What does 2020 mean for you?
That was the seed planted in three young Calgary artists, and it grew into huge, colorful, thought-provoking murals now on display in the northwestern Sunnyside community.
“This is the first mural I’ve ever done,” Daniel Volante told CBC News.
“I’ve never used spray paint or done anything this big before, so it’s been quite a process. I learn a lot.”
Daniel Volante, 17, calls his mural dreamers. It’s about wanting to do a lot, but with COVID-19 restrictions everything is being put on hold. (Hala Ghonaim / CBC)
The 17-year-old’s mural, Dreamer, is booked by the art of two other teenagers on shipping containers in a park in Sunnyside, southeast of Kensington Safeway.
Volante says he spent several hours a day for three weeks putting together his contribution to ContainR, a pop-up center for arts and culture organized by Springboard Performance.
“I wanted it to look gorgeous. A lot of the colors are vivid. I used a blue to outline everything,” he explained.
This is Jaxson Naugler’s mural. He wanted to show a connection between man and nature. (Mary Annan)
“I found this piece in myself. It’s a pretty personal piece. I was inspired by how I’ve felt over the past four months. I’ve dreamed and thought a lot. I want to do everything but the last four Months at home it just won’t come out. That’s what this piece means to me. “
And that’s exactly what Springboard Performance was looking for, says the artistic director.
“What does 2020 mean for you? That was the starting point,” said Nicole Mion.
“The best art comes with what is most meaningful to you. This is a great place to always start.”
The murals are still a few weeks at the Sunnyside location southeast of the Kensington Safeway. (Mary Annan)
The ContainR program started in 2009, perhaps ironically, to combat vandalism.
“While it started out as a way to prevent tagging, it became a way of sharing incredible art,” Mion said.
Springboard performance had a reputation for artists. A jury narrowed down the applications to three. The project also includes photography and blogging elements.
Daniel Volante calls his piece Dreamers. This is just before the start of his mural. (Rich-Belle Banasen)
Your canvas is a shipping container that is approximately three by twelve meters.
“The point of ContainR is to connect communities with art,” said Mion.
“You can see performances, you can play music, you can see family theater, you can see a whole range of murals. As in any park, you go to play, you bond the way you feel comfortable.”
Kate MacLean wanted to make a statement about equality and beauty in her Eclipse mural. (Hala Ghonaim / CBC)
Another artist, 15-year-old Kate MacLean, felt uncomfortable with what she sees as the media representation of people with color.
“The black woman on the left shows the sun. The Asian woman on the right shows the moon,” MacLean explained.
In a solar eclipse they are together. That’s what MacLean called her piece.
“I wanted to be able to paint people of different ethnicities. Different types of people are equally beautiful.”
Kate MacLean is working on her mural called Eclipse, which shows two women of different ethnicities side by side. Their message is that everyone is beautiful. (Rich-Belle Banasen)
Jaxson Naugler wanted to point out interconnectivity in his art.
“A person and a tree. The person’s face turns into a tree. That is the most important connection,” said the 17-year-old.
“I also added a few trippy, colorful things on the other side to show that these two things are connected, but everything in the universe is also connected.”
Jaxson Naugler, 17, is a Calgary-based visual artist. (Hala Ghonaim / CBC)
Naugler says it is the reaction to his work that he likes best.
“My favorite part is just hearing what people think it means,” he said.
“Everyone thinks it means something different. It could mean a thousand different things. People’s interpretation is my favorite part.”
The young artist Jaxson Naugler is working on his mural, which depicts the connection between man and nature. (Rich-Belle Banasen)