Each year, we lose some good outdoor art in Winnipeg. For the year indicated, here's a last look at, a last goodbye to some of the artwork that has disappeared that year.


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2 Lombard Place   

'Sentez'
Yannick Picard's winning design and finished Mural for Mural Fest 2k6. While painting the Mural Yannick provided mentorship to artists Patrick Ross and Kyle Thomson, who assisted Yannick on the project.
It was removed from the wall in 2008 and is currently in storage.

Original notes follow

  
In March of 2006, Yannick Picard of St. Thérèse, Quebec, submitted his Mural design to Mural Fest committee and jury in the semi-final portion of the competition, along with this one-age blurb in support of his piece:

"My Mural design proposal is about environmental degradation. We often seem to forget that nature could exist without us, but it would be impossible for us to survive without it. This piece shows some of humanity's behaviours that largely contribute to the deterioration of our natural wealth that is essential to us. It also represents their repercussions on the climate (storms, floods…) and their effects on our health as well as The health of animals and plants."

"By using current life objects, I wanted to express the direct bond between our actions, our individual needs that are constantly increasing and those ecological disasters that humanity is facing. The presence of the rubber glove gives an anonymous character to this hand that is cutting a tree; it is not a particular hand, there is not only one guilty, but billions. It is the same for the one holding the cocktail glass, it shows that all those daily- used chemical products and other kinds of garbage that we throw out in rivers, lakes and oceans always come back to us, whether it is in the water or foods that we consume. I also show those actions that seem banal to us (like watering our lawns), but that are actions contributing to waste the natural resource, since nature could very well take care of it. While a part of the world population does not easily have access to drinking water, elsewhere in other world regions (such as in Canada) the abundance of this natural resource makes us forget how precious it is."

"This Mural design proposal entirely meets the goals and objectives of the Winnipeg Mural Festival. Firstly, because no one should remain indifferent to the environmental issue. We are all affected by it, without exception, because our future depends on it. Secondly, because this Mural, I am convinced, could provide thought and awake the consciousness of its audience. In addition, I believe that with its colours, its originality and its aesthetic qualities this artwork could easily create an interest and be enjoyed by a large public and at the same time take part in the revitalization and beautification effort of the city of Winnipeg. In my opinion, this proposition could generate discussions about environmental pollution and how we can change our behaviour to help preserve the Earth. Let's say that the simple act of talking about a problem already constitutes a step in the right direction. We must remember that if we are all, in different degrees, a part of the problem, we are also a part of the solution."

"I would be thrilled to have the chance to share my thoughts and to interact with the citizens of Winnipeg. I would like to feel that I am leaving the people of Winnipeg a Mural that they can be proud to have in their city. I also believe that having the opportunity to collaborator and work as a team with the young artists of the Graffiti Arts Program in the production of this Mural would certainly be an enriching experience for them as well as me. Together we could show Winnipeggers that the place of Art is not only in museums and that Art, in its unique way, can be useful and have a positive influence on a community"

Additional commentary from my interview with the artist:

Yannick Picard: "I often listen to the radio when I'm painting alone; and everything started from what was happening in Montreal. From the beginning I wanted to do something on the environment, but I didn't know at first how to approach it. But by listening to the radio I was hearing about the environmental problems which are happening everywhere in the world. My starting point was the big rubber gloves that are holding the scissors. I was in my studio and that glove and its fingers was just there hanging there! I think it was like 4:30 in the morning and I was trying to think of some good and original ideas. I will often and usually use objects from inside of my home. And the ideas that I had after all came from that initial idea of the rubber glove."

"With the cocktail glass, I wanted to show that everything we throw in the river and the dump will one day come back on us in our consumption. The rubber gloves are also symbolic that this water pollution and consumption issues are dangerous."

"I didn't want to be preachy and say to people that this is YOU: YOU are having problems and YOU should be careful- I wanted to say that I am a part of that problem. I'm not perfect. That's why I put myself with the hose, watering the lawn, to symbolize it. In actual fact I don't do this at home because I don't have a hose or grass either- I live in an apartment."

"While in Winnipeg, I've had the chance to talk to lots of people and to explain what I was doing. Every day I think the people were getting more and more interested with what I was doing."

During this project, Yannick was also fulfilling a mentoring role to two younger artists, Patrick Ross and Kyle Thiessen. Yannick: "They were beneficial to me, too. At times I didn't have that much for them to do because some parts of the painting I had to do by myself. They helped with the sky and some of the relief. I was trying my best to teach them, but I think they learned more just by watching me. At the beginning I was showing them how the grid system works to scale things up big. For awhile, I was worried about whether or not we'd be able to cover up the grids lines with the white paint, but we were successful, even if it required using three coats to do it. Using less thinner in the ink helped. (N.B.- for this project on a vinyl surface required the use of special inks as paint, which chemically bonds to the surface of the vinyl. The ink is very thick out of the can, like syrup or molasses, and must be mixed with thinner to get a suitable density for application to the 'wall'.) I had to be careful using the thinner because with too much, the paint would run everywhere."

For more on Yannick Picard, check out his website here.

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