As Paul Archer looks up at his latest mural, it glares back at him.
The Victoria Airbrush artist, known professionally as “Archer,” has taken his love of a fictional family to new heights with a 16-foot tall mural of Wednesday Addams, shiny eyes and all, on the back of a building in the downtown to paint.
The feat, which was completed on Jan. 13 with permission from the local Chamber of Commerce, was a creative way to remove graffiti that had spread to the parking lot at 850 Broughton St., according to Archer. look, to hide.
“Usually I just go out and repaint gray because I try to keep that area pretty clean. It’s right behind my shop. So instead of painting the gray back, I decided to do Wednesday because it was Friday the 13th, and I thought that would be appropriate,” he told CHEK News.
BC’s rainy winter season isn’t ideal for artists working outside, but the precipitation actually improved the final product for Archer this time around.
“When I started it, it started raining on me, so it created a texture in the face that was kind of different,” he said. “I finished it the next day and it took me about a full day in total.”
Wednesday, known for her morbid personality, pale skin and pigtails, is a character who appeared in the 1964 sitcom The Addams Familythe blockbuster films The Addams Family and Addams Family Valuesboth released in the 90s, and, most recently, the Netflix series Wednesdaywhich opened in November 2022 and stars Jenna Ortega in the title role.
Archer, who calls himself an “airbrush extraordinaire,” decided to take a picture of Ortega in character and, with a whole lot of paint, his already extensive mural portfolio which started more than 40 years ago.
“I do murals all over BC, and I get a fire burning inside once I find something I really want to do. Then I look at a wall,” he said.
“Usually at this time of year I only paint canvases or interior work, or interior murals. But my true passion is doing the great outdoors. I’ve done 18-story buildings, and I’m full of stuff in the Kootenays and the Okanagan most of this year. I have done more than 100 murals over the past few years.”
In Victoria, passers-by may recognize another of Archer’s pieces on the side of a building at the corner of Burnside Road and Wascana Street, where a mural of a girl with a sunflower stands about two stories high.
“It’s massive,” he exclaimed. “Now people actually plant sunflowers and a garden in front of it. As it grows, it works with the mural, and it brings the community together. It’s really cool.”
And the artist is no stranger to the spotlight, especially last fall when one of his mainland murals of a famous monarch went viral and was featured “on multiple news stations,” Archer recalls.
“I did Queen Elizabeth II the day she passed away when I was in Grand Forks,” he said. “I saw that the side of the courthouse had graffiti tags all over it, so I went into the town hall and said, ‘I want to paint the queen on the courthouse. Call me at this number if you’re interested.’ Ten minutes later I got the call.”
On his career and previous projects, Archer reflects that he has quite a few memorable ones and over the years has developed a passion for large-scale pieces that impress not only the public but himself.
“When you finish, walk off the swing stage and walk back about three blocks and look at it, I can’t describe that feeling inside,” he said. “It’s just a sense of accomplishment.”
As for his latest mural of Ortega, Archer says he hasn’t actually watched her new show, even though it’s an Addams Family with the famous theme song “the ringtone on my phone,” he added with a laugh.
(Photos courtesy: Paul Archer/archermuralartist.com)
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