A local artist will immortalize Victoria’s most marginalized groups as part of a new city program to beautify graffiti hotspots downtown.
Twenty-two-year-old Jesse Campbell is one of six local artists and 18 youth who have been selected to create murals downtown and in Victoria neighbourhoods as part of the Create Community Colour Mural Program.
The program, a partnership between the city and the United Way Greater Victoria, pairs professional artists with two or more youth ages 14 to 20 to collaboratively produce 10 colourful murals.
Campbell will incorporate urban contemporary and geometric pieces on the back of 506 Fort St.
While Campbell is still finalizing what the mural will look like, he said it will represent the most marginalized groups in the area including the homeless and addicts. Through a tree, it will include pastels such as red, green, blues, white and yellow.
For Campbell, the theme of the mural is one that hits close to home.
When he was in high school, he struggled with addiction. Whenever he felt strung out, he would take walks around downtown Victoria and local neighbourhoods.
Checking out graffiti at the Trackside Gallery in Esquimalt and the Wildfire Bakery gave Campbell a reason to get out of his room and away from drugs.
“It gave me something to look forward to seeing. That physical process of moving around really helped me get back to myself,” said Campbell. “Then I’d go back home and sketch a bit. It’s been a game-changer.”
Since then, Campbell has been involved in several mural projects including the Unity Wall at Ogden Point and the mural at Open Space.
Now, he will have the opportunity to share his techniques with 21-year-old Nate Churchill, who he will mentor as part of the program.
“It provides an avenue for people to create art and brings it outside of the gallery. By bringing different styles, types of people, techniques, services, it really brings the possibility out into the public,” Campbell said. “Even though not everyone in the community is interested in art, it provides something other than a blank wall for people to look at which is really enriching to the downtown core as a whole.”
The duo will begin working on the mural at the end of January and expect to have it finished at the end of spring.
Artists Jamin Cook Zuroski, Luke Ramsey, Shawn Shepherd, Jody DeSchutter and Christine White will also be creating murals downtown.