Kamloops graffiti artist beautifying the city one dumpster at a time

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Nate Doucet is a graffiti artist in Kamloops pictured selling some of his acrylic paintings in the downtown core.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Nate Doucet

Anyone who has rolled through Kamloops has no doubt seen the bright artwork of local graffiti artist Nate Doucet.

His handiwork is on walls and dumpsters that would otherwise be covered in crude tags and scribbles, adding pops of colour along the streets. He is currently completing a contract with the City of Kamloops.

“I’ve been doing the garbage bins around town for ten years and have a pretty good amount of them painted so far,” he said. “Dumpsters selected to get murals on them are heavily tagged up and sometimes worse for wear, if they’re too trashed, they’ll get swapped out for new ones.”

Painting a mural on a dumpster is more difficult than what it may look like, the bins are three-dimensional objects with lots of bumps and ridges. Most of the bins Doucet has painted have his own original designs on them he sketches out on paper beforehand.

This bin in Kamloops was painted by artist Nate Doucet with the help of two other painters.

This bin in Kamloops was painted by artist Nate Doucet with the help of two other painters.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Nate Doucet

“I can’t just put painting tape on it and have it work out perfectly, I have to work around the three dimensionality of it, you have to have the lines match.”

Doucet’s career as a graffiti artist began in his early 20s when he was looking for a positive escape from a troubled life.

“I’d classify myself as an at-risk youth just hovering above the poverty line and having a tough go of life,” he said. “Art was a therapeutic way of expressing myself and keeping myself busy and healthy. Graffiti art was a way to stay focussed in a positive direction and it opened up a lot of doors for me.”

He’s put on workshops at the Kamloops Art Gallery in the past and currently runs some through the Kamloops Art Council, where he mentors youth and explains the difference between graffiti and graffiti art.

“The word graffiti is controversial, there is a big difference between crude scribblings and cool artwork,” he said. “When I’m working with youth, I try not to lean on the word graffiti, or I say graffiti art. I try to mitigate the risk of unwanted graffiti.”

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This bright bin in Kamloops was painted under lead graffiti artist Nate Doucet.

This bright bin in Kamloops was painted under lead graffiti artist Nate Doucet.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Nate Doucet

One of his murals can be seen on the city’s North Shore and he is working on another one with the students at Twin Rivers Education Centre.

“We’re painting on plywood boards outside the art teacher’s window,” Doucet said. “It’s a picture of an open book with Indigenous themes, we’re getting help and advice from an elder.”

He gets a lot of positive encouragement from the public when he is out painting garbage bins. He works alongside another artist and two other painters learning the trade. Some people offer him private work to paint their sheds.

“We’re out there with high visibility vests and road cones so we have a lot of visibility, we get lots of honks and smiles,” he said. “I have a handmade business card I hand out when people are interested.”

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He’s hoping the community will help support more painting materials to continue his work beautifying fixtures and bins that are not city-owned.

“A few people have reached out and want their own bins painted, but I’ll need a little bit of community help getting the painting supplies.”

Go here to make a donation toward painting supplies for Nate Doucet.

Go here to contact Doucet and view more of his artwork.


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