How did I get into Street art?
Truthfully. I didn’t know I WAS doing street art till your twitter feed told me that I was. Ooops! But then again, I don’t consider myself an artist since I have no formal training and have a BSc in Geography. Though I have never really worked in the field since I ended up taking some time off to figure out if I wanted to do a masters and ended up working as a professional duct tape artist.
So I could say that boredom and a need to make others laugh got me into street art.
I had the amazing opportunity to work with a major multi-national who gave me free rein to build whatever I wanted. They would suggest a broad area and have me build a piece that would then be displayed outside in various cities. Next thing I know, I’m building an 18 foot Viking ship out of cardboard and duct tape and floating it on the Atlantic.
What type of Street art do you do?
The work I did for 10 years was mostly part of guerrilla marketing programs. I never made an actual gorilla, but did make a gibbon that freaked out the primates at the Columbus Zoo. In the last few years, my street art has primarily been a series of April fools pieces that I would use to take over various parks. I lived in a small town in the country and took over the band stand building a giant spiders web made out of clear duct tape. I also had built a 10 foot card board spider that attacked my car.
This whole piece was an experiment to see how youtube worked. The video got about a thousand views and then puttered out. A social media influencer I was not 😉. Another year I made a giant cat sitting in a cardboard box and proclaimed that an unofficial dog park was now a cat park honoring our former Mayor Sam Katz.
At StreetArtChat we of course love cats! See what caturday is all about on StreetArtChat!
This year I am planning a project with magnets placed randomly around the city for people to find.
Why is street art important?
For me it is the need to create and do something that just makes people laugh. I have had people look at a piece I’ve made and come up to me saying they must apologize since they have to laugh at my work, it just makes them laugh. “I know, same thing happens to me 😉. Don’t worry, I made it to be laughed at” People have this weird idea that all art has to be serious. I love art that makes me smile.
What is my favorite piece?
For work I have been all over North America. Some times I find myself in a car driving to the middle of nowhere. I have always seen various little towns that would do some sort of murals on their walls but they were always locally done and had that similar feel no matter you were. It wasn’t until I was driving to Thompson Manitoba, the provinces most northern city. After 8 hours of driving through hundreds of kilometers of boreal forest, I am awestruck by an image in my rear view mirror. I had to pull over. On the edge of town, there is an 8 to 10 story apartment block. Driving into town, it is just another nondescript apartment block. But on the north side, they had painted a 33 m photo realistic image of a wolf staring right at you. They had done it in a series of grey tones and those eyes were staring into my soul through the falling snow.
This was a totally different beast than anything I had seen up to that point. Since then I have seen the change in murals. How they are works of art full of wonder and inspiration to all that gaze upon them.
Who is your favorite street artist?
I have to admit I don’t know much about art. I like to create myself and can stop and appreciate these incredible pieces, but have no clue who they are. My aunt was a major fan of art and worked as a docent at an art gallery in Montreal. She inadvertently introduced me to Alexander Calder since I always wore a red shirt corduroy shirt to dinner at their house. Apparently he only wore red shirts during his life. But she showed me photos his metal sculptures that dotted the front of many famous buildings and kept popping up in the background in various movie scenes. I had a girlfriend hit me with her napkin in a movie to shut me up after I VERY excitedly whispered / yelled “HONEY! THAT’S A CALDER IN FRONT OF THAT BUILDING!” She was not impressed. But I apparently was. So would have to pick him as my favorite street artist since I can actually pick out his work 😉
Where is my favorite place in the world for street art?
My hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba I think is my favorite place to find street art. The photos of Berlin look incredible but Winnipeg has a unique art community and so many talented people are from there. In our Exchange district, on the historical, turn of the century brick buildings. There are the ghost signs. The lead paint of the old ads from 80 to 100 years ago. Advertising for products that no longer exist. They have seeped through the attempts to cover them up and remain as ghostly art that make the area ever so special.
New murals have been popping up all over the city and I will find myself discovering another hidden treasure almost every time I head into a section of the city I hadn’t visited in a little bit.
The Forks has an international competition for architects, artists and designers to create an avant-garde warming structure for our 8 km + ice skating river trail. They have attracted some VERY prestigious designers. We even had a Frank Gehry!
Where would I like to create art next?
I have to say Winnipeg. The people have a great sense of humour and it is where I feel my most creative. The clouds in that vast sky start forming some of the best abstract art I have ever seen and inspire me every day.