Dan Sawatzky first painted a mural in Chemainus as a visiting artist in 1983. Little did the family know they would fall in love with Chemainus, where they lived and worked for the next 18 years.
Born in Vancouver and raised in Castlegar, Sawatzky has experienced much of what BC has to offer. His travels have accorded him a sense of locale which he has translated into art. His main objective is accurately depicting the humble qualities of everyday objects that are so much a part of our heritage. Largely self-taught, Sawatzky’s repertoire includes works in pen and ink and egg tempera. Murals became so much a part of Sawatzky’s life that he was one of a handful of artists in North America who made a living as a full-time mural painter. He works at a fever pace, and attacks any project with energy akin to a white tornado. In 1991, he painted 14 murals in North America and Japan.
As his skill level and style evolve, Sawatzky’s paintings grow more evocative, using more colour and light, rather than intricate detail, to suggest mood and locale. He uses more colours and bolder line work to tell the historical stories pictorially.
The family business, “Sawatzky’s Imagination Corporation” continues to prosper.
ASSISTANT – Peter Sawatzky
PETER SAWATSKY – #27 As the youngest mural artist to participate in bringing the history of Chemainus to life, Peter Sawatzky was just 15 when he assisted on his first mural in 1991. He has shown a keen interest in many media, especially painting and sculpture. Because of his special talents and dedication to art, Sawatzky helped to create for himself a unique course of studies in three-dimensional design for his last two years of high school.
Sawatzky looked forward to making art a career, and was well on his way towards doing so. He assisted his father on mural projects all over Canada and the United States, and travelled to Europe and Japan to study and appreciate art and culture. Peter still works with his father, Dan, today.