Baby it’s cold outside
It’s cold. This isn’t breaking news by any stretch of the imagination, it’s winter in a Canadian prairie City afterall. But since the beginning of February, Edmonton has been REALLY cold:
You can see Edmonton has been colder than average, but this graph doesn’t tell the whole story. For those reading that don’t know what wind chill is, it is basically an actual feel of a temperature when you factor in wind speeds. In a City like the one in which I live, winds are coming from the Arctic and bringing with them all the cold air it has. It’s why on some days, Edmonton is actually colder than the north pole even though it’s way further south. Hope Santa is enjoying his balmy weather.
Here is an amended graph that shows the actual temperatures with wind chill:
Basically, for the last two weeks, the outside temperature has been anywhere between -28 and -41 degrees Celsius.
It’s times like these that really test a pedestrian’s mettle. Going outside requires careful planning and bundling, a lot of hope and maybe even some prayer if you’re into that kind of thing.
Winter is nothing new though, and other than circumstances like the past two weeks, I generally enjoy it. There’s something kind of cleansing about winter; the snow and ice cover everything before melting and washing away the previous year in preparation for the new one. In spring everything kind of starts over as humans (like bears) end their hibernation and vegetation becomes colourful again.
Before that colour arrives though, it’s very monochromatic – a non-sexual 50 shades of grey essentially. Trees are devoid of leaves and everything else covered in snow. But this distinct lack of colour in the natural environment helps bring out the colours of the built environment, specifically murals.
Murals, both legal and illegal, have grown in popularity since they first appeared in the 1960s. The rise has been higher in the past 10 years with the prominence of street artists like Banksy gaining worldwide fame. In Edmonton, that’s no different – murals have been popping up all over the City as a way to brighten up the blank facades of many buildings that modernism brought us.
There are a lot of examples popping up that I’ve only noticed recently – maybe I’m more perceptive in the winter, or maybe they just look better against the white and grey backdrop. These murals are ranging from the small-sale:
To the large scale:
The day I took this picture was -32 degrees Celsius with the wind chill. The people running are dedicated. Or this is the last picture of them ever taken.
The mural above was funded by the City’s Art Council.
Those last two examples were completed by different Spanish street artists (PichiAvo & Okuda San Miguel, respectively), and are fantastic. They are heralded as great examples of legitimate street art by the City, and rightfully so. The one before it is the work of a San Diego-based artist. The rest are a combination of local and unknown artists, and to me that is the beauty of street art – it’s less about the artist and more about the message/art. There has even been an influx of colour from local “artists” in a space I’ve talked about before:
I’m not positive whoever did that had permission to do so, but it looks interesting against the colourless surroundings.
Having a variety of murals created by local and international artists throughout the city brings up the level of public art, and makes the pedestrian experience slightly more enjoyable during the long winter months, at least visually.