Calgary

Painters, musicians and animators appreciate each other through Inglewood mural project

The Northern Reflections Exhibit showcases 11 murals created by 36 artists that explore augmented reality, and runs for six weeks in Inglewood.

Northern Reflections Exhibit encourages collaboration and support, artists say

Jessica Semenoff, left, is a Calgary painter; Mackenzie Bedford, centre, is an animator; Uii Savage, right, is also an animator. (Mike Symington/CBC)

Artists, musicians and animators have come together to create art on the windows of businesses throughout Inglewood.

The Northern Reflections Exhibit showcases 11 murals created by 36 artists that explore augmented reality. The exhibition runs for six weeks starting Jan. 21.

The displays are interactive, and those taking in the temporary works of art can use an app called Augle to enhance the experience.

"I saw the call for muralists, and I thought it was a great opportunity that I should apply for.… I was very excited to actually get it, get accepted," said Jessica Semenoff, a Calgary painter involved in the project.

"I hope that this project brings [the community] a little joy."

Definitely a collaboration

The project groups artists from different disciplines into teams that collaboratively complete their mural, with a painter, musician and an animator working together on each one.

As an artist, Semenoff paints, draws and print-makes. She said  she loves trying new techniques.

She was involved in the painting of her team's mural — which is on the window of Purr Clothing — alongside animator Michelle Ku and musician Hair Control.

It was a learning experience, she said, and quickly discovered that painting on glass is different than painting on canvas; press too hard and you wipe away the layers beneath.

The project also allowed her to work with a musician and, for the first time, an animator.

"It was definitely a collaboration," she said. "It was so cool."

To riff off that

Semenoff's appreciation for that collaboration was shared by other artists involved in the project.

Animator Mackenzie Bedford worked on a mural on the window of Twitchin Threadz with painter Sarah Johnston and musician Kyle Hinton.

Bedford said that she overcame a sense of imposter syndrome on the project because her team was kind. The feeling melted away when she realized the exchange of ideas was open and supportive, she said.

"What I learned was really how to work with other artists on an animation project," Bedford said.

"To get the painter's work, and then to try and riff off of that, was something that I've never really done before ... it was just such a fun experience all around."

Arrive as who they are

Uii Savage is primarily a sculpture and animation video artist who focuses on installations that integrate both physical and digital elements.

The mural she worked on with painter Claudia Weigelsberger and musician Laura Hickli is on the window of Rosso Coffee Roasters.

Initially, she said, she wondered how it would feel to work collaboratively; normally, she works solo.

"I think for me, there was a point where I thought, like, I wonder how this is going to work out," she said.

"But this experience felt, dare I say, seamless. It felt like everybody drew on their individual strengths, and I was pretty lucky to have a team that was just really great."

Like Bedford, she said a reason it was so positive was because they were receptive to each other's ideas.

"I think everyone was just really supportive of each other … everyone allowed each other to arrive as who they are, with whatever strengths they had," she said.

Inglewood's website has a full list of where to find the murals around the neighbourhood.

With files from Mike Symington.

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