Following two successful years for the Murals on Underpasses Project, two new murals have been installed on City of Ottawa’s underpasses in summer 2016. These murals were created by artists to beautify and enhance these underpasses as key gateways to the City with images that reflect and depict local culture, history or visions of artistic expression.
Outdoor murals are effective in managing graffiti vandalism, supporting arts and culture and contributing to economic development.
Two underpass mural locations were selected for the 2016 project as follows;
Colonel By Drive underpass at Laurier Avenue
Queen Elizabeth Drive underpass at Laurier Avenue
Each location features a community inspired mural painted by local artists. Both pieces were designed in consultation with the local community where they are situated. These underpasses frame the historic Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
For sponsorship opportunities, or for more information please call 3-1-1 or email email@example.com
Location: Colonel By Drive underpass at Laurier Avenue Artist: Ryan Smeeton
The Mural: This mural highlights the significance of the Rideau Canal and reflects upon the aspects that make it so important to Canadians, both in terms of historical context, as well as a source of leisure and tourism. The design focuses on imagery that reference themes of its engineering and construction, operational and everyday use. The artist’s ultimate goal was to create a mural that will contribute to the canal pathway area and inspire people to feel a sense of wonder and pride.
About the artist: Ryan Smeeton is an artist based in Ottawa, Ontario. He balances his time between his studio painting practice and creating site-specific murals. His work takes on the purpose of presenting an alternate perspective of the world through the deconstruction and resituating of everyday subject matter.
Location: Queen Elizabeth Drive underpass at Laurier Avenue Artist team: Cassandra Dickie and Dodo Ose
This mural is a surrealist approach to the evolution of the Rideau Canal. The design is inspired by a combination of double exposure photography and watercolor technique. Large black and white historical images are used as the composition framework, with smaller detailed scenes of present day city lights contained within their outline. These elements reflect a journey down the canal, from nature to urban sprawl, summer to winter, and past to present. Shifting background hues give new life to the concrete by accentuating its natural texture. Observers will be engaged in exploring the artistry of the forms shared between multiple images.
A technically versatile artist, Cassandra has degrees in both Animation and Illustration Design. She dedicated the beginning of her career to the growth of Ottawa’s urban art movement and revitalizing disadvantaged communities, and has since painted murals in cities across North America. Drawing from her broad range of artistic knowledge, Cassandra has explored many mediums and styles, from traditional painting and sculpture to graphic novels and caricatures. She carries these influences into her murals, combining an illustrative approach with dynamic compositions and unique concepts. Her work is a soulful reflection of life, capturing the energy of the environment surrounding it.
Born in the prestigious city of Lyons, Dodo was initiated to art from a young age. After completing a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts in Cannes he decided to re-orient the urban style of his youth towards traditional painting. Drawing on various influences learned from academia he perfected his work and started exposing in galleries in Cannes. After reaching hometown goals, his thirst for knowledge and experience lead him to move to Montreal in 2010. Prompted by the creative free-for all ambiance of the city he reconnected with his roots and refined his personal style. Playing with symbolism and universal archetypes, he crafts surreal dreamscapes merging the figurative with the imaginary. Seeking to convey the abstract feelings that lurk behind our eyelids, his work reflects the Jungian energy of poetry and fantasy.
2015 Murals on Underpasses
Two underpass mural locations were selected for the 2015 project as follows;
417 underpass at Bank Street
417 underpass at Carling Avenue
Each location features a mural celebrating the 150th anniversary of Canada’s Confederation in 2017 painted by renowned local mural artist Nicole Belanger.
The opposite walls feature community inspired murals painted by local artists.
Location: Carling Avenue at Highway 417 Underpass Mural Title: Felled Artist Group: Adam Cutts, Patrick Thompson and Alexa Hatanaka
The Mural This mural depicts a fallen Ash tree and the new lives it has taken on. Elements reference characters in the community, children's drawings from a local school, intricate wooden structures built in neighbourhood parks and other landmarks. A series of games and activities for creating surreal composite figures were done with local grade 2 classes to both demonstrate imaginative creative processes, and to guide the creative process and reference material used in this piece.
