Peace Gallery North continues to spotlight street art this month, with its newest exhibit offering viewers a snapshot through the streets of Paris and Berlin.
Urban Landscapes by photographer Orion Carlisle is a collection of images taken over a decade and set up to mimic the feel of walking the streets of a European city. Half the exhibit is dedicated to Berlin, the other to Paris, with photos hung high and low in the gallery, with some shots of graffiti having been painted around pipes or other odd sections of buildings.
“We’ve been going through our photos and realized we have all this wonderful street art, wouldn’t that be great to share with everyone else?” says Carlisle. “I’m trying not just to show pictures of someone’s works, but also context and other aspects of the area that you’re walking through.”
Carlisle was born in Hawaii and eventually moved to the West Coast, living in California and Washington State before settling in Calgary where he met his wife, Stephanie. Through his career in seismic work, he's been able to travel the world.
"Fort St. John is home for me but I had a job that let me travel the world," he says. " I was in Egypt for a year, that would be an interesting show too. My wife is from France, so we've been back multiple times."
Some of the street art Carlisle photographed was inspired by famous works by artists such as Picasso. He says the physicality of the both Berlin and Paris lend themselves to creation and allow artists to interact with the environment. For example, what remains of the infamous Berlin Wall is repainted white each year, offering a a fresh canvas for the city, which sees constant flood of street art.
"It's become a symbol for the city and a place for artists to place their works," says Carlisle. "It's what they call the East Side gallery, the section left standing. They used to do this on the West Side as a form of protest."
Carlisle’s exhibit is on display alongside Plagued, a graffiti exhibit about COVID-19 in Fort St. John. He says he plans to visit Vancouver to seek out more Canadian street art to broaden his portfolio and skills.
“Right now, I’m just doing photography, but I’m also interested in painting and collage,” he says. “There’s a lot of inspiration in here.”
Urban Landscapes is on display at Peace Gallery North until Oct. 30.
Tom Summer, Alaska Highway News, Local Journalism Initiative. Email Tom at email@example.com