Langley artist Mike Hunniford paints every day in McBurney Plaza – well, almost every day.
“You’re kinda confined indoors with the snow,” he admitted. “I can still paint inside at the McBurney coffee shop.”
While he was brush stroking during a far milder stretch of weather, Hunniford happened to strike up a conversation with Langley City Mayor Val Van den Broek and vowed to create an original painting for her.
After five weeks of work, the artist made good on his promise and delivered a canvass to the Timms Community Centre.
“It was interesting. The mayor was very overwhelmed with it and said she was going to hang it in her office,” Hunniford explained.
He described the work as whimsical, cartoony, and happy – made with bright colours that he said is meant to cheer her up.
“I imagine her job is really tough,” Hunniford explained. “There’s a need for something at this time of the year with all the snow and darkness. I’ve been in recovery for 10 years now and it can be a tough time. I paint in an uplifting way to get through the darkness and lift us all up.”
Covered in smiling faces and original characters, the sun character painted in the middle of the work is meant to represent van den Broek herself.
“It has their tongue hanging out and acting a little kooky,” Hunniford said.
The artist said he was nervous when he came to drop the painting off, but Mayor van den Broek happened to be walking by and read the inscription on the back, which reads “To Val, I hope it makes you smile.”
“I love it,” Mayor Van den Broek said. “I’ve known Mike for many years and he’s always been so friendly and nice. I love everything – the bright colours. It means a lot and will be going up on the wall right behind my desk.”
She remarked how original Hunniford’s style is, something the artist was quick to point out himself.
“My work is nothing you can buy at a Walmart, that’s for sure,” he explained.
Hunniford said another painting was gifted to former Langley Mayor Ted Schaffer several years ago, and now sits in the Timms Centre lunchroom.
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