Even if you’ve never heard of “Ukee’s Artist,” if you’ve ever been to Ucluelet, you’ve seen her work.
Her murals adorn buildings across town, helping the village come to life with a character vibrancy that shines from all of Marla Thirsk’s artwork.
“My town is a subject of an ongoing series, and I have many murals around the businesses. There are also banners with my art along the roads.
I have illustrated books, created many award-winning posters and continue to be a part of the Arts out here as often and as much as I can. I am so very lucky to live my passion,” she wrote.
Marla has given so much to the island’s art scene for over 40 years. She’s been president of the Pacific Rim Arts Society six times, has spearheaded countless art events, and has her paintings hung on walls across the world.
But now, just after her 70th birthday, Marla’s finally gotten her first-ever solo show.
“I’ve done lots and lots of shows,” she told The Westerly. “But they’ve always been with somebody or in a group setting… So, this is the first time I’ve actually seen all my paintings around me like this.”
Her show “The Artist’s Eye” is currently displayed at The Orange Door Galler.
Featuring a whole range of pieces that she’s done over the past 40 years, the show is an eclectic mix of styles and mediums that delight the eye and still reflect her unique style.
“I am fearless in my approach to my Art,” she wrote. “I will not be pigeonholed, yet I have a distinctive style. I am influenced by the wildness and exceptional beauty of this area and I adore the place I live.”
Her hometown adores her right back. Hundreds of supporters showed up on the opening first day, which meant everything to the local artist.
While she’s gotten plenty of recognition elsewhere and could have run a solo show in many other places, there was nowhere else she could have imagined her first show being.
“This means way more to me because this is my home. These are the people I love. These are the strongest supporters for me throughout all this time.”
‘The Artist’s Eye continues until June 24 from 10 am – 3 pm in The Orange Door Gallery.