This new series aims to highlight creative personalities and disruptive thinkers who live, work and dream out of the box.
In the growing and vast landscape of mural artists, Ola Volo has stood out as one of Canada’s rising talents. The 27 year old, whose distinct style has lent her a growing social media following and hip brand deals, has been able to expertly tow the line between artist and businesswoman.
Despite producing art in an industry that tends to be dominated by men, Ola has carved a unique place for herself in Canada’s dynamic mural and graffiti scene. Drawing on themes from her childhood spent in Kazakhstan and Vancouver, Ola’s art is based heavily around the idea of storytelling and folklore. From 50 foot murals in Vancouver to the tiny labels of an organic product, the intricate patterns and surreal characters of her work enables it to be quietly subversive and uniquely feminine.
RISE was able to talk to the busy artist and learn about her inspirations, her growing list of clients and – of course – where she’s headed next.
Your art is incredibly unique and distinct. Where do you draw your inspiration from?
European folklore and West Coast folklore. Growing up in Vancouver, I was surrounded by deer and bears. It was unavoidable. But the patterns themselves are coming from Eastern European folklore … the rugs and clothing are very pattern heavy. I lived in Kazakhstan before moving to Canada, so that’s what I visually perceived as normal.
You seem to have lived so many places. Has that influenced your art?
I’ve lived in Kazakhstan, Vancouver, Holland, New York and Montreal. I’ve been a bit of a vagabond, but it’s important to be able to find inspiration from different environments and people. Especially if the work is very multicultural, you have to be able to put the work into different spaces and see how people react.
When I moved to New York City, everything was very saturated, the way people care so intensely about their aesthetic, it threw my work in a new, brighter direction. It became more saturated with colour. And when I’m working with clients, an Asian festival for example, I’m able to understand the patterns that come from a different culture and invent a way for it to get into my work.