. street murals
Street murals redefine spray paint medium
No longer seen as senseless vandalism, more businesses have been contracting artists to paint murals for the sides of buildings to add a sense creative livelihood and mystique to the walls.
This shift in attitudes is most evident when strolling down 12th or 17th avenue, where a variety of bars, specialty shops, and historic buildings are seen spotting a colourful addition to an otherwise drab exterior.
Different styles of art ranging from traditional street graffiti tags to contemporary fine art installments are widely spreading from the inner city to the suburbs, infusing colour and energy to streets and alleyways.
“Street art adds to the urban vibe of a city,” explains graffiti artist Jesse Gouchey.
“Would you rather see a bare wall or a mural?”
Street artists have pushed the boundaries of the spray paint medium by utilizing brick walls for creatively dynamic murals, memorials, and even graphic novels. Last summer Gouchey spent nine weeks creating an animated film in the community of Ramsay by painting different images on a wall and taking photos of all the scenes.
The resulting “Spirit of the Bluebird” was a memorial to a woman who passed away several years ago in area due to an act of violence.
While more colorful installments are surfacing within the Beltline area of Calgary, street artists are still having difficulties locating a space to use for murals.
“It seems when one mural pops up another one disappears,” clarifies Gouchey.
“It’s really hard to find businesses that want their walls to be used for projects or murals.”
The “Jamaican Stargazer” mural on the side of Puff N Stuff located at 1509 8 Street S.W., is a collaborative effort between Gouchey and three other talented artists.
The wall is described by Gouchey as a “spirit piece” and utilizes reverent elements like a totem pole, the lion of Judah, sacred geometric shapes and spirit guides.
However, Gouchey and other artists are still battling clashing ideologies regarding street art, as many still view it as vandalism instead of a legitimate art form.
“Street art isn’t respected within the city. Calgary still has the ‘Stampede mentality’ where only western themed murals are acknowledged,” said Gouchey.
Gouchey is currently searching for more space to create another animated film in the Beltline area. For more information and to check out Gouchey’s work, click here