As of last night at 9 pm, the mural I’ve been working on with youth from Central Neighbourhood House can officially be counted as complete!
Our process began back in December, with a series of consultations with the youth programs under the direction of Raymond Koyo, Franclyn Clement, and Chantel Guthrie. We asked kids what sort of images came to mind when thinking about community with a capital C. Dozens of sketches came forth, and together we isolated highlights and commonalities of these until we had two or three final ideas. I arranged these into two different drawings, the youth voted, and one was chosen to represent the collective. “Community”, “Love”, and “Respect” were distilled as the most important themes, and so these words became directly included in the proposed work.
In January, I and a slightly terrifying ladder (I’m a bit wibbly on heights) set to work laying out the foundational lines that would set us up for weeks worth of painting. Bit by bit, the picture began to emerge, and in about a fortnight the sketch really started to come alive on this enormous surface. I don’t mind saying it’s the largest surface I’ve ever worked on…and that fact has equated to a fantastic learning experience.
During the next two months I had some enthusiastic and helpful youth artists work on the wall with me. A big shout out to Shalom, Iselah, Abdi, Lily…and Raymond, who really only wanted to sign his name to it!
Another word of big thanks is due to Pamela Gawn and Philip Unrau, staunch supporters of the project throughout its course. Thank you for permitting me and others this fantastic opportunity!!!
You can check out the full evolution of the mural on the Facebook album for Paul Byron Art, right here!