kept refreshing in my memory and I thought I’ve got to do something,” says Archer, who specializes in airbrush work.

To commemorate the animal, Archer painted a mural outside his shop on Broughton Street depicting a howling Takaya looking out onto the waters near Discovery Island, all based off photos he had seen of the wolf.

READ ALSO: Beloved Discovery Island wolf Takaya shot and killed

Prior to Takaya’s death, Archer had been working on a different painting of a wolf, paying special attention to the thick, dense fur. Archer says painting the fur is “very difficult” and “time-consuming” because of the way it packs deep and peaks. But he wanted to challenge himself.

“Some of these artists, like [Robert] Bateman — Bateman can pull this kind of thing off,” he says. “I was painting a wolf right around the time that this had all happened, so it was almost like a sign to me.”

Thinking at first he could change the original painting to make it look like Takaya, he thought no “it’s a different wolf altogether” and started fresh. An old fire truck he was working on was removed from his driveway and there was the wall, a canvas for Takaya.

The mural took the artist – of over 30 years experience – about a day and a half using airbrush tools, which he calls his “forte.”

READ ALSO: Carving stonehenge out of Styrofoam

“The big satisfaction is to be able to climb down – in the case of a larger mural – from a 10-storey building, go three blocks and turn around and then make your notes,” he says.

Archer says he would love to be able to do a larger-scale mural in Victoria.

A mural Paul Archer painted outside The Wooden Spoon Bistro in Grand Forks in 2018. (Jensen Edwards/Grand Forks Gazette)

“For about 20 years I’ve been trying to see if I can get to do something big in Victoria – all my work is in Vancouver and all over B.C. – but Victoria’s a hard one to get to say yes to me doing something big,” he says, adding he’d probably even do it for free if a blank wall and scissor lift were provided.

His murals, such as one in Grand Forks of a child licking a spoon, are emotional pieces aimed at drawing out nostalgia in viewers.

“I came in and did one mural, the next thing you know I had line ups of people and they’re coming up to me, giving me hugs, they’re weeping on my shoulder, saying thank you, thank you for this,” he says, of painting the mural about a year after the 2018 floods that saw more than 2,800 people displaced from their homes.

“That’s what really opened my eyes for starting to do some real inspirational stuff.”



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Art

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Johnathan Lee Robichaud pleaded guilty to eight charges including sex-related offences against children and accessing, possessing and making or publishing child pornography. (Courtesy of Saanich Police)
Sentencing date moved for Saanich nanny guilty of child porn charges

Johnathon Lee Robichaud pleaded guilty to eight sex offences against children

(Google Maps)
Sophisticated glass-removal crime returns to downtown Victoria

Several businesses on Fort Street targeted overnight, say police

Forty-two residential properties in Oak Bay were assessed the speculation and vacancy tax in 2019 for a total of $693,000. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
74 Oak Bay property owners paid $693,000 in spec tax

42 properties were assessed with the SVT in 2019

(Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich repeals, reschedules two public hearings for consideration of new information

Move to hold public hearings for second time ‘very rare,’ mayor says

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the press theatre at the B.C. legislature for an update on COVID-19, Jan. 7, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

Hospitalized and critical care cases decline, nine deaths

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government reinforces importance of anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Dr. Shannon Waters, the medical health officer for the Cowichan Valley Region, is reminding people to stay the course with COVID-19 measures. (File photo)
‘Stay the course’ with COVID measures, Island Health reminds

Limit social activity, wash hands, wear a mask, and isolate if you feel sick

Cowichan Tribes members line up at a drive-up clinic on Wednesday, Jan. 13 to receive the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the region. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
BCAFN condems racism against Cowichan Tribes after COVID-19 outbreak

“Any one of us could do everything right and still catch the virus”: Regional Chief Terry Teegee.

Most Read