Mural: Old Winter Streets
Sponsorship: Aspen Properties
Address: Palliser One at 125 9 Ave SE
Artist: Stephanie Fowler
Animator: Alyssa Koski
Q: Tell us a bit about your art practice.
SF: I am a watercolor artist and urban sketcher, creating vibrant street scenes from around the globe. Urban sketching is the practice of drawing on site and capturing your surroundings, something that really speaks to my architectural background, love of perspective and desire to see the world. I draw both on site and from photographic references, adding liveliness to my paintings with watercolour and a bit of play on perspective with curving lines.
AK: I love using my artwork to tell stories. I tend to be drawn toward sequential art and animation for this reason, but I also love to work on events to create artistic experiences full of magic and imagination!
Q: What has been a favorite project of yours?
SF: Each year I create a watercolour calendar featuring various locations from around the world. I love doing this annually as it (somewhat) satisfies my wanderlust by being able to recreate street scenes from around the world. I learn more about my style every year as I continue to create.
AK: The work I have done with AR (Augmented Reality) with Buds Collective has definitely been top of my list. It is such an exciting and magical medium, and I am so thankful to Buds for bringing it into my world! I also love the work I do for community events in Okotoks, such as the “Wizarding World of Okotoks”, “Enchanted Okotoks”, and “The Nightmare Before Christmas Special Screening”. It gives me the opportunity to make the most illustrated maps and designs I can dream of, not to mention all the fantastic props and costumes to create!
Q: What was your inspiration for this painting/animation?
SF: I really wanted to showcase all my favourite things - architecture, perspective and a snowy street scene. With this year’s theme being ‘Electric Winter’, rather than go for bright neon colours, I was drawing on a sense of nostalgia from my childhood. The electric part of my scene is created through AR by the streetlights and old school Christmas lights adorning the buildings.
AK: Steph created a painting that suggests peace and activity at the same time, so I wanted to really play that up as well as amplify the spirit of the holidays.
Q: How did the AR aspect of this exhibition influence you when creating the mural/animation?
SF: This was my first time working with an animator, and I really lucked out getting to work with Alyssa. She was really relaxed with the entire process and encouraged me to use my vision first. We played with the perspective by having two cars moving up and down the street, and she used the AR to add in the Christmas lights and a visit from Santa into the scene.
AK: AR truly allows for the implementation of life and magic, and so I wanted to be sure to create an animation that really took parts of Steph’s painting and brought them to life, offering a way for viewers to connect on a deeper level.
Q: What is something you want the viewer to take away after experiencing your window?
SF: I really hope viewers walk away feeling the same sense of nostalgia that I did in creating this. Christmas as a child was simply magical. I have memories of staring out the screen door of my grandparent’s house on Christmas Eve, watching the sky so intently hoping for a glimpse of Santa on his sleigh. I hope this brings that feeling of wonder back to our adult viewers and offers excitement for what’s to come to the children who see it.
AK: The nostalgia of holiday traditions is one of my favourite parts of winter: shopping for presents, driving through the snow, seeing all the colourful lights, and perhaps even looking up to the sky to see if you can catch a glimpse of something magical. Even when it is freezing outside, there is always a great warmth to this time of year!
Q: When touring the exhibition what is the ideal beverage to bring along?
SF: I would say a mug of hot chocolate - perhaps with a dash of Christmas cheer inside.
AK: Eggnog steamer for the festive, or some good old English Breakfast tea.
Q: What did you find surprising/unexpected about participating in the exhibition?
SF: It was a lesson in going with the flow, using an unfamiliar medium and painting on glass as opposed to paper! I learned a lot about the direction of my paint - where watercolour can create generous, even washes, I had to fight not to distract from the overall scene by the direction in which I applied my paints.
AK: I am always reminded about how long animation takes with projects such as these, and how I have to sometimes limit my ideas to work within the tight timeframe! It is always interesting to collaborate as well, and I really enjoy having to form my concepts and ideas based off the foundation of another artist. It is an entirely different dimension to take another’s artwork and make decisions on how to supplement it in interesting and exciting ways, without losing the atmosphere or style of the original painting.
Q: What do you enjoy about being an artist/animator in Calgary?
SF: I love that the art scene in Calgary still feels pretty new and accessible, if you are willing to put yourself out there. I’ve been painting now for over five years, but I didn’t go to school for it - my style evolved through hours of experiments, mistakes and messes. Even still, I feel like there is room for me here and in 2018 I have really begun to gain confidence and find my footing in putting myself out there. If an opportunity arises - say yes and figure it out later. This is the best way to grow.
AK: Calgary has such a sense of community within its big city exterior, which makes it an exceptional place to find opportunity and pursue artistic goals. The art scene Calgary hosts, with amazing and innovative groups like Buds helping it along, makes this exhibition all the more exciting to be a part of!
Buds Collective would like to thank Aspen Properties for participating in Northern Reflections 2018.
Photographer: Katy Whitt
Article: Victoria Hedin