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Ladysmith floral artist takes on skatepark challenge

McNeil, along with his wife Jennifer and son Shae, are some of the locals volunteering to upgrade Ladysmith’s skatepark

Painting florals is probably not what people think of first when meeting a professional artist from New Brunswick, but for renowned artist and now Ladysmith resident Tylor McNeil, it has been his passion and his living.

McNeil, along with his wife Jennifer and son Shae, are some of the locals volunteering to upgrade Ladysmith’s skatepark and he’s going to be the guide for the volunteers when it comes to the art that will be painted there.

McNeil, his wife and young son have been residents of Ladysmith since July 1, 2022. Their story could be the basis for a romance novel.

“I’m originally from the east coast of Canada," McNeil said. "Jennifer and I met in New Brunswick while she was on a girls’ trip, staying at a B&B that my mom was running. I was home from university (art school) and helped her with her bags, and we hit it off. A few weeks later, I flew to Nanaimo to be with her. We later moved back to the east coast but always knew there was something special about Ladysmith. Whether it was the vibrant community, supportive art council, or a great place to raise a child, we just knew we had to be here.”

McNeil has been painting as a professional artist since 2017. His specialty is florals. 

“I always loved creating," he said of how painting came to be his job. "When I was a child, I loved Lego and the mechanics of how things moved. I wasn’t gifted in school; I could barely read or do math and was held back in fourth grade. I wasn’t any better at art than any of the other students, but I had great encouragement from my teachers to continue to create. I felt like I just had to create, and I had no choice in the matter, this was what I was going to do, so I better make it work.”

“I honestly feel like I fell into painting florals," he said. "I did my first floral for a show I did back in 2017 called 'Deer and Doves'. The show was about the loss of my father when I was 19 years old. Each body of work [show] has a personal story behind it. Sometimes I share the story with the viewer, and sometimes I let the viewer decide. People loved the floral piece, and I really enjoyed making it. This led me down a rabbit hole of learning about nature and horticulture, and growing our own flowers alongside my wife. Now, I absolutely love learning about and painting flowers.”'

When actively pursuing his profession McNeil works strictly in oil paints. McNeil will be having a show in Ladysmith starting on Aug. 22 and running until Oct. 1 at the Ladysmith Gallery located in the Temperance Hotel, on the corner of First Avenue and High Street.

McNeil said making a living as an artist is hard work.

“But with each passing year, the more you learn, the easier some things get," he said. "However, there are still lots of challenges to overcome. It takes a lot of perseverance and luck to make a living with art. I consider myself very lucky to have the collectors that I do.”

McNeil said he has many regular customers.

“Otherwise I would be out of a job," he laughed. "Yep, I sell many of my works through galleries and commission works.”

At present he has many of his works showing at Butchart Gardens in Victoria. He also sends works to 14 Bells Fine ARt Gallery in Halifax, N.S., as well as local galleries and markets on Vancouver Island such as the TD Art Walk in Victoria.

McNeil's involvement in the skatepart project came by chance.

“Jesse Manners, skatepark collective president, and I met at our sons’ elementary school drop-offs back in 2022-2023 and got chatting. I told him I’m an artist, and he asked if we could collaborate," McNeil said. "I ended up doing a design, but at that time I was extra busy with my art and couldn’t continue. As the school year progressed, we met new parents and made new friends. Our children liked to gather at the Wednesday skate park days after school, and we parents enjoyed the chance to talk while the kids played. Our little group decided that we really needed to push for painting the skatepark. If we were going to continue to hang out there with our kids, it should be fun instead of a grey blob of concrete. Make it as vibrant as the people coming to the Wednesday skate park days. So that’s what we did.”

The skatepark group have got the blessing of the Ladysmith Public Arts commission.

“As the artist of the group, my goal is to focus on the community and to make it bright and colourful so it is inviting for all ages, with the hope of growing what Jesse and the skate park collective have already started with their consistent Wednesday skatepark days,” McNeil said. “I have taught children’s painting classes and adult painting lessons, but nothing like a skatepark. I’m glad to have help from my wife and friends in the community to pull this together.”

McNeil said he doesn't know how long the paint job will hold up.

"But I took the advice of my mural artist friends and the local painting suppliers to get educated on how to most effectively paint the skatepark to last as long as possible while taking donations of paint from the community. I’m told that the paint should last a few years, but hopefully, by that time, the skatepark will be ready to move forward with their plans of rebuilding the skatepark.”

McNeil’s works, and history, can be seen online at and for those wishing to find out more or even to donate to the skatepark project they can email

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