ILYA VIRYACHEV (www.ilyav.ca/@godzilya)
(above) Painting new mural at Main and East Broadway
“So I felt like an outsider…when I came to Canada the first, like, grade 8-9, I would take, like, 3 art classes and so, like, half the time in school I’d just paint and do art…I think art did help because it helped me become good at something, which, later, I think people recognized. You know, when you have some sort of ability you’re good at people are drawn to you…”
If you have some free time and enjoy street art, please go take a look in the alley in the NW corner of Main Street and E Broadway. The artist Ilya Viryachev has just started a mural. The original piece of artwork by Ilya is beautiful, so I can’t wait to see the final product! Ilya hopes to finish the mural by the end of this year, but he also mentioned that he has a full-time job, so it’s clear he is already a very busy guy.
I was touched by Ilya’s story and by his ability to make a connection between how his artistic skills grew as a result of being an outsider temporarily. And he identifies the way that he then went on to receive more attention for his talent, which I think is uplifting. Ilya’s story shows that the best way to move past a hard time is to focus on what you love and are passionate about, work hard, keep practicing, and then you will eventually be noticed for something other than how good you look or what you’re wearing.
I loved Ilya’s answers to my questions so much that I am going to include them verbatim below:
1)What do you love about Vancouver?
I think it’s very accepting. I came here 10 or 11 years ago. And I come from Kazakhstan, so I think the opportunities I could have are very different there compared to here, because I’m able to do this first of all. I’m able to work in arts, and I think it’s a lot easier and there is a lot more opportunities for, I guess, people like me who are very much into, you know, the art field to get jobs and actually make a living out of it.
2)If you’ve ever felt like a freak or an outsider, what helped you through it?
When I came to Canada, I came to grade 8 and, you know, it’s that time where people start to make friends and cliques. So I like, I was kind of friends with people but then I was still very much an outsider, because, like, I don’t think people wanted to take this, like, you know, Kazakh-Russian kid into the group. So I felt like an outsider, but, so I ended up, I think, when I came to Canada the first, like, grade 8-9, I would take, like, 3 art classes and so, like, half the time in school I’d just paint and do art. So I guess you were mentioning, yeah, I think art did help because it helped me become good at something, which, later, I think people recognized. You know, when you have some sort of ability you’re good at people are drawn to you, so I think that was a good way. And you made me think about that because I actually didn’t think about that that way.