Graffiti mural transforms the Agnes Etherington Art Centre

Mural revitalizes the Agnes while showcasing graffiti as an art form

Image by: Curtis Heinzl
The mural is on display at the Agnes on Bader Lane.

A group of artists have come together to transform the exterior of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. Transformations, a commissioned graffiti piece, embraces the popping colours of street art in what is an eye-catching addition to campus for the upcoming academic year. 

EronOne, a Kingston-based artist who worked on the mural, said the desire to install artwork on the exterior of the Agnes initiated the project. The group of artists and the Art Director of the Agnes discussed the possibility of exploring graffiti.

“We started talking about graffiti, and we got six [artists] together to paint the exterior,” EronOne said in an interview with The Journal. “So, really it was just an idea to showcase artwork that really wouldn’t otherwise be showcased at a gallery.”

Oriah Scott, the curator of the project, reached out to EronOne to get involved in the mural. The team responsible for Transformations consists of artists based in Kingston, Toronto, and Montreal. Each artist worked on separate pieces of the mural but collaborated on bringing it all together. 

Commenting on the piece’s composition, EronOne noted a progression in the graffiti. The top of the mural begins with street-level graffiti before shifting to full-colour pieces near the bottom. These full-colour designs are his favourite part of the mural.

“I like all the characters in it,” EronOne said. “I like all the colours, that’s probably my favourite part: how colourful it is.”

Spray paint has always been EronOne’s preferred medium, stemming from his love of colour and graffiti.

“Ever since I saw graffiti on a train here or in another city, there’s always been that wow factor to it for me.”

Although graffiti as an art form has been omitted from the widely accepted artistic canon, EronOne is hopeful for its future popularity.

“It’s getting more accepted and appreciated in general in the art world,” he said. “You see it a lot more now.”

The significance of the piece is to showcase graffiti and aerosol art in Kingston to a broader audience. EronOne said it’s an incredibly unique piece, one which is rare amongst art galleries.

“I don’t know if [graffiti] has been showcased on that level anywhere,” he said. “I don’t know if there’s any other art galleries that are on the level of the Agnes that have graffiti on the outside of them.”

Graffiti remains an underrepresented art form within galleries and collections. Commenting on its underappreciation, EronOne points out the public nature of graffiti—it’s an art form mainly occupying public spaces, causing it to struggle finding a home in art galleries.

“Graffiti is a broad spectrum,” he said. “Some of it, people aren’t even doing it to showcase it at a gallery. It just is what it is. 

EronOne hopes that students and the Kingston community can find something in the mural that they relate to or speaks to them. Above all, though, he hopes it will bring joy to those who interact with the mural.

“I hope it […] just brightens their day, like we brightened up the building,” he said. “People were coming up and taking selfies as we were painting it, so when it’s something like that, it’s an attraction that people can put on social media.”

“However people want to enjoy it, I just hope it brightens people’s day, because you can see it from blocks away.”

EronOne thinks the piece will be a big draw for the Agnes heading into the school year. He says the addition will raise awareness for the gallery and encourage new visitors to step inside. 

“I think people who might not have known what the building is, now they’re goinna want to know.”

To learn more about the Agnes Etherington Art Centre and their exhibitions or view their hours, visit their website here.

Tags

Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Art, Graffiti, Mural

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