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Artist Arno Freitag paints the past on a grand scale

by C.J. Veach

Arno Freitag puts the finishing touches on a mural for the Alberton mural project

Whether or not they realize it, people around Prince Country are getting to know the work of Arno Freitag. That can happen when an artist steps out of his studio and creates a larger-than-life painting on the side of a building for all to see.

Later this month Freitag will have his third and fourth murals unveiled in Alberton. One depicts a downtown scene circa 1910 while the other takes you inside a turn-of-the-century harness shop. Both murals, created on four panels, measure 8 feet by 16 feet and were done with acrylic paint.

It has been an interesting switch from canvas to buildings for Freitag. "I enjoy murals. It is a different form of art for me but I enjoy the challenge," Freitag said. "I was given old photographs to copy and with the harness shop mural I had to do some research to identify various tools that didn't show up well in the photo."

Freitag expects to spend close to 100 hours completing the harness shop mural. Other less complex works may take half that time.

Freitag (who emigrated to Canada from Germany in 1957) and his wife, Linda, a native of West Prince (Cape Wolfe) moved to the Island in 1997, and opened a bed and breakfast in North Bedeque. The following year Freitag was asked to do his first mural, located on the Callbeck Craft Centre in Central Bedeque. "The mural shows a tailor shop that used to stand on that sight," Freitag noted. "I learned a lot from that first mural and it has helped me work more efficiently on other large scale projects."

Freitag also painted a large 16 foot by 16 foot depiction of the old Queen's Hotel on the Summerside Seafood Supreme building. The hotel, which burned down in 1966, was located across the street next to the Journal Pioneer building.

Freitag is also kept busy supplying the Dunes Gallery in Brackley with his works, and running the Art Gallery B&B with his wife. I don't get time to do much painting in the summer with running a business but I display my paintings there and sold a few, mostly Island scenes, to our borders," he said.

As his exposure grows, Freitag is finding his services in demand. But that allows him to do what he enjoys. "I've been very busy this past year but I couldn't ask for a more rewarding pastime than painting for myself and others."

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