The Hopewell Rocks are, of course, one of the most spectacular ways of seeing the highest tides in the world in action. Now, Saint John has a distinctly urban way of experiencing those same high tides.
If you were a passenger on the Carnival Sunshine as it was docking in the Port City Wednesday, you would have seen a large mural of a woman reaching out of the water that was just completed by world-renowned artist Sean Yoro (known as Hula).
By early afternoon, when I interviewed Discover Saint John Executive Director Victoria Clarke near the mural, only the fingers were visible because it was high tide.
“We are the only urban experience on the Bay of Fundy,” says Clarke, who commissioned the mural by Hula. “We have the highest tides on the planet, and we didn’t actually have an urban representation of that [until now].”
Born and raised in Hawaii and now living in Los Angeles, Hula, who has painted murals on rock faces alongside waterfalls and on trees in remote forests, began work on his Saint John mural August 1st and finished up August 7th.
Clarke commissioned the mural, with the support of local company Strong and Free, because of Hula’s global reach and reputation. He has 169,000 followers on Instagram, and Clarke says these are the kinds of things you need to draw attention to the city.
“My target market isn’t Saint Johners,” says Clarke. “If you’re here I’ve got you already… My target market is the rest of New Brunswick, New England, the rest of Canada, and now with a partnership like this with Sean (Hula), really the rest of the world.”
I spoke with Clarke shortly after she dropped Hula off at the airport to catch a flight back to Los Angeles. Here’s part of our conversation, in which she talks about Hula’s mural and the city’s efforts to showcase and celebrate the working port for tourists and residents alike.