Dwayne Davis was commissioned by Williams Lake Rotary to paint the lakecity’s latest mural. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Dwayne Davis was commissioned by Williams Lake Rotary to paint the lakecity’s latest mural. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Hometown: Williams Lake’s artful asset

Dwayne Davis has painted many of the city’s murals over the years

Art is life for Williams Lake resident Dwayne Davis.

“One of my earliest memories is drawing and painting,” said the artist, who is best known for his dozens of murals that grace buildings around the lakecity.

“Some people dance, some people sing, I paint. It’s my creative outlet, my way of saying something to the world.”

Davis moved to Williams Lake with his parents Ed and Sharon Davis when he was in Grade2. An only child, Davis jokes that he’s made up for that small family by being father to two sons, two daughters and a step-son.

“My legacy will live on,” he laughed, noting his youngest son Destin worked with him on his latest mural, which is a Rotary-themed mural commissioned by the local club the mural which Davis designed.

The mural depicts the universal Rotary symbol on the left side with colourful human figures representing members. One of the figures is reaching out toward a larger group of people, painted in many different colours, that are pouring out of the Earth meant to show the world’s whole population and that Rotary helps the world. Work on the project was just wrapping up on Saturday.

For Davis, art has played a significant role in his life for as long as he can remember. He counts Williams Lake high school art teacher Dave Abbott as one of his most influential mentors.

“He was a big inspiration,” Davis said of Abbott.

“He just let me come and play in his art room. Whenever I wanted I could go in there.”

Davis graduated from high school in 1983 and set his sights on art school in Kelowna, where he arrived well-prepared thanks to time spent critiquing art with Abbott.

“By the time I went to art school I had already covered everything in high school.”

Davis received a diploma in fine arts following two intense years of study in his class, which started with 30 students and ended with just eight.

“I would have to sleep in the art class I was there so much. It was hard. It was a lot harder than people thought.”

Since graduating, Davis has done everything from murals, to commissioned work to painting houses and admits being an artist hasn’t always been a lucrative career.

“If you’re an actual artist, you’ve been a starving artist (at some point).”

That being said, Davis can’t see himself doing anything else.

“Honestly, it’s like zen for me,” Davis said of painting. “If you want to hear me swear, give me a wrench.”

While Davis enjoys being acknowledged for his mural art, he is quick to point out that as an artist he’s not alone in Williams Lake.

“I’m far from the only one here,” Davis said, encouraging the public to take in the upcoming Downtown Williams Lake Art Walk next month.

“We have some amazing artists. I love to be part of that community. No matter what … we’re all an art family. I’m very proud to be an artist from the Cariboo.”

Davis has had the opportunity to move to larger, and some would say, more glamorous centres, with his artwork, however, he loves his hometown.

“I would really miss here, I would really miss Williams Lake. If I can eek out a living I’m happy.”

In his spare time Davis enjoys being with his grown children including Destin and Steven who have both painted with their dad, daughters Felicia and Danica and step-son Garnet.

A fun fact people may not know about Davis is he is also a “crazy rock hound” in his free time.

“It’s a thing anyone can collect,” Davis said, noting he particularly likes searching for agates and also fossils.

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