Artist, illustrator and magician Darren Emond has started work on a massive mural on the west wall of Outspoken Brewing at 350 Queen Street East as part of the ongoing community mural project downtown.
Judging by an early artist rendering of the finished product, Emond will be dealing the public a hot take - the mural will feature dragons descending upon Sault Ste. Marie, setting the entire city ablaze and laying to waste some notable city landmarks.
Emond says the idea for dragons burning down the city came up in conversation with Outspoken Brewing owner/operator Graham Atkinson prior to the community mural project, which is the result of a partnership between Future SSM and the Downtown Association.
“The shoe fit,” Emond told SooToday Sunday, while taking a break from his contribution to the mural project. “It was actually really cool, because I got a lot of creative freedom - like, beyond just a dragon burning the city.”
“I got that assignment, I went back to the studio - hit the ground running, came up with a design.”
Emond, who once illustrated a comic for Iron Maiden at the band’s request, says that murals have never posed a challenge for him.
Until now, that is.
“I’ve never painted a mural on a pebbled surface before, and it’s taking a lot longer than I had anticipated, because I’m not painting on it - I’m just kind of stabbing the wall with a brush, trying to the paint to go in all the nooks and crannies,” he said. “So that’s been a challenge.”
“I’ve never missed a deadline, and I’ll go into a project preparing for the worst case scenario.”
But Emond says the pebbled surface of the wall does make for some neat effects.
“If I take a brush and I just skirt over the surface, it leaves a really nice kind of gradated pattern, which I’m using for different shading effects,” he said. “Just work with what I have, you know? Improvise.”
Emond credits Future SSM and the Downtown Association for their work in trying to beautify downtown Sault Ste. Marie, and hopes the public will rally around and embrace the work that’s being done this summer.
“Hopefully it will lift their spirits,” said Emond. “I think people need culture like people need oxygen, to some extent.”
Emond’s mural - along with another mural at Soo Blaster that’s being done by local artists Rihkee Strapp and Mishiikenh Kwe - are scheduled to be unveiled to the public June 19.