Colourful art really does furnish a fence! Every person I see walking by has a smile on their face. I’m so glad I got to be in touch with each artist about their work – I’ve learned a lot about my neighbours and their deep creativity. Every week I realize how much of a gift this is to the neighbourhood.
The world through the eyes of an artist
Smita Meinzinger lives on Union Street, Kitchener with her husband, young son and two fur babies. As you might gather from her mural, she is inspired by all things floral, and neon!
“My inspiration for this mural is to reflect the sometimes chaotic but fascinating mind of an artist; it can be a beautiful mess sometimes. I often see the world in design; the curvature of the leaves, the texture of flora, the colour palettes in our natural world. The girl in the yellow shirt is to reflect the youthfulness in being spontaneous and playful with art; she’s much like I see myself, especially when immersed in art. Seeing the world through an artist’s eyes, in my case, is often neon, bold, obscure and satisfying.”
Currently, Smita is an aspiring surface pattern designer, creating seamless repeat patterns to be printed on fabric for others to create and play with.
And, this was her first mural, ever!
Nicole lives on Shanley Street in a house across the street from the Electrohome Development.
She was inspired by Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” a concept album released by the band in 1979 in which the main character envisions isolating himself from the world with a wall.
“My concept is that the wall gets torn down revealing beautiful light. This brings the people out of their darkness, uniting them,” Nicole says.
I love the silhouettes cheering and welcoming the light. Nicole mentioned that each silhouette has its own story. Among them are her kids, Kenny and Josie.
Garden of memories
I was so pleased that I recognized so many of the flowers and bushes in this mural. The lushness of the image reminds me of the enormous gardens tended by my in-laws who live in Elmira.
Brenda grew up on Shanley Street and lives just a couple doors from the Electrohome site, on the same side of the street. This mural includes flowers grown by her grandparents (on both sides) and their neighbours over the past 100 years.
“Seriously, I can date some from family photos and history. They are heritage flowers. Each plant has a story. There are some that still exist now,” Brenda told me in an email.
The two bridal wreath spirea bushes (white, middle left) are, at minimum 100 years old. The pine tree in the back (right) was planted by her father. The two birch trees sit between her own house and the neighbour’s but they aren’t that old.
The picket fence in the mural is one she can in her neighbour’s front yard across the street. It has been there in some form for at least 70 years.
When Brenda canvassed her neighbours about what their parents and grandparents grew, peonies were the flowers most often mentioned by people (bottom left).
Brenda has given the community a gift of garden memories, adding that “the flowers are part of the most ephemeral history of the neighbourhood.” No one will ever know that they were there, except you and me, now thanks to Brenda’s mural.
Brenda has been enjoying all of the murals this summer but felt it important to say, “I smile every time I think of walking or driving down Shanley St., in the winter, in a blizzard, and seeing that oasis of colour appear.”