Vivid, floral murals are popping up all over Ottawa. Local artist Emilie Darlington is responsible for these gentle, breathtaking, nature-themed pieces.
Darlington’s discovery of murals occurred during her Fine Arts education: “While in school, my canvases became increasingly large, and soon after graduating I discovered my interest in murals and public art. I’ve been hooked ever since!”
In 2016, with degree in hand and a painting specialization, Darlington’s love of murals was confirmed. Since 2020, she’s been working as a full-time freelance artist, balancing client commissions with personal projects.
A fondness for the outdoors and an affection for brilliant colours are front-and-centre in Darlington’s work. Likewise, she has a desire for Ottawa to not only enjoy what they see, but to also be active participants.
“I specialize in artwork that expresses and inspires connections with nature, and often incorporate games of I Spy with local flora and fauna in my murals. The use of regional plants and wildlife serves a dual purpose: to stir a sense of warmth and familiarity in locals, and to encourage exploration and wonder in tourists or visitors. I love making interactive art!”
With her art adorning a new mixed-use building in Beechwood, the interior of the Rideau Centre, highjinx’s backyard, and spaces in the Glebe, Darlington is remodelling Ottawa’s landscape: “Most often working with crisp lines, vibrant colours, and a mix of big and small details. I aim to create artwork that is equally impactful when viewed from a distance or when close enough to touch. I use intriguing palettes and small details to encourage viewers to take a moment to slow down, breathe, explore, and leave feeling peaceful and inspired.”
Darlington’s work demonstrates a deep passion, also evident when she talks about what she does. “A few things I love about my work are the freedom of creativity, travelling to new places, and turning an ugly or forgotten space into an attractive and exciting place to visit. It’s also quite rewarding to meet locals who often share stories and express excitement or gratitude.”
Immense potential exists in our city to brighten the lives of our citizens and light up our spaces. Darlington explains: “I think it’s important for people of all ages to make time for moments of fun each day, and public art is a really wonderful way to bring unexpected moments of play into all sorts of spaces. Our city has a lot of great walls just begging for colour! ”
As summer winds down, Darlington’s work shifts from outdoor surfaces to bringing new life to the 613’s many interiors, including a colourful collection of indoor murals and studio work. “I’m currently in the early stages of a new painting series featuring very detailed bouquets and vibrant flowers. It will be released in early winter 2023.”
Art re-centres us because it makes us pause and think about our surroundings, reminding us of the many beautiful things in our city. Darlington reconnects us with Ottawa and simultaneously enhances our outside places and interior spaces with her captivating, enchanting, and thought-provoking murals.
Subscribe to Emilie Darlington’s newsletter or follow @ArtworkByEmilie on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Patreon.