“Yay, networking,” my artist wife said last September.

She was sitting in the corner of our living room in her navy blue easy chair. She had completed a mural the previous week. In my super casual, completely stealth, I’m-hunting-for-story-inspiration way, I was asking her about how the opportunity had come about in the first place.

Apparently, the opportunity to paint this mural came about quickly. And it came with the added pleasure of collaborating with another artist. 

In fact, you might have met her co-muralist, Shelby, in a recent Artist Spotlight (new artist feature published every Tuesday ?).

This mural was to be installed shortly after a mural festival, Mural Massive, that takes place in Edmonton’s most vibrant arts district. The organizer of that festival was an artist collective organization called MINBID. Both my wife and her co-muralist had loose connections with this organization. 

The mural was to be completed for a vibrant and historic community league in Edmonton, Alberta. The project would leverage some of the supplies and equipment leftover from the mural festival in the neighboring arts district. This would help reduce the overall cost to the community league while still ensuring the artists contributions were valued monetarily. Win-win.

My wife and her co-muralist have quite distinct and not-obviously-cohesive styles. Shelby does intricate, detailed animal paintings and my wife does abstract, colorful concepts.

However, in a matter of a few short weeks, they seamlessly integrated their distinct styles, co-designed, and painted this one-of-a-kind mural.

“There was some back and forth between Shelby and I, but it came together quickly,” my wife explained to me. “I took the color palette from the community league’s logo, I took the map from Google Maps, and I took sketches of Shelby’s animals. I took it all on my iPad and whipped up the sketches.”

The mural ended up being huge, literally. It was 15 feet tall and a whopping 60 feet across, not including the wraparound portion that extended the mural around the northwest corner of the exterior of the community hall.

The mural on the Ritchie Community League building in Edmonton, Alberta — a seamless integration of two distinct artistic styles.

It took the duo several days to paint the mural. That doesn’t include the evening spent tracing it onto the wall from a giant projection and the several meetings with the community league leadership to ensure the concept was what the community desired.

For the weekend-long mural installation, these two artists parked themselves on the west edge of an amenity-filled community park adjacent to the community hall. They were steps away from the playground and a splash park. (That’s where I would have spent my time, if I had been there.)

With 90s hits reverberating on a Bluetooth speaker (hello “Wannabe”), they ordered copious amounts of food and coffee — all the coffee — from Skip The Dishes (for my American readers, think Uber Eats).

The mural took an incredible 12 gallons of paint to complete!

A full three gallons of that was blue paint. Another two gallons was white with the remaining seven gallons being made up of green, yellow, pink, purple, orange, and black.

“Oh, and we had a turquoise-y color, too,” my artist wife added. 

Of course she had a turquoise-y color. If it weren’t for turquoise and related blues and greens, she would have been out of the art business before she got in. 

But, for my artist wife, this mural represented one of her first true monetarily successful professional collaborations. And it came about because of relationships she had developed over her years in the art business and a willingness for all parties to find a win-win scenario.

As she so eloquently put it, “Yay, networking.”

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