Kelowna, B.C., artist uses the canvas to share his story of addiction, homelessness and triumph

BySydney Morton  Global NewsPosted May 4, 2021 8:57 pm

Lucas Macauley can now stand in his first art exhibition, showcasing the bright colours and eye-catching images that depict a life he used to live.

“In rehab, I started painting like crazy. I think I did about 70 paintings during my stay there and now it’s just snowballed into this,” said Macauley.

The artist now tells the stories of his time living on the streets and his battle with addiction that was spurred when he was prescribed morphine after a motorcycle accident in 2011.

He was cut off after coming in to refill his prescription a day early. He then went into withdrawal, turning to whatever drugs he could get his hands on.

He checked into rehab in December of 2019 and has been painting up a storm ever since.

“I think the further and further I get out of that scene, things start to get a lot more clear,” said Macauley.“Just being able to put them [the memories] down on canvas and I can kind of see from a different perspective.”

Each of his paintings is also rooted in activism.

“People I think kind of get overlooked,” said Macauley.“[There are people who] are living under terrible conditions in such a beautiful place we walk around and we don’t realize that people are going through so much trauma and I really want to draw attention to that.

“The more people that know and understand what’s happening the better, [and] we can approach it and fix it.”

One of the pieces at the exhibit at the Rotary Centre for the Arts in Kelowna was a collaboration with his brother, Stephen.

“After many years of seeing his different art in different forms and tattooing and cartooning and stuff like that … now it has come to this culmination of those styles together with a purpose and a meaning,” said Stephen Macauley, artist.

Just a few of Lucas’ paintings are temporarily housed at the R.C.A.

“I am really excited for this exhibit at the R.C.A. because we have a number of shows up about the home and heritage homes in Kelowna and this is the other side of it,” said Andrew Stauffer, Rotary Centre for the Arts community and educational programming specialist.