Peter Doré puts the finishing touches to the mural he has painted on the dumpster enclosure at the People Place in Vernon. (Photo: Scott Pisiak)

Vernon artist brightens up the landscape

Peter Doré has livened up the People Place in Vernon with a woodland mural

For the Morning Star

Woodland creatures perch in trees, a swan floats down a gentle stream, and colourful coral pokes out of a turquoise sea. These are just a few of the bucolic scenes brightening up an otherwise drab space, thanks to artist Peter Doré.

“I just go with it, and I try to keep it like nature itself: things aren’t posing for humans, each tree is just doing its own thing, being a tree,” said Doré. “And the same thing with the islands, I don’t plan where the islands are going to go, and I didn’t even know I could paint a coral reef.”

Doré spent weeks painting the concrete enclosure around the dumpster at the People Place, as a way of brightening up the space while at the same time providing a deterrent to vandalization from graffiti.

People Place manager Elaine Collison contacted the artist after seeing some of the art work he had created for the Upper Room Mission.

“We were looking for some ideas to solve or at least lessen the problems we were experiencing with tagging at the People Place, and in particular on our dumpster enclosure,” said Collison. “His work is impressive and he agreed to do a painting on the outside areas of this enclosure.”

READ MORE: Vernon-based Sqilxw artist explains the 800 hours behind renowned exhibit

READ MORE: American singer puts her roots down in Kelowna

Doré, 30, grew up in Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, Quebec, a small town in the Laurentians. Always interested in art, he left his home town to move to Montréal to further his studies at college.

“Montréal is amazing, but it wasn’t what I wanted — it wasn’t really art, it was a lot of conformity,” he said.

Doré then began something of a nomad’s life, travelling in his van across Canada. He has made his home in Vernon for more than a year and finds living in his van gives him both freedom and independence.

“I like the open-mindedness of B.C. — it was kind of progressive at the time, but now it’s kind of gone backwards,” said the artist, who has made many friends among Vernon’s street community. “People can tell I’m not involved in drugs and homelessness. I’m not doing anything bad, but I have a mistrust of society, so this is what I need, to live in my van. My van is my sanctuary and without it, I’d be on the streets.

“I like the sense of community in Vernon — there are people constantly helping you out, even amongst the homeless themselves, everyone is watching out for each other; it’s kind of like a family.”

Doré receives no social assistance and, while friends have encouraged him to go on welfare, he prefers to work.

“I’ve got no other choice but to work, and it keeps me focused. The mission gives me three meals a day, I need a bit of gas money, and I smoke a bit of weed at night for medication,” he said.

It was at the URM that Doré started to make a name for himself, with a large-scale drawing he did featuring downtown Vernon that included well-known landmarks such as the Vernon Towne Cinema, along with 150 individuals — all real people — from business owners to Doré’s friends among the street population.

For Doré, his mural at the People Place has been something of a departure from his usual style, but one that he welcomed with enthusiasm.

“I never do colour or landscapes, so this is completely new and I just threw myself into it,” he said. “I had lots of people watching me work, all the people who hang out there, and I gained a lot of respect and they told me, ‘you’re an inspiration,’ and it really feels like I’m showing them the way, by just focusing on your passion and by going one step at a time.”


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Okanagan rinks have mixed results as BC Seniors Curling finals begin

A total of 15 rinks are competing in Vernon for right to go to nationals in Manitoba

Vernon Chamber says 2020 budget lacklustre for small buisnesses

‘There was absolutely nothing meaningful in the budget for entrepreneurs,’ Chamber GM

Vernon paying more at pumps than Central Okanagan

Central Okanagan pump prices fall, North Okanagan lags behind

Dust advisory in effect for Vernon

Keep strenuous exercise away from busy streets, intersections

Vernon reporter’s roots linked to Montreal school fire that killed 17

Vernon and District Family History Society runs open house during Heritage Week

VIDEO: 7 things you need to know about the 2020 B.C. budget

Surplus of $227 million with big spending on infrastructure and capital projects

Trees Cannabis director fined $1.5M for selling marijuana

Fine follows provincial crackdown on popular dispensary

World Cup skier from Okanagan dies suddenly at 19

Kuroda, who made his World Cup debut earlier this year, passed away suddenly Monday night.

Coastal GasLink pipeline investor committed to closing deal despite protests

Developer TC Energy Corp. — formerly TransCanada Corp. — is to remain the operator of the $6.6-billion pipeline

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

What’s in a name? The story of Revelstoke’s Mt. Begbie

It’s likely the iconic peak had several Indigenous peoples’ names before settlers arrived

Budget 2020: B.C. Liberals blast ‘Netflix tax,’ lack of economic plan

ICBC rates still go up, except in election year, Shirley Bond says

Teen snowmobiler from Kelowna found after air force’s overnight search

The teen had been missing since just after 6 p.m. on Monday

Town of Osoyoos voices support for proposed casino

Osoyoos council voted to submit a letter of support for a proposed casino on OIB land

Most Read