Tattoo artist turned muralist gives Thorold community pool lobby a makeover

By: Moosa Imran, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grimsby Lincoln News
Daniel Kozina is a tattoo artist, but as a result of the pandemic his latest project involves a canvas of a different sort: the Thorold Community Pool.
The tattooist turned muralist said his passion for art began from a young age and it stuck with him throughout his life, even influencing his undergrad decision to study visual arts programming and illustration at Humber College.
“You are kind of a starving artist, you really have to work on every opportunity that comes your way,” Kozina said, reflecting on his journey of making money as an artist.
Shortly after college, Kozina got his start as a tattoo artist. Before that, he said friends and family would pay him from time to time for commissioned works. He credits their support for allowing him to continue his artwork.
As of late, Kozina was hired by Thorold city services to paint the lobby of the community pool at 111 Richmond St. Over the course of the last 20 days, Kozina has painted several fish, a turtle, a mermaid, a whale, a few deep sea divers and even a seahorse on the walls, among other water-themed things.
“The aim was to transform the lobby into something completely different from a lobby, sometimes you think, it’s kind of boring. You wait around like a waiting room almost like in a doctor’s office,” Kozina said.
“I wanted to take you on an adventure, but I want it to be an adventure that’s cohesive, everything relates,” he said. He said his goal was to make something that could not only be appreciated together as one large piece of art, but so that certain features could be appreciated as standalones.
Of the different features, Kozina said his favourite was the turtle, as to him, they are the epitome of good and wisdom. “I wanted to make a really wise almost Gandalf wizard type character,” he said.
He said that his inspiration for the features came from the things he enjoys, such as Disney films. Kozina said he intentionally added several different colours and patterns in hopes that passersby would notice something different every time. He said he wanted it to be an “experience,” rather than “just a really cool painting.”
Although COVID-19 put Kozina out of work as a tattoo artist, he said he appreciated the extra time he now has to work on his murals. Before lockdown, he said he didn’t do murals as often and when he did, he was rarely able to spend adequate time on them given his day job. During the pandemic, Kozina had done a number of murals around the Niagara region, including some in Welland and Beamsville.
The Thorold community pool is closed to the public for now, but the city has plans to reopen in July, conditions permitting.