Mike Hooves is a prairie artist working in illustration, animation, and film in Calgary, Alberta. Mike uses shape language, saturated colour, and gestural linework to create playful and engaging imagery that acknowledges queer aesthetics and signifiers.
“When I considered the use and proximity of the barriers to restaurants on 17th avenue I thought about my experience at patios. As an avid birdwatcher I’m always watching the birds that engage with the spaces I’m in. In this case I thought about the birds one may come across while eating at an outside patio.
While these birds are seen as annoying and mundane, I want to create a greater appreciation for them by subverting appearances using scale and bold color. My choice in how I depicted these birds was inspired by scientific illustrations.
One side of the barrier contextualizes the existence of the bird by showing them in an action, and engaging with each other, and is easily readable. The other side becomes abstracted as I zoom in on a trait of each bird that I enjoy. The two sides provide different interactions with the theme/imagery, with the top part of the barrier tying the
both together with the common name of the bird.
Part of the fun of these depictions of the birds is creating an instant engagement from the viewer in deciphering what they are looking at. For optimal viewing my hope is that the side with the three birds can be displayed to the road, while the macro imagery can be for the inner side.”
Photos © 2021 Chelsea Yang-Smith