It has been a 6-year process to improve the exterior of our building. Our goal was to transform the utilitarian, cement-block structure into a work of beauty. During the summer of 2010, we painted the long wall a deep purple colour. Even back then, it was called a catalyst for area revitalization. The addition of the murals down the east wall of the building has created an outdoor gallery. The parking lot and alley has become more inviting for people to walk through. This humble space is now visually engaging and is sure to be meeting point for visitors and a gathering place for the community. Thank you to Capital City Clean Up and the Old Strathcona Business Association for their support.
Six different artists created paintings on panels for the east exterior wall of The Paint Spot, 10032 81 Avenue. Each piece is 2 panels put together to make an 8 foot x 8 foot painting. The six pieces are now installed and make the dark purple wall of The Paint Spot look like an outdoor art gallery. The Paint Spot’s wall faces the Trinity Church Mural and the Tirecraft Street Art Mural. Together, these three buildings create a mural courtyard around a parking lot.
72 Artists Contributed 77 proposals. So many great ideas and images; we just have to share them. We’ve collected all submissions in a precious reference binder. Do you know anyone looking for a mural artist? Come view this binder. We’d love to find a home for each and every piece of art submitted. If you have a wall, some funds and a timeline, we can help you get a mural done. We are available to present informative sessions on how to do a mural. Contact Kim Fjordbotten at The Paint Spot.
Installation July 6, 2016
Today is installation day. Thankfully the weather cooperated and the murals were installed in just one day. Thank you to Phil Bentson from Arctic Insulation for creative ideas on how to float the panels on the wall. It looks amazing. He even moved and replace the parking signs for our neighbours. Thanks Michael Ortiz and Brent Wysak for lending a big hand when needed. Many neighbours and visitors have come out to share comments. “Epic”, “Beautiful” and “We love the bear!” were heard often.
June 30, 2016 Varnishing
To ensure our murals will look beautiful for years to come, we are following the varnishing advice by Golden Acrylics. We elected to go with a gloss varnish because it will add richness and shine to each piece. For my own work, I prefer Satin finish but I think these murals will look best glossy. First, an isolation coat of Golden Soft Gel Gloss is diluted with water is applied. (2 parts by volume Soft Gel Gloss to 1 part water). This is rolled on to coat the panel quickly and evenly. Then the surface is smoothed with a brush and the bubbles and roller texture are brushed away smoothly. Long, straight strokes were painted horizontally across the surface. Golden Soft Gel Gloss did not level as smoothly as I thought so I choose to dilute the gel a little more by adding a touch more water. This isolation coat will provide an extra layer of protection to the art work to reduce abrasion cause by wind and hail. It will also protect the mural if we ever have to remove the varnish to clean tagging or vandalism. The isolation coat must dry for 2 – 3 days.
Next we applied Golden MSA Varnish Gloss. Warning, this is a strong varnish that requires a real painting solvent to thin it ( 3 parts MSA Varnish to 1 part Stevenson Painting Solvent). Stir well and add more solvent if needed for application. I painted in my husband’s garage with the the big door open. (Well at least until the wind blue the popular fluff inside. We then had to close the doors). Please wear a respirator and gloves when working with this product.
Wow a painting really does look better varnished. They are stunning.
June 20, 2016- Murals in Progress.
10 panels have been delivered. They look amazing. Here are some behind the scenes of artists.
May 25, 2016 – Watch Murals in Progress
Thank you to Byron McBride for sharing the progress of his mural piece on YouTube. It is a pleasure to watch an authentic approach to painting. Few paintings are created in a half hour complete with little happy trees. Often it is an uphill battle and a technical challenge. Byron’s commentary would be hilarious except I am acutely aware of the frustration and fatigue he talks about. All of the ups, the downs, surprises, and disappointments are recorded. It is honest. It may be an eye-opener for everyone who thinks artists are so lucky to have a way to express themselves, ugh. It will also explain why many of us shy away from commissions. Well done, Byron. PS, I love the little secret floating in the sky that few will see. Perfect, just perfect. Be sure to like, share and subscribe to Byron McBride on YouTube.
May 10, 2016 – Mural Progress with Daphne Cote
From under painting to expressive dashes of colour, the portrait is coming along. Join Daphne Cote on Facebook to see her mural progress.
May 4, 2016 – Preparation of Exterior Wall for Mural
Sad news for our wall of hollyhocks. Last summer, we debated about what to do with the all the flowers that self-seeded down the east side of our building. Weed them or leave them? We choose to let it go naturally. Watching flowers grow tall and beautiful with no care was a miracle. Mother Nature is impressive. The flowers and our wall were featured in many Instagram photos. Derk’s Formals put sharp-dressed men in purple ties and purple shirts in front of the purple wall with purple flowers. They were really beautiful photos.
Unfortunately, the hollyhocks grew in the cracks between our building and the concrete; not an ideal place for plant or building. This year they’ve come back with even more vigor. The mural will be installed on this wall later in the summer. The tall stocks and leaves of the hollyhocks would cover the bottom of each mural and risk scratching the image surface on windy days.The thick foliage of the hollyhocks also gathered so much garbage and provided hiding spots for unmentionables. We had no choice but to cut them down.
There is good news. Thanks to Brent, Sarah, and Michael our front garden has received extra love, water, and weeding this year. It looks amazing! The hollyhock are doing well in this bed.
Have you noticed the sticker gallery on the light post outside our store? Draw your own sticker and add it to the collection. This Street Art Sticker Slap Gallery changes weekly.
Dibond (E-Panels) are being used for our murals. Thanks to Brent and Michael for helping sand and prime these panels. Such beautifully-prepared, white surfaces are inviting. Suddenly I envy the artists who get to paint upon them.
There is exciting news for future mural projects. We’ve found a new fabric that can be adhered to exterior walls and varnished to create permanent murals. It’s called Evolon. Stay tuned as we run tests on this new product.
April 1, 2016 – The Free Wall Closes and the Mural Alley Starts
Mural Alley is the informal name for the back alley behind The Paint Spot between 100 and 101 Streets. It was kicked off by the closing of the Open Source Pilot Project. For two years, this wall hosted a graffiti pilot project run by Capital City Clean Up and the Edmonton Arts Council with help from The Paint Spot, Old Strathcona Business Association, and the Neighbor Centre . The project was to explore the possibility of a legal Free Wall while managing spillover and tagging. We learned a lot. In part, it was great. What was once an ugly neglected wall became home to an ever-changing gallery of street art. It was wonderful to come to work every day and see new art. Meeting artists and talking with them was also interesting and educational.
It was set up in a manner that was difficult to administer, A large part of the pilot project was to document whether a free wall caused an increase in tagging vandalism or help decrease it by offering an alternative. Unfortunately, the outcome proved highly subjective. The conclusion by the graffiti audit said tagging vandalism increased in the area. Yet we heard from other businesses that said they saw a reduction in tagging on their property elsewhere in Old Strathcona.
Alas the project and study are now closed. I am sad but my rant is postponed until I can be less emotional. At least, the wall has transitioned to a new permanent mural. Thank you AJA Louden, Evan Brunt and Clay Lowe. I still believe a free wall can work. If you have a property owner interested in offering space for another free wall, I am available to offer advice.
Thank you to the following organizations for helping us fund our mural project.