Wednesday, May 22, 2013

How Public Art can be Used to Change Cities

When I got my first bike ten years ago, I never would have thought that I'd be on the radio talking about cycling issues and that this two wheeled machine would play such a huge roll in my life. Bikes have changed me for the better and has allowed me to contribute positively to a world that I've struggled to understand.

I've had this idea to paint a bike mural downtown for a long time and last week I completed this vision with an artist I've grown up admiring. It's no exaggeration to say that this has been a dream come true.

For me, this mural is more than just about bikes, it's about representing an idea and a population of people who believe in creating a more sustainable place to live. It's about promoting innovation and change in a way that benefits not only the individual but also an entire city and the planet.

This wall is ultimately a reflection of the times we are currently living in Montreal. Cycling is becoming more and more of a hot topic and although there is some talk of it in the media, it is not being represented much in public space. My goal with this project is to add some beauty to an otherwise tense conversation about cohabitation and to see how I can contribute to building a future where we all feel like we belong.

I wanted to represent the incredible amount of potential and beautiful energy that I see coming from bikes and the people on them.And although we have a huge obstacle ahead of us in trying to figure out what changes can and should be done, I am hopeful that we can do it.

I want to keep pursuing the power and impact of public art and with this project, I've seen in real time the influence that art can have on someone's perception of an idea. People with all kinds of social backgrounds and points of view have reacted positively to this wall and I think that says an enormous amount about the impact and influence that public space has on people. We are constantly being sold and told to believe in things that distance ourselves from what makes us human and I can't help but feel a social responsibility to encourage a different type of dialogue. I'd like to empower and motivate people to discover who they are and to not try to be what someone else wants them to be.
Society is unforgiving in their influence and I think it's unfair.

I'm excited about the future and even if this wall exists only for a week, the impact it's had on me and the people around me is measurable. Throughout my time painting, numerous photographers came to visit me to take photos and used the wall as a way of exploring their own creativity. On many occasions, people just came and sat as I painted and doodled while getting inspired by what they saw. I would be naive to ignore the value of these moments.

So as this project comes to an end, I want people to understand the importance of living your life to the fullest and pursuing your passion with all your heart. You only have one life to live and although it's hard sometimes, nothing good in life comes easy.

I feel privileged to do this project and thank everyone who has supported me over the last week and months.

 I look forward to doing more projects like this in the future and to see how far I can go...


To view more photos of the wall, check out the photo Album here->

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