If you've been to Caps Off Brewing or From the Vines lately, you may have noticed something a little different between the two spaces... A new mural by Wendell Graves titled "Amusements" was recently installed, and it couldn't be a better fit for the location! Through this process, we learned that Wendell's father worked out of this very building when it was still Moore Tire Ltd. Read on to learn more about the mural and how it connects to our unique heritage!
1. Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Honestly, I really wouldn’t place myself in the category of an artist. I admire the gift of artistry found in others. Having said that, when I do contemplate a visual piece, I like to work on something that I can connect with and that I know will provide some meaning to others. Something that will remind them of a place or experience.
“Amusements” is an art installation celebrating the fairs and festivals throughout the history of St. Thomas. Tattooed in a bingo card, this elephant depicts the Lockes Fair, the Iron Horse Festival and the St. Anne’s Fair.
2. What technique do you enjoy the most?
“Amusements” was completed on a material known as “dibond” which is essentially light weight aluminium sheeting. For this piece I incorporated some autobody techniques to bring out some of the elements of the art in relief.
3. What are your thoughts on the Jumbo story?
I remember as a kid the parade on the day when “Jumbo” arrived in the City to take his place at the west end of Talbot Street. Growing up on Woodworth Ave I am also reminded that it was near the rail crossing at Woodworth Ave that Jumbo’s fate was cast.
Elgin County Archives photo of the Moore Tire building
4. How does your art connect with the space?
When I was informed of the location where my mural would be placed, I was tremendously honoured. Unknown to those who selected the site, the Caps Off Brewery site was for decades home to Moore Tire Ltd. My dad was a long term employee at Moore Tire. As a kid, my brothers and I spent time there on Saturdays assisting in moving tires and mag wheels around the shop. Because of this, I decided to paint my mom and dad, Lucy and Cec, as teenagers, into the piece riding in “The Scrambler”. I am delighted to have this art piece on this building.
Wendell truly has a knack for capturing the historical essence of St. Thomas and area. All his paintings bring forth a feeling of nostalgia and remind us of what makes our region unique and special.
The ‘Track to the Future’ mural project is coordinated by Railway City Tourism in collaboration with Andrew Gunn Consulting and young & free press with generous financial support from the Estate of Donna Vera Evans Bushell.