The team included artists Adam Cutts, Patrick Thompson and Alexa Hatanaka. Treating surfaces as a space for collaboration, the group crosses back and forth working on top of each others' sections, painting in and taking away to turn a very inhuman space into an opportunity for daydreaming and as a reminder that public spaces can be imaginative and whimsical.
About the artists: PA System, is comprised of artists Alexa Hatanaka and Patrick Thompson, who work in textile, printmaking, painting, film and large-scale public art, internationally and particularly in Canada's high arctic.
Adam is an artist and aspiring urban designer working predominantly through collaborative community projects for creating and experimenting with new forms of public spaces. Adam's background and experience is in community engagement and creative approaches to planning and urban design.
Location: Bank Street at Highway 417 Underpass Mural Title: The Heart of a City in Motion Artist Group: AMPLove
The Mural: The artists embraced the chance to turn a cavernous space in our cityscape into something bright and welcoming to locals. A co-dependence of community and nature is highlighted as a progressive city on the move; on foot, dancing, or flying. The multi-coloured palate celebrates the beautiful diversity of individuals from around the world who call Ottawa home. A city in motion is captured, recognizing it is its inhabitants who come together to celebrate nature, family and friendship, and, build the true warmth in the community. It is the people of Ottawa who create its heart.
The AMPLove team includes artists Drew Mosley, Troy Lovegates, and Labrona. The goal of AMPLove affiliated artists is to support the approach of flipping conventional (negative) understandings of graffiti and street art into a positive by using it as a means to inspire more beautiful and safe public spaces.
About the artists:
Drew Mosley is an artist and carpenter and spends his days between studio practice and various building and woodworking projects around the Ottawa Valley. Drawing from the solitude and resiliency of nature, these influences figure prominently throughout Drew's paintings.
Labrona is known as one of the top one hundred street artists in the world. His work illustrates multi-colored faces and animals defined by dark features. Inspired by 80′s skate culture and German Expressionism, his work stems from his fascination with and desire to convey raw human emotion.
Troy Lovegates is a nomadic folk artist whose bright paintings criss-cross the globe on the sides of rail cars and appear both large and small on walls around the world in both the public realm and gallery setting.
2014 Murals on Underpasses
Four murals were installed on two underpasses during the summer of 2014 to brighten up the City of Ottawa’s underpasses as part of a new streetscape initiative. Murals beautify and enhance these underpasses as key gateways to the City with images that reflect and depict local culture, history or visions of artistic expression. Outdoor murals are effective in managing graffiti vandalism, supporting arts and culture and contributing to economic development.
The two underpass mural locations are:
Metcalfe Street at Hwy 417
Riverside Drive at Bronson Bridge
Each location features a mural inviting residents to help celebrate the 150th anniversary of Canada's Confederation which will occur in the year 2017, while local artists have designed and installed community inspired murals on the opposing wall. The "2017" murals at both locations were painted by renowned local mural artist Nicole Belanger.
The community inspired murals were chosen by an independant panel of local artists and community members, and the designs were created based on extensive consultation with local community.
Location: Metcalfe Street at Highway 417 Underpass Mural Title: "Connection" Artist Group: Ottawa Urban Arts
This bright and beautiful mural welcomes visitors travelling along Metcalfe toward Centretown to the North, or towards the Glebe and Lansdowne to the South. The mural theme is Connection, as this underpass serves as a point of connection between neighborhoods that each has their own unique identity. This theme is represented using puzzle piece shapes connecting and breaking apart throughout the length of the wall, with images reflective of residents, community groups and of local architecture
The Ottawa Urban Arts team included artists Cassandra Dickie, Michael Dykman Davis, Dominic Laporte and Phil Laporte. Ottawa Urban Arts is a group of artists aimed to empower youth in our community and to provide spaces for their voice to be heard in positive and creative ways.
Location: Riverside Drive at Bronson Bridge Mural Title: Peregrine Falcons Artist: Christopher Griffin
This mural provides a stunning entrance into the City via Riverside Drive. The mural depicts four peregrine falcons to represent the wildlife living in the area, and along the Rideau River. It celebrates the efforts of the Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club’s Peregrine Falcon Watch. Since 2011, this group has watched over a pair of peregrine falcons who have nested near Heron Road and Bronson Avenue.
The underpass mural project is a partnership between various departments at the City of Ottawa, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, and the National Capital Commission.