A Thunder Bay youth art group took part in a large public painting project in partnership with Mac’s Convenience stores and the City of Thunder Bay’s Crime Prevention Council from May 1-5.
The Paint Bomb the Mac’s project had the Definitely Superior Art Gallery’s youth art collective Die Active paint the back and side of the Mac’s Convenience store located on 346 May Street North in Thunder Bay. The large-scale contemporary wall art painting was designed and painted by eight Die Active youth following mentorship workshops and training at Definitely Superior Art Gallery.
Among the Die Active members is Jordan Meekis, a Sandy Lake First Nation member who attends Sir Winston Churchill Collegiate and Vocational Institute in Thunder Bay. Meekis became involved when his art teacher recommended he take part in the project.
“He knew I was into that stuff so he recommended I take part,” said Meekis, who turns 18 in June.
Meekis said he always liked drawing and carries a sketchbook.
“I would draw in it when class got boring,” he said with a laugh.
The Paint Bomb the Mac’s project was Meekis’ first time painting, which proved to have its challenges.
“I didn’t like using the stencils,” he said. “I thought it was too hard, so I just went freehand with the spray paint.”
Meekis was given a section of the wall to paint with whatever he wanted, so he painted a woman figure atop an octopus with other figures in between.
“It’s from a sketchbook so I thought it would be cool to put it up there,” he said. “We just try to mesh all of our art styles together to fill up the space.”
Meekis said the project has inspired him to be involved in art.
“Hopefully I can do more for the community and try to get art out there,” he said. After he graduates high school Meekis is thinking of going to college for fine arts or graphic design.
The Paint Bomb the Mac’s project culminated May 5 with an unveiling and back alley party at the Mac’s Convenience Store location. The party featured break dancing and performances by Aboriginal DJ Classic Roots.
The Paint Bomb the Mac’s project is a pilot project developed in celebration of youth, community and arts in Thunder Bay, coinciding with National Youth Arts Week (May 1-7). It also launches the Die Active collective into the start of their fourth season of free and in-depth youth arts programming.
Established to give youth an opportunity to express their artistic voices and engage the community of Thunder Bay, Die Active is a youth collective of more than 300 artists.
The group mentors youth on the artist-run model of working as a collective by encouraging them to bring a series of practical collective contemporary art projects into fruition, involving free art workshops.
Past years have seen the creation of the city’s largest collaborative wall art/murals, including the creation of the multi-disciplinary Die Active Zine publication which is distributed nationally, an annual Y-Art Sale, art interventions at the Marina, Bike Lane Launch, Superior Youth Festival, and the Thunder Pride Festival.
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