The eye-catching cityscape mural on the former Kingston Coal Dock, located on Lake Ontario near the former Rockwood Asylum, is the work of Kingston artist and creative professional Aaron Forsyth.
Forsyth, also known as EronOne, specializes in vibrant, custom murals and design work. He showed an interest in arts and illustration at an early age, filling books with sketches, and later pursued an education in animation, developing a strong foundation in technical drawing skills.
Then Forsyth changed course, transitioning into the world of retail, eventually co-founding a lifestyle boutique in 2005. Through this venture, he began offering custom designs for apparel and in-house products sold at the shop. As well as being a small business owner, Forsyth was taking commissions for custom canvas work. Many of these clients were interested in larger-scale artwork, leading to residential, institutional, and commercial art projects.
The mural at the Kingston Coal Dock – which is becoming a temporary deep-water dock, allowing Great Lakes cruise ships to stop in Kingston – was commissioned by the City of Kingston’s Tourism department and Tourism Kingston. The theme behind the dockside mural is iconic Kingston imagery.
“It is a busy location, and I enjoyed getting all of the positive feedback that I did from the public while I was painting there,” Forsyth said.
Forsyth explained the process of designing the dockside murals.
“To get started, I sketch my rough ideas on paper, using photos I have taken and others for reference. I was granted access to the city’s photo library, where I selected various images to represent the city,” he said.
“I also included nature imagery and some of the activities that I saw taking place there daily, from kayaking to dog walking. I then take pictures of the blank wall and superimpose my artwork on it to make it easy for the client to visualize my ideas.”
The artist was provided with a color scheme to go with the overall dockside theme. He then got the artwork approved and started the painting process using his medium of choice: spray paint.
“To make everything come together on the wall, I try to balance my use of colors, patterns, and selected imagery to create my final piece,” Forsyth said.
Forsyth is also on the City of Kingston’s teaching roster and has held art workshops within the Limestone District School Board and the larger Kingston community. He has been an active member of the arts community and, and also involved with large-scale events, such as Montreal’s Under Pressure live painting exposition.
But for those who frequent the Kingston waterfront, it’s not just the old Coal Dock where you’ll see Forsyth’s work bringing art into the urban landscape. Apart from his mural work featured at Frontenac Cycle Sport on Barrie Street and Daft Brewing on Princess Street (as well as near the waterfront on the public art walls behind Rideaucrest Home), the blue-grey commissioned work at the Coal Dock also carries over to the waterfront pedestrian walkway at the Delta Hotels by Marriott Kingston Waterfront, adjacent to Confederation Park and Basin.