The Murals of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada: Murals
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1036 Main Street (1)    Location Map
  



Location: SW corner Main & Magnus; North Face

Occupant: Bird Shop & Aquarium

District: North End

Neighbourhood: William Whyte

Artist(s): Jennifer Johnson (Utopian Art Design), Mandy van Leeuwen

Year: 2001

Sponsors: Take Pride Winnipeg!, Neighbourhoods Alive! (Manitoba), Winnipeg Foundation, City of Winnipeg

 

This whimsical sea world scene was also part of the Neighbourhoods Alive led initiative in 2001 to beautify North Main Street. The client, the storeowner, has been a long-standing tenant of the area who operates a family run business there and has been very loyal to the neighbourhood. In a sense, the Mural is a tribute to THEM.

Mandy van Leeuwen: "The client was not particularly interested in having an aboriginal theme- it's been done a lot in that part of town already- he wanted something more pertaining to the business, but on the other hand funders would not be willing to sponsor something that was an overt advertisement. So we decided why don't we do something artsy where we can go under the ocean do a fish scene, so we painted up a picture- I still have it. This was also something different for us- it wasn't heritage. So we were really thrilled with the notion of getting lost in sea world here. It's freedom underwater, and play, and you can experiment with paint. There are so many textures and colours and things to work with. So we started and painted the fish in and later on we added the mermaids- but we painted them in such a way that if you don't know they're there you don't see them right away".

Jennifer Johnson: This wall was done all freehand. We had as a reference point a sea life book some of the actual underwater plant life and what colours it can be and how it might look. There's Blowfish (puffer fish), Triggerfish, Anglerfish, Emperor fish, Lionfish, Clown fish; the black thing is a baby Emperor. Mandy really wanted the mermaids in there she did those, and they're tastefully done too you don't see them right away and they're pretty; she did a really nice job on them. This has long been one of our favourites."

Mandy: "There's a hidden fish in the lower left hand corner I sort of made him up as a composite of a few different species, and there's also a stingray hiding right beside him. I thought the borders were a nice finishing idea." The project took 8 days to complete, with the Lionfish (which is 6 ft. tall and 9 ft. long) taking 3 of those 8 days. It was in all respects a pleasure for them. Mandy: "With the two of us it didn't take long, especially when you enjoy it that much. Part of the reason it was pleasurable was that it was a break from the heritage stuff, a chance for us to branch out and do something different for our portfolio and for the streets."