Katie Green: On Local Street Art

Katie Green, 27, of Calgary, Alta, swallowed a penny when she was five, has a fascination with birds, and has never had a nose bleed.

Green is an artist and works with the city of Calgary painting mailboxes and utility boxes

Green has most recently worked on The City Centre Banner Program.

Banners placed on a Bridge in Calgary, Alta, near the Fort Calgary Building.

The city of Calgary website explains The Banner program was designed to help enhance the downtown streetscape and make it a more vibrant, colourful place-making statement.

The program connects and engages with local artist who will create the artwork for the banners.

Stereotypes are often put on graffiti such as “it’s not art” “it looks bad” “gangsters do it to be bad”, but people hardly ever look at it from the perspective of “that kid doesn’t have a canvas at home” or “that kid has a creative eye and created something that makes us all think”

Green says, “I think there are a lot of stereotypes around what graffiti is and that it is often not viewed as a form of art”.

She has painted street art murals before and people have tagged over them. It can be frustrating for the artist but Green tries to see the bright side.

“Though it’s upsetting for a moment, it’s also part of the process. These pieces are for the public. How ever they end of being interpreted is now out of my control.”

According to the city of Calgary website, the city launched a pilot program called The Utility Box Program. This project was initially launched to reduce the amount of graffiti in the city.

Green has worked with the city and its project to paint the utility boxes in hoped to prevent graffiti. The project is a success and has benefitted the city.

A Utility box painted in Kensington, Calgary, Alta. Part of the Utility Box Program.

Although Green works with the city to paint utility boxes to prevent graffiti she does not think it is a bad thing or should be completely prevented.

“I think the more we try to prevent it the more it encourages.”

 Green has done some aboard projects in Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, and Berlin.

Last year she was in Berlin doing residency projects. While in Berlin she found some graffiti scenes that really seemed to express the individual artist.

      “I remember being so inspired by the ‘graffiti’ scene in Berlin. It seemed as though there were no limits; that the tagging was totally integrated into the urban landscape. There was no resistance and that there was a fair space for these individuals to express themselves.”

Green’s role in the city is to integrate community engagement as a new way to generate ideas and involve the public.

Green feels that the most significant thing about her art and city is that she can create conversations or engage people around her. She proud of her art and is happy it is used as a positive community engagement.

 

“Graffiti, it gets people thinking. Hopefully it pushes people to interpret their environment differently.”

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