554 Main Street
The completed Mural.
Location: SW Corner Main & Rupert; South Face
Occupant: McLaren Hotel
District: City Centre
Neighbourhood: China Town
Artist(s): Jesse Reno
Sponsors: Mural Fest 2K7, Graffiti Art Programming
Painters: Vincent Shorting, Nelson Catcheway, Eugene Boittiaux, Steve Castel
Jesse Reno: "It's not that often that you get the opportunity to paint something this big.
It's sweet to have something up in the public domain where anybody can see it. It's not
tucked away in a gallery where only a sliver of society sees it. Plus it gives you a giant
place to put your ideas and energy. It's cool to be respected and to have an impact. A
ton of my work is influenced by aboriginal peoples- I'm inspired by them. So it's sweet
to have a community like that here that will observe it on a regular basis."
"There's a phoenix which is rebirth, growth; a heart for love. Love equals expansion -
it's all growing upwards. You can accomplish things beyond your own means. The
whale is a power animal. And there's a head floating above. He's growing a third eye
because he's aware of himself. The whole thing is saying remember where you came
from; rise up to your potential. There are people around here that need a helping hand
and this positive message. I'm feeling pretty good about the message, colour and shape
of the Mural. The colours mesh the way I like and the shapes look correct."
"Around the whale there's roots all tangled. Arrows symbolize growth. The roots
symbolize going back to your roots and recognizing where you came from, who you are
and how you got there and became that. From there you've got this floating head as if
you could exceed yourself and your own person and become something above yourself.
There's more arrows there that show that even if you reach this higher level, there's
another level that you can always be reaching for."
"I've got words scrawled in the back: respect, reach, growth, love. To the right is the
cobra. Snakes are always a symbol of wisdom. And then the world below it with all the
flowers and growth and the idea that if you have all this you can actually do something to
your surroundings and maybe change the world, or, at least change your own world.
Once again arrows are shooting of in all directions, standing for unknown positive
growth, rising up. Also throughout the design are symbols of measures and of weight- the
measure of what your potential is; and the weight of knowing that you're in charge of
your own life. Don't blame other people- it's about you stepping up to your full ability."
"The world at the bottom is the planet, or your habitat or environment, your household,
your immediate life or the life that is still beyond you- it all depends on how far you're
expanding. That's what I generally try to do with my work- leave it open to
interpretation. It's all loose so other people can make their own assumptions and tie it to
their own life. That's why I use so many open, symbolic elements."
"I'm very much into ancient cultures and first peoples and the way they lived, why they
made art. Money never came into it! People were doing things from inside for spiritual
reasons, to try to reach or explain something beyond their own words. I have huge
empathy for aboriginal peoples the world over; and I get upset about it all the time-
what's happened to them, how they were the caretakers of the world. They could have
lived for eternity if they stayed in charge: we wouldn't have global warming, or act the
way we do to each other. I don't think we would be on this path we're on- we'd be
connected, we'd understand the weight of death instead of killing each other. Aboriginal
peoples were in synch, they knew. That's why they put the animals above other things
and treat them as symbols to explain and understand. And they respected the earth."