July 16, 2014 - 4:27 PM
KAMLOOPS - A recent high school graduate is beautifying the city one concrete barrier or utility box at a time.
Haley Hughes has volunteered her time and talent to help add colour and life to the more mundane objects at Riverside Park, the objects often targeted by graffiti tags.
The 18-year-old just graduated this year from the Beattie School of Arts with a specific interest in media and digital arts but she says she loves painting and drawing flowers too. It was that love that led her to the free form designs she used at a concrete barrier near the parking lot behind Interior Savings Centre and the large utility box close to the Rotary Bandshell.
“I knew she was good,” Graffiti Task Force Executive Director Ronnie Bouvier says. “I didn’t know she was this good.”
Bouvier is always trying to involve youth in her program. She asked Hughes to come down and do the barrier first. The task force had limited paints (donated by a sponsor) and offered the young woman stencils to help her plan out her design.
“She politely declined,” Bouvier laughs. “When I called this young lady I hit the jackpot, I really did.”
Hughes says she usually focuses on people and character design, such as anime, but flowers are a favourite of hers.
“I love painting flowers. I can run over to the gardens and pick my flowers to paint,” she says. “Roses are my favourite. It stemmed from that.”
While the concrete barrier took her just two and a half hours to complete she was given closer to six to complete the large utility box. She started with some rough ideas and ‘ran around the box a couple of times’ to figure out what exactly she would do on each side.
“It kind of flows from there,” she says. “I ran around, it got hectic at the end. I mixed colours on my paint brushes and the colours looked really good when I mixed it. It made it more poppy, more my style.”
She is somewhat concerned about graffiti but hopes most people ‘aren’t that mean.’
“I don’t think many people go out of their way to tag other pieces of art,” she says. “But if they do…. I’ll just have to repaint it or something.”
Hughes says she likes to have her art out where people can see it, which was part of why this project appealed to her. She has had her art displayed at school events and has even painted a ceiling tile for the hospital as part of an extra curricular project.
She plans on attending university in Vancouver for illustration and design but will take some time helping on these types of projects as she is called in and hopes to continue doing more commission work through her website as well.
“It seems like a really cool thing to do,” she notes. “It was a good experience and I like painting things people can see.”
To contact a reporter for this story, email Jennifer Stahn at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-819-3723. To contact an editor, email email@example.com or call 250-718-2724.
The work of Haley Hughes at one entrance to Riverside Park.
(JENNIFER STAHN /InfoTel Multimedia)
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