Luke Ramsey is an artist based out of Pender Island, B.C. with many accolades, including Monday Magazine’s 2007 Most Promising Artist of the Year Award, has an intricate, snaking style of drawing that layers many shapes and items into one outline. Edmonton’s Josh Holinaty is an internationally published illustrator with a penchant for including humanoid-alien creatures often covered in sweat beads. The artists, whose whimsical styles complement one another, have come together to collaborate on a mural commissioned by the Edmonton Arts Council and Edmonton Small Press Association. “The ESPA needed a local artist for the mural grant,” says Ramsey. “They thought Josh and I would gel, and they were right.”
Ramsey and Holinaty created “Transition,” a 12-by-11-metre mural on the east side of the John Howard Society building at 10010 105th Street. The artists and over 12 assistants worked on the piece between July and September 2010. The mural shows a creature on the right with a body made up of a cold, maze-like pattern of industry and junkyard remains. Another on the left is a lush and winding pattern of vegetation and earth. The two make contact in a spot of green that integrates nature and humanity in a community that resembles Edmonton, with pyramid structures and a river valley.
“It was about promoting respect for the environment, but not being patronizing about it,” explains Ramsey. Adds Holinaty: “Knowing this city’s hard stance on graffiti, we thought we’d approach the image in a non-conventional way, by using two giant characters floating on the wall — a style usually affiliated with street art. It’s definitely not one of those old ‘pioneering the Old West’ scenes that are so common in this province.”