New mural in Whitehorse steers clear of ‘traditional Yukon themes’

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25-year-old Asia Hyde is the designer and illustrator behind the new downtown Whitehorse mural. Hyde said she stayed away from “standard Whitehorse mural themes”, wanting her art to be more imaginative and less historical.

“It’s still a bit of a Yukon. A bit of a fantasy and a bit of a whimsy,” she said.

The Road Dogs Music parking lot mural was part of the second annual Wonderhorse, Emerging Arts and Music festival. The unveiling of the mural took place on Saturday afternoon, shortly before a pop-up music concert by musicians Franklin and Antarticus.

Although the festival does not have a formal selection process for murals, Jona Barr, board member of the Society of Something Shows which organizes the festival, said the team is looking for young artists locals who create “exciting” art.

“Asia and her team were so amazing and hardworking,” Barr said. “It was a real honor to work with them and see the thought and care they put into the mural.”

This is Hyde’s first large-scale painting.

“Working on this project was a great opportunity to expand my repertoire,” she said.

Hyde said she only had a week to complete the 12ft by 60ft mural.

“I’m usually not comfortable working on large pieces. Having a deadline for that definitely helped pace the progress of the piece,” said the artist, who completed the painting. mural on Thursday before its unveiling.

Hyde’s mural is outside the Coffee Shop and Road Dogs Music at 3165 3rd Avenue, Whitehorse. (Sissi De Flaviis/CBC)

Hyde studied arts at the University of Alberta and has been freelancing around Whitehorse since his final semester in 2020.

“I would love to do more murals if I get the chance,” she said.

The inspiration behind the fresco

Hyde’s art typically incorporates elements of folklore, flora, or fauna.

For her recent piece, she said she wanted to reflect a nautical landscape.

“I wanted to come up with something relaxing that a lot of people could enjoy, so we ended up with fish, a really big fish, and a really small island,” said the Whitehorse-born artist.

The painting features large fish in and out of the surface of the water and a small island surrounded by cherry blossoms. The mural comes in different shades of blue, orange, hot pink, and purple tones.

midday coffee5:08A new mural in downtown Whitehorse will be part of the Wonderhorse Festival

The artist describes it as fantasy because she wanted to stay away from traditional Yukon historical themes.

“With the color palette, I kind of wanted to do something more whimsical, not photorealistic in any way,” said Hyde, who explained that the meaning of the mural was up for interpretation.

While the art depicts bright and playful colors, painting it came with some challenges.

First, the wall has two different textures. While most of the work is done on the lower half of the wall, some parts go into the gravel shaped section.

“We found that the problem with the paint was that if you press too hard, some of the texture of the wall will crumble, as it’s a fairly old building,” Hyde said.

Other obstacles were drying time and weather conditions.

“On the days we didn’t have rain, it was quite sunny,” she said. “The last day was really, really cold and it was a bit difficult to work in those conditions, especially with brushes and water. It’s not spray paint, so it’s a lot longer than the drying time, which is much more tedious.”

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