A postcard from Petrolia for all to see

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If you’re walking down Petrolia Line near King Street, you’ll notice some fresh colour in the downtown.

Toronto artist Blaze Wiradharma is creating the first of three downtown murals. It’s part of a downtown revitalization project the Town of Petrolia took part in with the Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership.

Wiradharma – who works under the name Blazeworks – was recommended to the town. He’s been spraypainting murals in small towns across Ontario. The town gave Wiradharma some ideas about what historic places and figures could be used in the old postcard style mural. Included is The Little Red Bank, the cenotaph, a pumpjack, JH Fairbank, Victoria Hall, Charlotte Eleanor Englehart Hospital, the original water tower and the train station turned library.

That required some research.

“I’ve never heard of this particular town before but I grew up in a small town,” he says. “I actually have a really strong place in my heart for small towns.”

Wiradharma grew up in Collingwood but moved to Toronto to develop his artistic side. Along the way, he provided a few unsolicited murals, he admits. Lately, he’s been travelling to small town Ontario to create these postcard style murals.

“It’s kind of gone full circle, I’m coming back to different small towns…There’s so much like really cool history in Ontario that is featured in a small town. It’s a great way to learn about it. It makes you actually really proud to be from Ontario. It’s just like really cool stuff that’s all happened all over the place that no one really knows about. So this has allowed me to really kind of dig deeper into my Canadian Heritage and learn about that.”

Wiradharma’s mural is taking shape on the side of the Red Apple.

Another will be painted on the side of Leisure Lane. It will be created by Chatham Artist Sarah Steele.

The third mural will be on the south wall of the Petrolia Home Hardware facing Petrolia line. Sarah Robbins of Windsor will craft that mural.

Two of the three murals were paid for with the revitalization grant. The third will be sponsored by the Petrolia Business Association.

LCCVI students walk by Toronto artist Blaze Wiradharma’s mural on King Street. It’s one of three to be painted this spring as part of a downtown revitalization project.
Toronto artist Blaze Wiradharma begins adding colour to his mural. He estimates it will take a week to complete.
Blaze Wiradharma tools of the trade
Blaze Wiradharma has dozens of shades of spraypaint to complete his mural
Toronto artist Blaze Wiradharma first creates a concept on a computer, then projects the design onto the walk in the dark to sketch out the outline saving himself time outdoors.
Toronto artist Blaze Wiradharma