Local artist leaves lasting mark at Communitech Hub

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    Local artist leaves lasting mark at Communitech Hub

    KITCHENER – The Communitech Hub welcomed a couple of sharks to its building on Friday for a permanent stay.

    Not real sharks but a visual rendering of large teal, orange and navy blue creatures swimming merrily along the rounded wall of the Hub’s biggest meeting room.

    Artist Chris Austin, a Kitchener native, painted the new addition to the walls of Kitchener’s tech hub.

    He stood on a step ladder with a mask on and can of spray paint in hand filling in a bright teal shark’s belly with long, smooth and steady strokes.

    Austin started painting at 15 and practised on his friend’s garage doors and barn walls. “I was afraid to do it on the street,” he said with a laugh.

    “It’s not easy to spray paint,” he added. “It takes a lot of practice to be steady.”

    He’s been painting murals in downtown Kitchener’s alleyways and office spaces for nine years and he’s known as the “bear guy” or the “shark guy.”

    He paints these two menacing but fascinating creatures often whether it is on reclaimed surfaces like wood or a mural on an exterior wall.

    “I’m afraid to death of bears and sharks,” Austin said. That is why he chooses to paint them. “It helps me get over my fear of them.”

    Austin’s trademark grizzly bears can be found on Ontario Street and behind Artisan Zone in downtown Kitchener.

    “Lots of artists paint things that make them happy,” he said. “But I like things that are darker and edgier but also fun at the same time.”

    So the ominous sharks will be painted as if they are inside a fishbowl…

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