Posts Tagged ‘urban typography’
Winnipeg is the coldest city of over 500,000 people on the face of the planet — that is what you call bragging rites and the preamble to a don’t mess with people from this place kind of town. It is pretty much, as with a lot of prairie towns, an island to itself. Apparently, you have to drive four hundred days just to get to Minneapolis — which puts Winnipeg geographically somewhere hovering around the planet Jupiter. It has tended to deal with isolation and its share of challenges as far as poverty, unemployment and homelessness… by constantly punching way above its weight in terms of artistic output.
Case in point:
Winnipeg has become mural city… The murals of Winnipeg is a web site and work of astounding scale featuring thousands of photos of murals all over in Winnipeg. Bob Buchanan and his wife Louise do this as a pretty much full time labour of love in their retirement and along with Bob Bruce have taken this on for 6 years. It all runs so deep that it boggles the mind. Most of all, what shines through on the site is a real personal touch and a clear sense of care for the community and the artists.
Featured above is Charlie Johnston’s mural of West End Winnipeger Adam Beach. A lot of the murals figure heavily with themes of native art and native pride. As the seat of urban native Canada, Winnipeg has used murals to showcase the talent and culture of its very sizable native community. Of his mural figured above Charlie Johnston says:
“In one day, I had about 50 different people say something to me while I was working there. Everybody recognized him, knew him or was related to him. So talk about a Mural that ties into the community! It was really powerful in that respect. Here’s a person who comes from a hard background and yet, in our society’s eyes, has really made it. He’s an ‘A’ list aboriginal actor; he succeeded, he’s made the big time and he comes back to his community and lends his time which is now more valuable than ever before; speaking to people and children in his previous community about life issues like drug abuse and solvent abuse.”
Trudy Turner: “When Adam and I speak about the Mural, he’s choked and overcome with emotion. He’s such a humble guy. He’s a movie star without ego; he’s just a West End kid who happens to live in Hollywood.”
Charlie: “How far can a man go? I think that Adam Beach must be a man who dared to dream, for he has traveled far in his lifetime. With this Mural I hope I have brought him back to his roots by casting a reflection of his life and work on the community he grew up in. As I was working at that spot, with the incredible response to the Mural by those who know Adam, I really got to know his community in a very special way. As I worked on Adam’s portrait through the day, I would see the sun rise over the wall, cast high noon shadows on the bricks and finally turn the rich colours to a searing red and twilight before fading to black. And I thought, cool! This is poetry!”
Below are some shots of political graffiti from the back alley behind Parc Avenue between Fairmont and Saint Viateur of a kind of panicked fight.
From what i can tell some french lads started crossing out unilingual english personal parking signs and ghetto enforcing bill 101 and then some english lads lost their shit and essentially told them to learn english… a fun old game it is, but perhaps not the best use of paint.
I am happy that others of us here in Quebec are using paint to explore culture from deeper angles. That is one of the many reasons why we at kngfu (one of the companies behind CitySpk) started whoweare.ca
The film Antipodes, a selection from the whoweare.ca project, is directed by my friend and mentor Daniel Canty, a writer and filmmaker born and raised in the ruff and tumble west end Montreal city of Lachine.
The film features Point Saint Charles painter Raphael Sottolichio
Students from the Australian National University photography workshop recently alerted me to the work of German artist- Lisa Rienermann. Type the Sky, is an alphabet formed of the shapes buildings make against the sky when photographed from below. She scoured the streets of Barcelona until she found all the letters she needed.
Her photo-typographic alphabet is now a font set published by German Type Foundry Slanted also called Type The Sky. The collection comes as a type face and a photo book. Definitely some beautiful, time-consuming, city speaking.
From the shiny shiny world of the Journal of Urban Typography: