Local artist views Vancouver Mural Festival as her "big break" (PHOTOS)

Jul 30 2019, 6:04 am

Picture this: After years of working on your craft, you’re finally offered your “big break” as an artist.

That’s how one local illustrator feels being one of the artists in the 2019 Vancouver Mural Festival kicking off Thursday, August 1 until August 10.

In a phone interview with Daily Hive Vancouver, Mural Artist Olivia Di Liberto said she moved to Vancouver four years ago from Calgary after doing some travelling, “I went on a big road trip, I bought a big camper van and drove down to California about five years ago and that’s kind of where I was really inspired and got my style from — just seeing the history there and the vibe of the West Coast so that’s really where my style developed.”

Photo courtesy of Olivia Di Liberto

“My illustration style references a lot [of] the counterculture of the 60s and 70s, so the psychedelic movement of that time,” she said.

Last year, Di Liberto said she got a small taste of the mural festival after she was invited to do a live painting with other artists in a small stall of a parking lot, “so this year took me by surprise a lot.”

Di Liberto said that when she applied to be a mural artist for the festival, she didn’t expect to be picked, “I’ve done really small walls, in stores and stuff like that… but really small scale, so this is my first big outdoor mural.”

Photo courtesy of Olivia Di Liberto

Photo courtesy of Olivia Di Liberto

Di Liberto describes her mural, called Cosmic Breeze located on W 3rd Avenue and Ontario Street, as a contemporary take on the 60s and 70s eras, “there’s a lot of elements from nature and space combined.”

Cosmic Breeze isn’t meant to spread a message, but “it’s about the feeling the person gets when they look at it, like a nostalgic feeling of a certain time,” she said “the colour palette and the graphic elements, the illustrative elements are meant to shoot you back in time.”

Photo courtesy of Olivia Di Liberto

“My dream is to be a mural artist”

“I feel like [Vancouver Mural Festival] just gonna kind of put my career into that path that I’ve always wanted to go into,” Di Liberto said, “I’m hoping that I will be able to do murals around the world. I want to travel and put my art on more buildings in different places.”

Di Liberto said after she decided to move to Vancouver on her way back to Canada from California, she went to school for graphic design and after meeting artists, decided to move into a new van that she bought, “I just always thought that Vancouver was the perfect place to do that because a lot of people do it,” adding “I can’t afford rent so it’s just an easier way for me to actually sustain myself while trying to do art in Vancouver.”

For the past two years, Di Liberto said she’s been living off of her art, “I don’t have a full-time job, so I’m trying to focus on my art, so I have to live really cheaply, so that’s how I do it.”

All photos courtesy Olivia Di Liberto

All photos courtesy Olivia Di Liberto

“It’s not for everyone,” she said. “It comes with a lot of hardships for sure, but I have a lot of really supportive people in my life so it’s easier because of them, they like to help me out a lot but I love it because I can just leave whenever I want, and I can go camping, I can travel, I don’t have any ties, and that’s what I love — and it’s just interesting, you meet a lot of interesting people, or like-minded people, who do the same thing.”

For artists who are inspired to participate in the Vancouver Mural Festival in the future, Di Liberto said her biggest piece of advice is to “put as much time as you can and kind of get obsessed with your art and creating art,” and, “to not let fear get in your way, so don’t doubt yourself, don’t question yourself, just do it and something will come of it — and don’t put too much pressure on yourself when you’re creating.”

Mural artists from across the globe and locally are participating in this year’s event:

Fintan Magee

Vancouver Mural Festival

Street artist/muralist from Australia, Magee’s work is known for tackling environmental issues. At VMF, Magee is painting a 15-storey building at Kingsway and 11th.

ONEQ

Vancouver Mural Festival

From Japan, ONEQ is a painter, muralist, illustrator, and graffiti artist, whose work is described as vibrant, unique, and redefining the modern pin-up. The mural artist will be painting a massive wall at 35 E. 3rd.

Medianeras

Vancouver Mural Festival

A female duo from Argentina, Vanesa Galdeano and Analí Chanquía, have been creating street art together for 10 years. 

SatOne

Vancouver Mural Festival

A German Street Artist who is known for creating futuristic graffiti of imaginary worlds and abstract forms.

Charlie Edmiston

Vancouver Mural Festival

From Los Angeles, Edmiston began his career as a graffiti artist who worked in a variety of styles, including large-scale murals, colourful hard-edge paintings and bold design graphics.

Sonny Green

Vancouver Mural Festival

A first time muralist out of Australia, Green is also an Aboriginal artist.

Shepard Fairey 

Image courtesy of Larissa Dundon.

American graphic artist and social activist, best known for his Barack Obama ‘Hope’ poster for the 2008 US election, and will be painting a 20-storey building in downtown Vancouver on W.Georgia near Burrard in collaboration for the Burrard Arts Foundation’s Surface Series in collaboration with Vancouver Mural Festival.

Alex Joukov

Vancouver Mural Festival

A local artist who sells prints online.

Carmen Chan

Vancouver Mural Festival

First time muralist from Vancouver, Chan is a traditional Chinese watercolour painter.

Debra Sparrow

Vancouver Mural Festival

A Musqueam weaver and graphic designer, Sparrow is from Vancouver and is working on the VMF’s Blanketing the City series, a three-part mural series celebrating Coast Salish weaving.

Eva Eskelinen

Vancouver Mural Festival

Local first-time muralist, known for being a cartoonist and concept artist.

Kathy Ager

Vancouver Mural Festival

Canadian artist based between Vancouver, Lisbon, and Amsterdam, Ager is an oil painter and first-time muralist.

KC Hall

Vancouver Mural Festival

Indigenous artist of Bella Bella in Heiltsuk Nation territory on the central coast of BC, belongs to the House of Wakas and descends from noted Heiltsuk artist Chief Robert Bell. Hall’s artistic practise stems from secondary school: handwriting, lettering, and graffiti skills.

Pablo Zamudio

Vancouver Mural Festival

Local self-taught artist, and first-time muralist, Zamudio is also the owner and curator of El Kartel. 

Pamella Pinard

Vancouver Mural Festival

Illustrator and graphic designer in Vancouver.

Sebastian Curi

Vancouver Mural Festival

A first time muralist, Curi is an illustrator and animator in Vancouver.

Siobhan Joseph

Vancouver Mural Festival

Vancouver Mural Festival

Coast Salish artist and first-time muralist. 

Syd Danger

Vancouver Mural Festival

A local illustrator and designer, Creative Director and Co-Publisher of SAD Magazine, and an Art Director at Good Fortune Collective.

William Liao 

Vancouver Mural Festival

Vancouver Mural Festival

Fine artist (painting) who specializes in portraits and landscapes, participating as part of the VMF community projects in partnership with the Federation of Canadian Artists.

Cool Combo One

Vancouver Mural Festival

Local graffiti artist.

Slate

Vancouver Mural Festival

Local graffiti artist.

Uncle O

Vancouver Mural Festival

Local graffiti artist.

Expel

Vancouver Mural Festival

Vancouver Mural Festival

Local graffiti artist.

Lunar

Vancouver Mural Festival

Vancouver Mural Festival

Local graffiti artist.

Daily Hive is a proud media sponsor of the 2019 Vancouver Mural Festival