A Windsor, Ontario-based graffiti artist whose work has featured prominently in streetscapes in some of the world’s most fascinating cities, is tackling his most ambitious project to date – an 80-foot-tall mural atop a former railroad bridge in St. Thomas.
Daniel Bombardier, also known as Denial, is no stranger to creating public art in cities with rich industrial histories.
“It’s ripe for picking,” he said of cities like St. Thomas that have a post-industrial landscape. “You find a lot of these blank canvases in these areas.”
As a city that has seen two industrial booms come and go (first the railroad, then the automobile), St. Thomas has a lot going for when it comes to canvas. That’s why Bombardier is one of a dozen artists commissioned by the city for the ongoing “Track the Future” mural project, which he hopes will add “depth and beauty” to uplift the community.
“People realize how powerful it is because that’s the energy of young people and creativity, it’s very, very powerful. To be able to do that and be able to make a living from it is a beautiful marriage in my opinion.”
The message behind the mural
The Bombarider mural will be part of St. Thomas Elevated Park. Now part of the Trans Canada Trail, the park was once the Western Michigan Central Railroad Kettle Creek Bridge, which has soared like a Goliath nearly 100 feet over the west edge of town since 1929.
One of his most prominent pillars has become Bombardier’s canvas – the largest he has ever worked with. So far he has used 30 gallons of paint to prime the work and add background color and expects to use 300 cans of spray paint to complete the mural.
“I have about 100 left,” he said, adding that an additional five gallons of a special clear coat is needed to weatherproof the mural so it will last another 25 years.
“It should be here for 25 to 50 years and we can always come back and fix it too.”