Mural: A North Pole Evening
Address: East Village Experience Centre at 553 Riverfront Ave SE
Artist: Michelle Wiebe
Animator: Michael Kohlweg
Q: Tell us a bit about your art practice.
MW: I do painting, printmaking and letterpress. I’m also an art instructor at various places in town like Leighton Art Centre and Inglewood Arts.
MK: I am a 2D animator with a focus on explainer animations. Recently I started to learn and practice stop motion animation, and I can safely say I’ve fallen in love with the medium.
Q: What has been a favorite project of yours?
MW: I once did an art exchange with a group of local kids with a school in Swaziland, Africa. Both classes did the exact same art project and then we swapped them across continents. Everyone had a blast.
MK: This past summer I completed 100 days of stop motion. Every day I would animate a 1” x 1” paper box doing and being various things. This project gave me a better understanding of how objects move in a natural way with stop motion and allowed me to really focus on story telling.
Q: What was your inspiration for this painting/animation?
MW: The magic of Christmas and my animation partner, Michael’s, beautiful stop motion animation. It reminds me of classic holiday shows!
MK: The magic of Christmas! My partner Michelle has a very whimsical painting style and I was excited to bring the window to life. I wanted to animate the window so that a viewer can find little elements throughout the work to discover.
Q: How did the AR (Augmented Reality) aspect of this exhibition influence you when creating the mural/animation?
MW: It influenced everything. This is truly a collaboration between myself, our hosts at East Village Experience Centre and Michael, the animator. The biggest draw for me as an artist in the project is the opportunity to collaborate with someone who is an expert in a field I know very little about. I learned so much.
MK: It was a neat challenge for animating, as I have never used AR before. I really got to push the limits of my work to include this new type of media.
Q: What is something you want the viewer to take away after experiencing your window?
MW: Since our piece is at the EV Experience Centre, the goal from the very beginning was to make this an experience for the viewer. It’s designed to have little magic moments appear all over the scene. The viewer can pause and capture all the surprises. Our piece is at the perfect scale for taking fun selfies too!
MK: If any viewer leaves with a smile, I think we did our job!
Q: When touring the exhibition what is the ideal beverage to bring along?
MW: Hot chocolate, extra whipped cream, please.
MK: A peppermint mocha - seems like it would be pretty festive and warm!
Q: What did you find surprising/unexpected about participating in the exhibition?
MW: How gracious everyone is while you are painting. People stop and ask questions, cheer you on and even offer you a warm place and a cup of tea to warm up. Painting day is a lot of fun, even in spite of the chilly weather in November.
MK: Not many people know what AR is yet because it's such a new media. But seeing their eyes light up while explaining how these windows work is always a treat.
Q: What do you enjoy about being an artist/animator in Calgary?
MW: There are so many opportunities for projects that engage the community. One of the reasons why I love being on the artist roster with Buds Collective is they are constantly looking for new and inventive way to use public space and bring the neighborhood out to experience art.
MK: It’s such a diverse crowd in Calgary and new and exciting projects keep showing up. I applaud Buds Collective for trying new things.
Buds Collective would like to thank the CMLC for participating in Northern Reflections 2018.
Photographer: Katy Whitt
Article: Victoria Hedin