842 Main Street
Location: SW corner Main & Dufferin; North Face
Occupant: Trident Press
District: North End
Neighbourhood: Lord Selkirk Park
Artist(s): Dennis Bell, Diane Bell (unsigned)
Sponsors: Take Pride Winnipeg!, Neighbourhoods Alive! (Manitoba), City of Winnipeg, Winnipeg Foundation
Painters: Diane Bell (apprentice).
Dennis Bell: "Even though this was only one site, I was actually building two unique
Murals with completely separate designs."
"The newspaper, The Ukrainian Voice, that's printed here still gets mailed back to the
Ukraine. They wanted something historical; with a newspaper boy selling newspapers. I
researched through books at various libraries looking for old shots of newspaper boys and
it was really hard to find anything. Going through period photos of the 20's and 30's, I
found a picture of a boy standing on a corner with his sister and he was yelling at her and
thought I could build the portrait of the young newspaper hawker from him. So I used his
face and the mouth; the photo seemed to be so perfect for its time. I changed the hat, but
that was it."
"I wanted this man approaching him with his back to us; and I also needed to have a
storefront with a figure in the background. By design, it became more of a cartoon than
an image of realism. The original maquette (photo 2) was plotted out in the grid system
which I was planning to use for this wall, but I ended up changing the design layout so
much that I had to abandon it and then freehanded it all."
"I like early morning, and the backlighting, and that's what I captured here. I took a lot
of pictures and looked at storefronts and awnings along Main Street. But I didn't want it
to look too realistic, so I simplified it down as much as I possibly could."
"For the Ukrainian Dancers, I used a calendar photo from the early 70's of my wife
Diane and her brother, Larry who were in the first Ukrainian Dance Company of
Winnipeg. The shot is of them dancing in a field at a festival in Dauphin. It DOES look
like Diane, but she's not smiling and she's not happy about that (!), although she wasn't
smiling in the picture either. For the Dancers, I added a few trees in the background. I
actually wanted to have them in amongst large poplar trees and then play with the
lighting, but the size of the wall just wouldn't allow it; I would have needed a much
"The dancers were in honour of Diane's mother who has now passed away. She was
down there checking on us everyday; and she had made the costumes for this dancers.
She was also a strong part of the dance company and helped get it started. She also went
to a shoemaker and had all the boots made by hand. The material for the costumes was
brought from the Ukraine, as were the hats."
With all of this personal knowledge, references and experience with the subject matter,
Dennis was indeed, the very right choice of artist for this wall. The clients WANTED the
newsboy and they WANTED the Ukrainian dancers and were overjoyed with the two
designs. It was a match made in heaven. And today, these side-by-side scenes of
contrasting styles by the same artist on the same wall are a living testimonial of the
versatility and artistry of Dennis Bell.