Graffiti leaves a mark on Fernie

A graffiti artist visited Fernie last weekend to demonstrate his ideas of what public art should be.

David Brunning works on a large canvas at The Arts Station as part of a workshop he taught on the weekend. Photo by M. Cole

A graffiti artist visited Fernie last weekend to demonstrate his ideas of what public art should be.

The Calgary artist, David Brunning, or “TheKidBelo,” came to Fernie to teach a workshop called Graffiti – Public Art: Personal Space, at The Arts Station.

“I was really a late bloomer when it came to getting in to graffiti art. When I first picked up a can to paint I was 19 years old,” he said. “But I had been drawing what I thought was graffiti, my idea of what graffiti was, for two years before that.”

As a kid in Edmonton, he became involved in skateboarding and snowboarding, which got him interested in the hip-hop culture.

“I was rapping and freestyling, and living a different kind of life. I didn’t make the best choices growing up, I got involved with stupid stuff, and luckily I got out of it at the same time I got into graffiti, which was smart, it kind of saved me,” he said.

It was the images of subway graffiti art in the back pages of Source Magazine that got Brunning interested in graffiti.

His artistic style has changed a lot since his first piece, which he has integrated into a design for a t-shirt he made for The Arts Station.

“My style is really clean. I’ve always been into being really clean and precise. And even when I didn’t paint well I wanted to be clean,” he said, “The letters didn’t look good back then, they looked OK, but they look a lot better now. Now I’m just breaking boundaries.”

He said that he adds more colour to his work now, plays with dimension and also experiments with letterform.

Like all art, Brunning acknowledges that there is good and bad graffiti art.

“A lot of people’s ideas of graffiti art are just negative. They don’t understand it and then when they see it on their fence, it’s just really crappy, chicken scratches on the side of a building. It just doesn’t fit,” he said.

“Fernie is interesting. I drove in here and I’m looking around and I see all of these old buildings. I thought ‘OK, this is a quaint, neat town,’ and then I’m looking at the graffiti and I’m thinking, ‘You’re kidding me. This doesn’t fit,’” said Brunning.

On January 3, The Arts Station put out a call for entry for it’s public art program.

“We’re looking for submissions for two pieces of public art. One is valued at $13,000 and the other is valued at $3,500,” said Oz Parsons, The Arts Station administrator.

Parsons said that the $3,500 piece is intended to be a collaborative piece involving schools and service organizations, with the goal of making it a group event.

“The thing with public art is that you won’t please everyone,” said Brunning. “In a small town like Fernie, you need to know what the community likes. You may need to have something that’s a landscape, something that’s an abstract, something that’s graffiti.

“There should be a vibrancy. Just get artists that are talented and that know what they are doing. If I was the town of Fernie I would find a way, through the B.C. government or through private people, to start funding and bringing in international and national artists to doing amazing artwork. This town needs it.”

The artwork done by the participants of the workshop will be on display as part of an exhibit opening on January 27 at 7 p.m. Each of the eight students had the opportunity to create a painting of a letter of the word graffiti.

The exhibit will also showcase a video shot by one of the participants during a trip to Europe, which features some of the graffiti he and his wife saw on the trip.

TheKidBelo has also donated a painting, which will be on display in the exhibit.

The deadline for the public art program’s call for entry is February 25. For more information contact The Arts Station at 250-423-4842.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fernie SAR responds to two calls this weekend

The calls reported an injured mountain biker and an abandoned kayak

The Fernie Academy hosts virtual art show

The school’s annual Mother’s Day Art Show went online through The Arts Station

Funding available for Elk Valley charities coping with COVID-19

Almost $110,000 is set aside to be distributed by the Community Foundation of the Kootenay Rockies

Elk Valley businesses reopen after months of closures

Opening with restrictions, local services keep health and safety a priority

Mental health and COVID-19: going forward

Dr. Tyla Charbonneau offers some mental health advice for moving into our new normal

VIDEO: Injured bald eagle rescued in B.C. First Nations community

Bird suspected injured in fight, whisked off to Coquitlam rehab

‘I’m afraid’: Witnesses of wolf attack on senior near Prince Rupert worried about safety

Frank Russ shows where the unprovoked wolf attacked his father

Protesters prepare to rally against racism in front of Vancouver Art Gallery

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Tens of thousands marched to protest the death of George Floyd

WorkBC programs help remedy pandemic employment woes

The WorkBC Centre Fernie is offering a host of programs to help employers and employees

Join Kootenay family in virtual walk for Ronald McDonald House

“We always described it as our oasis in the middle of the desert,” Brigitte Ady shares.

Most Read