By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large
WELLAND – Be on the lookout for the fox on Woodlawn Road, not far from First Avenue.
It adorns a mural by artist Dan Kozina, one of the Welland Bell box murals bringing grace and imagination to Welland through vibrant imagery and enticing colour.
Kozina, 29, started on his mural Monday. He was back on the scene this morning and worked into the afternoon. He expects to be back again Wednesday in the early evening.
Now a Thorold resident, he attended St. Paul High School in Niagara Falls and then Humber College in Toronto for its two-year program in visual arts and digital media. He works at the Dawg Pound Tattoo Studio in Niagara Falls.
Kozina says he is partial to painting animals. A previous project ties him to Welland in a creative way: he painted the sheep on a mural outside Niagara Street’s Black Sheep Lounge and Coffee Roasters.
He chose a fox for the Bell box initiative because foxes are becoming more common in urban areas, which he sees as a symbol of their adaptability. He says artists also must be adaptable to changing conditions in order to stay relevant.
Kozina says he has animal-themed art in Niagara Falls, Beamsville and St. Catharines.
“So this is cool to again be in Welland.”
He chose roses to tie the mural to Welland, Canada’s Rose City.
Bright colours were picked because this portion of Woodlawn Road has “little going on” and he thought “it might be cool, in a nice way,” to brighten it up. Also, there are children in the neighbourhood and he thought the lively colours would be appealing to them.
Kozina says projects like this are valuable because they can be transformative to communities not just by heightening awareness of local art talent but by encouraging others to become involved and display what they can do.
“Anything that gets people to show their skills is a good thing.”
The mural attracts attention of passersby.
Some drivers honk their car horns and offer encouragement as they drive past.
“Everyone’s been supportive. Some people like to comment as they walk by and that’s okay. It keeps me going,” Kozina says.