murals

Ilya Viryachev Felt Like an Outsider After Emigrating from Kazakhstan, Art Obsession Ensues…Mural in Progress at Main and E Broadway

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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.

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Artist EMILY GRAY: Interview

VAN-ARTIST EMILY GRAY at her co-created PUBLIC ART piece SPYGLASS in False Creek/beside the Cambie Street Bridge

VAN-ARTIST EMILY GRAY at her co-created PUBLIC ART piece SPYGLASS in False Creek/beside the Cambie Street Bridge

EMILY GRAY comes from the Sunshine Coast, but now calls Vancouver home. If you have seen the mural on the side of Kea Foods at 10th and Main, then you know her work. Emily is incredibly talented and dedicated to her craft (a.k.a. a hard-worker).

Go to www.EMILYGRAY.ca or @EMILYGRAYART (Instagram) to see more of her work online. A mural that Emily has already finished will be going up once Skytrain Reno arrives at Commercial and Broadway…watch for it!

In an e-mail Emily sent me after our interview earlier today she wrote that she loves “community engaged art, I believe thats what public art should be about! Let’s all get together and have a good time, express ourselves, and encourage each other to just keep improving in art and life :)”.

Go to EMILYGRAY.CA to view her work!

Go to EMILYGRAY.CA or @EMILYGRAYART (Instagram) to view her work!

I am so on-board with Ms. Gray’s sentiments about the connection between art, community, and loving life. Today we visited one of Emily’s murals, SPYGLASS, that was completed with the help of around 100 other participants (who used colourful paint to finish the drawings/outlines Emily made). SPYGLASS is located under and beside the Cambie Street Bridge and was inspired by other artists’ (RHONDA WEPPLER and TREVOR MAHOVSKY) work that is done around the base of the Cambie Street Bridge.

The following video is a TIME LAPSE of SPYGLASS being created:

I interviewed EMILY GRAY to learn more about her relationship with art, and our conversation was informative and fun! I am most impressed (beyond the art itself) by Emily’s dedication to building a stronger sense of community, both for herself and others, through working on PUBLIC ART pieces that many help to create and enjoy.

Morning workout made all the more beautiful thanks to public art!

Morning workout made all the more beautiful thanks to public art!

Jumpin', jumpin'!

Jumpin’, jumpin’!