Second youth mural project focuses on elements
Walking into the loft studio at the Little Beaver Cultural Centre here, you enter a different world filled with glittery and feather-filled paper cranes, massive colourful canvases, cans of paint, and shelves of supplies, along with 12 eager youngsters working hard at their own mural under the supervision of local artist Lindsay Joy Hamilton.
It’s organized chaos—with multiple paint cans the floor, the ceiling and walls marked with where the students have signed their names, and music blaring from the main level of the building.
Most were painting, but some still were busy sketching on the couch or bed placed near the centre of the room.
Max Sovereign, 14, who sports bright orange hair, was eager to share what they were working on.
“The theme is elements, and there is a triangle shape to represent each alchemic symbol for each element—the four elements being earth, air, fire, and water,” he explained.
“I’m working on air, with the owl,” he noted.
“There’s a main figure per triangle, so there’s a dragon that represents fire, the owl represents air, there’s a light bulb with a tree inside to represent earth, and an abstract mermaid to represent water.
“Lindsay is an awesome instructor, and so is our helper [Confederation College summer student Taylor Hartlin],” Sovereign added.
“We’re having so much fun, and I can’t wait to come back next year!”
Hamilton also only had good things to say about the project.
“I’m really glad that Confederation College asked me to come back and teach this class again,” she remarked.
“The first one was so successful [and] the first one [mural] is up at the ’52 Canadians Arena.”
The decision on where the current mural will hang has not been finalized yet, but the hope is it will be placed where it can be enjoyed by the everyone.
“This is the second year . . . and I really find that this age group is awesome to work with,” Hamilton said.
“They have a sophisticated handling of the materials, yet they still have that youthful imagination and creativity that you don’t necessarily find in adults,” she noted.
Hamilton said she guides the students, but that “they execute it.”
“I try to give them a broad theme in which they can find their own voice,” she explained. “It’s more about them finding their voice and executing their own work than me telling them how I would do it.”
Hamilton stopped to examine a drawing of a skull one boy had just completed.
“That’s rad!” she exclaimed.
Another student leaned over and added it had to go on the mural.
“This class is very self-directed,” Hamilton reiterated. “I’ll teach them techniques when they come up, for example, the stencil spray paint.
“I didn’t know a week ago that that was going to happen.
“They just said, ‘We need birds, for air and how can we do it differently?’ and so we learn it as we go.
“The kids are meant to direct themselves, but they need to be invested in it,” she stressed.
“It’s not easy work making a whole mural in five days.”