Artist paints Rich­mond Hill’s iconic land­marks

Steve Bet­ter­ton’s love let­ter to the city now dis­played in York Med­i­cal Cen­tre

Thornhill Post - - News - by Gideon Scan­lon

Vis­i­tors are tak­ing note of a colour­ful new mu­ral celebrating Rich­mond Hill that has ap­peared in the York Med­i­cal Cen­tre. The piece, which is in­spired by both graf­fiti art and tra­di­tional land­scape paint­ing, is the work of for­mer Rich­mond Hill res­i­dent Steve Bet­ter­ton.

De­pict­ing many of Rich­mond Hill’s most iconic land­marks, Bet­ter­ton was com­mis­sioned by build­ing owner Jonathan Tekala, who had grown sick of look­ing at a large white wall.

“I wanted to fill the space that wouldn’t be bor­ing for the clinic’s vis­i­tors,” said Tekala. “And I am very happy to hear that it is start­ing to re­ceive vis­i­tors of its own.”

Bet­ter­ton was de­lighted by the idea of work­ing on the mu­ral, as he cred­its the city that helped reawaken his pas­sion for paint­ing.

As a teenager, Bet­ter­ton had wanted to be­come a pro­fes­sional artist. Af­ter spend­ing a year study­ing art at Sheri­dan College, Bet­ter­ton let his doubts catch up with him and em­barked on a diploma pro­gram — and then a ca­reer — in mar­ket­ing.

Bet­ter­ton was in­spired to pur­sue a ca­reer in fine art af­ter mov­ing to Rich­mond Hill with his wife in 2010.

“I re­ally didn’t know what to ex­pect when we ar­rived, but then I learned just how many com­mu­nity ac­tiv­i­ties there are here,” he said.

“I joined in on the hockey at Elvis Sto­jko Arena and be­gan tak­ing paint­ing lessons at the Mill Pond Gallery.”

In a nod to his own past, Bet­ter­ton in­cluded both the ice rink and the art gallery among the 30 or so build­ings de­picted in the mu­ral. Also in­cluded is a tech­ni­cally im­pres­sive de­pic­tion of the Rich­mond Hill Hindu Tem­ple.

“I al­ways used to drive past the tem­ple on my way to work. When de­cid­ing which build­ings should be fea­tured, I knew I had to in­clude it.”

Al­though Bet­ter­ton still con­sid­ers art to be more of a hobby than a se­cond ca­reer, his mu­ral has be­gun to gen­er­ate some lo­cal buzz about his tal­ents.

“I don’t know if I will ever have enough work to be able to sup­port my­self on art alone,” he said. “But per­haps one day.”

L–R: Steve Bet­ter­ton etch­ing the Rich­mond Hill Cen­tre for the Per­form­ing Arts, de­tail of his fin­ished mu­ral

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