Ola Volo (BFA, Emily Carr University) is a Canadian illustrator from Kazakhstan with a distinctive style drawn from history, multiculturalism and folklore. Her intricate works bring animals, people, architecture and nature together to articulate diverse stories rich with symbolism and elaborate forms. Ola creates winding narratives that acknowledge the subtleties of human nature while celebrating the little surprises of everyday life.
Her work is widely recognized for its inventiveness and imaginative gesture; every character is full of spirited personality and inhabits a dynamic environment. Her work also lends itself often to the public realm with many of her murals helping to shape and beautify outdoor spaces across the world. As well as creating commissions for a wide range of international clients including Starbucks, Louis Vuitton, Lululemon and Volkswagen, Volo also finds time to do her own gallery artwork.
For this project, Ola Volo has been chosen by LE CARTEL to pay a tribute to the Mile End, where the artist lived between 2014 and 2016. Mixing her fine style, her imagination and her life memories in the neighborhood, Ola Volo created a design promoting the Mile End artistic and cultural diversity, and some of the neighborhood’s symbols.
Ola explains her approach: “Mile End has been an inspiring place to live and to practice my artistic craft. It made me feel empowered and supported for taking a risk on persuing a creative career and gave me a voice on Montreal walls. This piece was inspired by many aspect of Mile end – the flower shop with many empty bird cages- which to me symbolizes freedom to fly – just as creative people have the freedom to express themselves. The rail tracks that aline Mile End and mark us as a community – the rail tracks circle the main character to reflect the concept of the neighbourhood. As well, the buildings that differentiate Montreal from any other place in the world- these buildings have histories and character – which is why each drawn building is unique. The Main character is confident, positive, creative, stylish, feminine and is a contributor to making sure all bird cages stay open to inspire freedom to fly and freedom to creativly express yourself.”