We’ve been thrilled with just how many folks have been sharing their #Nanaimo360 with us, whether it’s through photography or stories. And we wanted to know what would happen if we asked an artist to share their Nanaimo 360 through their medium. Nicholas May, an extremely talented local artist, stepped up to the plate with his stunningly detailed pen and ink illustration. Below you’ll also find the inspiration behind Nick’s work. Enjoy!

Ammonite Falls

I moved away from Nanaimo at the start of high school. After high school, I went through what I refer to as my most formative years. I moved back to Nanaimo after graduating and finally got back to my core friend group. One of our main hang out spots was Ammonite Falls. We spent hours camping and hiking around the area. A big part of who I am today is due to the trips up there with my best friends.

I love the idea of the area being filled with old fossils and history. I tried to convey that with my representation of the location.

Piper’s Lagoon

Piper’s Lagoon is a more recent love of mine. About 4 years ago, I moved into the Hammond Bay area, about 5 blocks away from Piper’s. It’s been a great place to go, year round, to unwind after a hard day. There’s tons of interesting birds in the area, which I’ve been more and more interested in keeping an eye on lately. To me, it’s just extremely representative of just how nice Nanaimo is.

The image is extremely bird heavy. Every time I go to Piper’s, I feel like I’m seeing a new species. If you’re a birder, it’s absolutely worth a visit.

Buttertubs Marsh

Buttertubs Marsh harkens back again to my “formative years.” A really great friend of mine passed away not too long ago and one of my fondest memories of him was us gearing up to bike to Buttertubs Marsh in an effort to catch a bunch of toads! There was a news report saying the marsh had been overrun with them and it was just something we had to see. I remember getting there late at night, shining a light on to the water and just seeing hundreds of pairs of eyes looking at us. We didn’t have it in us to take any of the toads away from their home, but we had a great time exploring the area. I still go back every now and then to take in the scenery and wildlife.

The hands in the drawing are meant to represent the fact that Buttertubs Marsh is man-made. It’s also a bird sanctuary, hence the Osprey. The toad is a symbol of my past adventure with my friend.

If you’d like to see more work from Nicholas May, check him out on Instagram at @NicholasMayArt, or check out his website.