A local group has organized for the acclaimed street artist, Okuda San Miguel, to paint a six storey mural in Old Strathcona and our friend Michael Maxxis (you’ll remember that he made the Oilers pre-game video for the 2016-17 season) reached out to us to help spread the word. After seeing the details of the project and digging into what’s going on, we knew we wanted to help.
Now, before you jump on me for this article having nothing to do with hockey just take a breath and relax. I know that this is Oilersnation and I know that you guys come here for puck talk, but for as long as I’ve been reading this website and ever since I started working here, promoting the cool things that happen in Edmonton is something we’ve always done and something we’ll continue to do. And when you consider the profile of the artist that Michael Maxxis and crew have lined up to come and do some work in our city, I think it’s definitely worthy of a mention, especially during the summer. Cool? Cool.
Personally, I like the idea of Edmonton evolving and if that’s going to happen it will take fresh concepts and ideas like this one that will bring in a world-class artist to help brighten the atmosphere with one of his trademark pieces. Frankly, I think we’ve all looked at enough grey to fill up a thousand lifetimes, and adding an influx of colour and life by a renowned talent is an easy idea to get behind. Remember, this isn’t just some guy that’s going to paint on a wall. This is like bringing in a Connor McDavid of the street art world and letting him do his thing. When you have that chance, you have to take it.
Now that the organizing group has landed an agreement to bring Okuda in to share his talents, they’re looking for help executing the next phases of the plan and to also raise additional funds that will go to support the local art scene.
A LITTLE HISTORY FIRST
Before we get to the event, I wanted to give you guys a little bit of history on who Okuda San Miguel is and why this is a big deal. Like I said, this isn’t just a guy that paints walls, Okuda has done gallery shows and is featured on buildings all over the world. Paris, New York, London, and now Edmonton.
Okuda began his career as a street artist by painting in old factories and lost railways in 1996. Since 1997 his works have been recognized on roads and the factories in Santander. By 2009, his work hit a major point in his career. He had an opportunity to tour with IAM project doing gallery shows in New York City, Berlin, London, and Paris that helped him obtain new and more mature audiences. His work also had a more personal emotion.
Okuda’s work can be classified as pop surrealism with a clear essence of street art or urban art. His artwork is composed of geometric prints and multicolored ephemeral architectures that help blend with grey bodies and organic forms. These pieces of artwork often raise contradictions about existentialism, the universe, the infinite, the meaning of life, and the false freedom of capitalism. They help ignite conversations about the clear conflict between modernity and our roots.
Basically, what I’m telling you is that this guy is legit in every sense of the word and known in art circles around the world, and the fact that he’s agreed to paint a six-storey mural in our city is a pretty incredible opportunity. At the very least, you should do yourself a favour and check out some of the work that he’s posted on his Instagram page.
This is a project that will rely on support from the community and that’s why we wanted to help them spread the word. For Edmonton to move forward as the progressive city it claims to want, these are the type of ideas and concepts that will not only help to beautify the place but will also continue adding to its story. If you’re a fan of art, a fan of Edmonton, or just like the idea of bringing new ideas in that can help change the vibe, then this is an event worth knowing about.
Furthermore, any additional money raised for this project will be contributed to public art in Edmonton. The goal is to start with the Okuda mural and then continue supporting art projects within the
city, including the Rust Magic Street Art Festival. Or, as the organizers put it, “Edmonton is a large canvas. It’s time to colour it in.”
If you like what you’re reading and you want to help out, there are three ways to support the project:
1. Imagine Okuda Chefs Dinner
Six Chefs | Six Courses | Six Stories
A globally inspired fundraising dinner to support the creation of Edmonton’s largest mural in the heart of Old Strathcona, taking place June 27th.
Tickets start at $250/person
Buy tickets here
2. Imagine Okuda Crowd Funding Campaign
Buy your own piece of the project ranging from a “Paint Swatch” to a signed print by Okuda. Items range in price, starting at $50. Or, if you’d like, you can just make a straight donation to the Go Fund Me page.
Check out the options here
3. Vibrancy – Rooftop Yoga & Brunch
Join Andrew Misle on the morning of July 1 st for a roof-top yoga practice overlooking the historic streets of Old Strathcona. Followed by brunch at the Holy Roller.
Tickets are $75/person
Buy tickets here