Entrepreneur takes cue from ancient cave paintings

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In Nova Scotia, an entrepeneur’s vacation led to a startup idea for 100% plant-based paints.

“I was in a cave in France and looking at these paintings that have been there for 30,000 years and, I asked myself, ‘what did they do’?” Gena Arthur, founder of Pure Paint, tells Truro Daily. “You know, I put paint on my house last year and it’s chipping off and flaking off and this is 30,000 years old.”

Ancient cave paintings are made with animal blood and fats, as well as less plants, minerals, and natural pigments. Arthur—who was already interested in natural building materials and had done work for the National Research Council of Canada—says these paint formulations had stood the test of time, while today’s synthetic paints have only been around for 75 years or so.

“[O]nce I mastered a lot of those ancient formulas I thought, these are so great, we have to modernize this, using all these natural, non-toxic ingredients and bring it forward and make it perform like the paints people are used to and give them that option,” she said. “So, now we’ve successfully accomplished that, and we have a product that performs identical to a latex or an acrylic but it’s one hundred-percent natural.”

Pure Paint, located at he Perennia Innovation Centre in Bible Hill, is looking to expand to a larger facility within the next 4–6 months. The paints sells for $34–$38 per liter.