UBC grad quits corporate job to paint gorgeous landscapes of BC

Sep 22 2021, 10:07 pm

Made in Vancouver is a collaboration between Vancity and Daily Hive. Together, we’re turning the spotlight onto local businesses, organizations, and individuals who are helping to create a healthy local economy.

After trying the corporate 9 to 5 and hating it, Meg O’Hara knew that she needed to make a change.

She quit her job, signed up for a small business start-up program, took out a loan, bribed her sister Charlotte to make a website for free, and is now a full-time artist and entrepreneur, best known for her custom artwork for ski resorts, heli-skiing lodges, and private ski chalets. 

As part of our Made in Vancouver series spotlighting local businesses, we talked to Meg O’Hara, an avid skier and Canadian landscape painter based in British Columbia.

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Meg O’Hara is captivated by nature. Through her passion for skiing, she has been inspired to capture and immortalize the compelling and amazing landscapes she comes across in her adventures. 

@megoharacreative / Instagram

Her art depicts the grandeur of the natural world, “looking into the solitude found in the mountains, immortalizing the experience by preserving rare moments of time onto the canvas,” she explained to Daily Hive.

“These paintings reflect the spirit of the untamed wilderness and the adventurers that explore it. I use a sense of sublime to create permanence of the human lived experience as individuals interact with the natural wonders of the world.”

She hopes that her paintings will not only inspire the viewer to seek adventure in nature but to reflect on their own role in preserving the environment we live and recreate in.

Meg O'Hara

@megoharacreative / Instagram

Before painting on gorgeous canvases, O’Hara started with a rather unorthodox medium. 

“I started University at 17 and couldn’t afford to buy nice canvases for myself… so I would go to our UBC Ski and Board Club parties and take home the cardboard boxes from the 24 packs of beer, cut them up, and use them to paint on. After a few paintings on the inside of beer boxes, I started to get better and began doing commissions as a side hustle.”

After graduating, O’Hara attempted a “corporate lifestyle” but found herself needing to quit, citing that she was “crying about my job at least 5 days a week.” 

She then signed up for a small business program, took out a loan, started a website, and began doing what she loved: painting.

The gamble has paid off, as she was recently awarded BC Business’ esteemed 30 under 30 award and called “the foremost artist in the ski industry,” by Entrepreneur magazine.

Meg O'Hara

@megoharacreative / Instagram

Some of O’Hara’s work can be found on the walls of the Sunshine Village Ski Resort in Banff and Mica Heli in Revelstoke. You can also follow along with her adventures and art on her Instagram.

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Alyssa TherrienAlyssa Therrien

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