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Nelson's First Mural Festival
By Emma Chart | Cover Photo @katiegreenart
The Nelson International Mural Festival has hit Nelson!
If you’ve seen some hard-at-work muralists painting random nooks and crannies of Nelson and wondered why, it’s because this brand new festival is going on in Nelson all summer, with a culminating celebration on August 17-19! Yippy!
The Nelson and District Arts Council (NDAC) is excited to present this fabulous event. Through the festival NDAC seeks to increase the cultural vibrancy of Nelson by engaging local, national, and international street artists, muralists, creators and arts lovers through large scale public artworks and educational opportunities.
The festival has already been gaining traction in local media. Tourists and locals have commented on the new murals, saying what gorgeous and welcoming pieces of public art they are.
What is it?
Throughout the summer months, artists are invited to paint their specific mural for a few weeks until finished. As the murals are completed, a map has been made with locations and directions to each piece. Local and national muralists and even two international muralists were invited to come share their craft and beautify Nelson’s alleys.
All supplies and equipment for muralists were provided by the festival. The walls used were both public and private. Muralists were chosen by quality of skills and techniques, and the ability to communicate a unique vision, overall professionalism and presentation of ideas, appropriateness of artwork to the community, experience, and potential to successfully complete the project within the required amount of time (this was usually around two to three weeks).
Meet the Muralists and Murals!
The first mural completed is located behind Tandoori Indian Grill & Lounge. It was done by 24-year-old artist Andrew Tavukciyan from Vancouver, BC. Andrew is a graduate of the Emily Carr University of Art and Design, where he focused on industrial design. Using the windows and bricks of the building’s wall as a grid system, Andrew sketched out a design. His mural took around 10 days to complete. He describes his artwork as ‘organized chaos’.
The second mural completed was by Tyler Toews, and is located around the corner in the alley by the Outer Clove. Tyler is based in Nelson, but has done numerous murals across Canada. Many are influenced by his fascination with the outdoors and nature. This particular mural took about two and a half weeks to complete. His process included first fashioning a tiny 3D model of the ice to understand and render the shadows and angles more accurately. The mural depicts extinct and at-risk animals in glacier ice (also at risk), and touches on how the human race has an imposing nature on the natural world.
The third mural to be finished was by Katie Green, and was painted on a concrete wall opposite the Nelson SPCA. This sprawling masterpiece took Katie around two weeks to finish. A University of Calgary art graduate, Katie had to paint many coats onto the concrete wall before she added the illustrations and final lines on top. On the theme of her whimsical and imaginative piece, she has said she wishes everyone who walks by to have their own take on it, and fill in their own interpretation and meaning of it for themselves.
The fourth mural was created by Kelly Shpeley, a Nelson local, in the alley behind the Capitol Theatre. Kelly has had gallery showings in Canada, the United States, and Norway. John Cleese and Noam Chomsky are a few proud owners of her works. The mural took her two weeks to complete.
The fifth mural was by Barry Overn, and took 15 days to complete. Barry is an artist hailing from Calgary, AB. His mural contribution is located behind Downtown Automotive, and hints at Nelson’s heritage culture in its depiction of an old motor car in black and white. He also blends the modern and old with a present day bicyclist pedaling through the historical image. Barry has painted for such organizations as Disney, Universal Studios, Broadway, and Cirque Du Soleil.
The sixth mural to be completed was by Stephanie Kellett, and was painted behind the Leaf Cross Society (can be seen by Outer Clove alley entrance). It took her about two weeks. The working title for the piece is “Mountain Memories”. Stephanie says it speaks to the relationships between wolves, caribou, and the mountains, specifically saving the caribou. She described her experience of painting the mural as interesting as she had to learn how best to paint on corrugated metal, as well as drain pipes, and a steel door.
The remaining two murals have not yet been/or are in the process of being completed. These murals will be made by:
The Colour Dreamers - Hailing from Miami, Florida, this is a mural artist duo by the names of Ivette Cabrera and Amir Shakir. Their mural piece will be located behind Hipperson’s Hardware.
Jerome Davenport - Arriving from Australia, this internationally renowned visual artist will have ten days to complete his mural contribution before the festival opens on August 18th and 19th. The mural will be behind Sea of Wolves in the Athen’s Centre
Join us for the Mural Festival!
Opening ceremonies and patio parties kick off on the evening of August 17th, followed by festivities throughout the downtown core on the 18th and 19th Pick up a mural map, stroll through town and take in all that these beautiful murals have to offer.
On Saturday August 18th, the festivities will be located at Hall St. Plaza, and begin with info talks on how to apply to be part of next year’s mural fest, as well as artist talks by the local muralists who contributed this year. There will also be live theatre, and a street party and DJ from 7-10pm, an alleyway gallery, and Virtue Artisan Tea booth.
On Sunday August 19th, there will be more artist talks with muralists at the Civic Theatre as well as an artist panel discussion. The festivities will end with a closing wrap party at Red Light Ramen.
There will also be a community wide ‘paint-by-numbers’ mural set up at Touchstones Museum for the public to contribute to ALL weekend!
Come out and support the first annual Nelson International Mural Festival! It’s a wonderful initiative to support Nelson’s arts & culture and promote public engagement with public art.