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Dave Petko selected for Pemberton’s Outside Voices Mural Project

Whistler artist’s large-scale mural at Pemberton Health Care Centre will be unveiled next month
E-Arts1 Petko 29.01 SUBMITTED
Dave Petko hard at work on a piece for his solo exhibit, Starry Nights, which ran at the Maury Young Arts Centre earlier this year.

The hits just keep coming for Dave Petko.

The long-time Whistler artist and tattooist can add another feather to his cap after judges selected him as the very first artist for the Pemberton Arts Council’s Outside Voices Mural Project, capping a year-plus string of career achievements for the 52-year-old.

Petko’s large-scale mural will adorn a wall of the Pemberton Health Care Centre, the first in a series of annual murals planned for the community.

“Dave’s design truly reflects the essence of Pemberton. I can’t wait to see his bold and colourful design in large scale as a mural at the Pemberton Health Care Centre,” said Pemberton Arts Council executive director Anna Lynch in a release this week.

The former Pembertononian’s eclectic style has evolved immensely over the last decade or so. His art can veer from abstract expressionism to pop art with a surrealist tinge, all the way to the bold and brightly coloured landscapes he has gravitated to in more recent years.

For his latest design, Petko drew on his time living in the Spud Valley.

"As a former Pemberton resident, I was inspired by my favourite memories of the village. I love to eat and grow some of my own food. I also mountain bike and snowboard and enjoy playing in the mountains. To me, Pemberton has every colour in the rainbow and I wanted the mural to incorporate all of these elements in some small and unique way,” Petko said in the release. “I have a blast painting large scale and really love making public art and talking to people of the community. What better way to brighten up the town than by leaving a beautiful colourful mural for locals and visitors alike?”

It’s been a banner year or so for Petko. Along with the continued success of his Function Junction tattoo shop, Black Ohm, he landed a mural from the Resort Municipality of Whistler last summer at Olympic Plaza, was named the Champion of the Arts at the 2021 Whistler Excellence Awards, and launched his first solo exhibit in 20 years, Starry Nights, at the Maury Young Arts Centre earlier this year.

His latest mural is part of a public art initiative aimed at bringing “the streets of downtown Pemberton to life with awe-inspiring murals that reflect the heart and soul of the community,” the arts council went on in the release. The designs are meant to revitalize underused walls and transform how the public experiences the local arts scene.

“The past two years have been challenging on health-care workers and our community members alike. We are so grateful for all of the support we have been shown by the Pemberton community during the pandemic and beyond,” said Lona Cunningham, director for Coastal Community of Care at Vancouver Coastal Health. “We’re delighted that the Pemberton Health Centre will be the home of the first mural from this wonderful initiative and excited to see Dave Petko’s mural design come to life. This artistic expression of community spirit and support will serve as an uplifting reminder for patients and health-care workers for many years to come.”

Petko will be completing the mural at the Pemberton Health Care Centre in the last week of June, with the mural planned to be officially unveiled next month.