Osborne Village gets new mural by local artists

Little Sister Coffee Maker site of Wall-to-Wall installation

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This article was published 19/09/2016 (2197 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The view from a favourite Osborne Village coffee shop will be enlivened thanks to the work of three local artists.

Hannah Doucet, Toby Gillies and Natalie Baird will transform the concrete staircase to basement café Little Sister Coffee Maker into a vibrant and welcoming alcove as part of Synonym Art Consultation’s Wall-to-Wall art and culture festival.

Doucet, a Crescentwood-based artist specializing in photography, said the trio has worked together previously on projects through Art City and other organizations, but this is the group’s first original mural.

Danielle Da Silva - Sou'wester (From left) Hannah Doucet, Natalie Baird, and Toby Gillies will be creating a mural at Little Sister Coffee Maker as part of Synonym Art Consultation’s Wall-to-Wall mural festival.

“It’s a colourful design that we came up with,” she said, noting abstract themes of plant life and collage. “It’s not the most conceptual mural — I think especially for a coffee shop, it’s just nice to have a bright, fun, playful mural.”

The mural at 470 River Ave. is one of many going up across the city this month. Since 2014, Synonym Art Consultation, a Winnipeg-based arts initiative fostering contemporary art and street art in the city, has helped a handful of local and international artists create murals that change the landscape.

This year, Wall-to-Wall’s artists have taken on ambitious works in downtown Winnipeg, covering the south face of Winnipeg Centre Vineyard (782 Main St.) with a mural depicting an indigenous woman mending a heart (Bruno Smoky, Shalak Attack), and another depicting the interaction between marine life and humans (PA System, Parr Josephee). Murals are also planned for the Wolseley and West Broadway neighbourhoods.

Doucet, Gillies, and Baird say they are happy to be part of the festival, showcase their work, and be given the opportunity to interact with artists from across country.

“It enhances the city and the festival and injects a lot of new ideas and energy into the city,” Baird said.

“Wall-to-Wall is great for trying to push the city to make more exciting public art,” Doucet added.

The festival has also pushed the trio to refine their creative process and help work out the kinks as collaborators. The process that led to the selected design — which remains untitled — required at least one pizza party, a lot of cut-out photos, and disparate sketches that began to look alike.

“We have funny roles when we make things together,” Gillies noted. “If we pick it apart too much it might fall apart.”

Despite specializing in varying mediums and formats, the artists say collaborating is painless, most of time, and often results in greater work.  

“When I am making art (with them), we just come up with ideas together and we make it. It’s very different than my own art practice but still feels natural to me,” Doucet said.

“The power that we have together is that we do bigger things that take more time,” Baird added.

“Toby always wants to do everything bigger and more, and we talk him down from that,” Doucet joked.

The public is invited to watch the trio paint the mural in person on Sept. 24 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information go to www.synonymartconsultation.com

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