I recently had the opportunity to create two interior murals for a local adult high school in Ottawa. The goal was to bring some new life and positive energy into a setting that is constantly looking for new ways to inspire its students.
All in all, 2016 was a crazy one. Aside from getting married, I was fortunate enough to fill my year with a variety of projects, including several mural gigs. Here's a quick summary of them.
Canada Science and Technology Museum
Organized by House of Paint, this mural was one of many for the Canada Science and Tech Museum in Ottawa. The murals are on the construction site hoarding wall of the new museum, which is set to open in Fall 2017. I was given a private tour of the museum collection, and chose to use certain antique objects from this tour in the mural design.
Bellevue Community Centre
This colourful and vibrant piece was commissioned by Crime Prevention Ottawa and Ottawa Community Housing as a way to bring life to an otherwise grey area. This was an incredible community engagement project, as I was given a stack of sketches from a local youth group and was given the task of drawing inspiration from them. Some themes that the kids wanted me to include were inclusivity, love, colour, peace, and community.
City of Ottawa Underpass Program
This mural was commissioned by the City of Ottawa as the latest addition to the city's murals on underpasses program. The wall is adjacent to the Rideau Canal pathway and is therefore themed around the history of the canal as a UNESCO world heritage site and a local landmark.
This piece is located inside the local creative hub Makerspace North.
One of my murals this past summer sent me in a bit of a new direction. What made this project unique was the amount of community engagement and collaboration with youth groups. This sort of community-centric process was something very new to me, but proved to be a rewarding experience.
This mural started as a youth engagement project. Kids at the Caldwell gym were given sketch pads and were asked to put some ideas to paper and explore a little bit of their creative sides. The sketches were collected and given to me, and it was my task to use them as inspiration to put together a cohesive design for the mural. It was a great experience for me working with the kids' designs as inspiration. I found that across all the sketches there were themes of community, peace, love, and togetherness. This gave me a solid base of ideas to work from. In working with the unique space ratio of the wall, I created one main focal point in the center, which I think is more impactful to the viewer than having to read a long group of images across the entire length of the wall. The group of hands embracing each other represents those themes mentioned earlier, and are meant to be a symbol of inclusivity and togetherness.
Although it isn't a direct copy of the kids' sketches, the design is a creative interpretation. The ideas that I used from their sketches were: the colourful background pattern, a fading from dark to light/colour, the idea of "helping hands", the use of mandalas (symbol for the universe, unity, harmony), and building outlines.
It was an absolute pleasure creating the piece because I got to interact with the community as I worked, and received an overwhelmingly positive response.