Victoria chalk artist shares his story

Seen most days, weather permitting, on Government Street in Victoria

Ian Morris has been painting Government Street in Victoria for the past 15 years, using chalk to highlight famous paintings from the past in a modern way. Most days, weather permitting, you’ll find the 50 year-old hunched over the bricks etching flawless details onto the sidewalk.

“I think the impermanence enhances its’ beauty, like the blossoms or the trees or a chef preparing a banquet, or even childhood itself — all things pass,” says Morris.

Prior to work on the street, Morris was making original pieces in a studio but found that to be too isolating and with not enough lucrative business he decided to try something else.

RELATED: Victoria chalk artist heads to international festival

Morris says he’s as much of a raconteur as a graphic artist and uses his work to engage with people passing by. Spending four days detailing Helen of Troy, a famous peice by Dante Rossetti, Morris says that was the most fun he’s had in a while.

“I was sitting here the other day, telling a young family about Helen of Troy and there was a group of ladies sitting at this table and one of them was a classics professor, and she gave me the thumbs up on telling the story,” says Morris. “The pictures are mostly just a way of inciting interaction and stories.”

One of Morris’ favourite ways to incite connection is through 3D illusionist work, or anamorphic perspective drawings, that play tricks on peoples eyes depending on where they’re standing. The illusion works through a camera and once Morris shows one person how it works, he can stand back and watch the convection.

“They start reaching out to strangers passing by — ‘Hey, you’ve got to look at this’ — and all of a sudden, this device that so many people are isolated in, I’ve subverted it and now they’re using it to reach out to complete strangers,” says Morris.

RELATED: Uptown to host Chalk Art Festival

For Morris, who doesn’t have internet or a phone, face-to-face connection is important, something he thinks the world needs more of.

“That’s a big part of what I do, is get people out of their little worlds and maybe hear a story,” he says.

For Morris the off season is his favourite time, when he has a chance to speak with locals or the odd tourist but says during peak seasons things can get a little crazy on the street.

“When things get really busy in the summer, there’s a lot of tourists taking photos and just walking by me like I’m part of the scenery — that can be really annoying,” he says. “It’s like a mosquito bite, it happens once and it’s annoying but if you’re being eaten alive all the time it can really play on your good nature.”

Morris has made appearances at many international street chalk art festivals but wants to continue spreading stories and smiles on the streets of Victoria.



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Time-lapse video shows weekend work on McKenzie Interchange project

Construction crews place concrete underpass bridge beams

Opposition to gravel quarry in Highlands gains traction

Impact on drinking water a major concern

Victoria post-secondary schools reveal most popular programs

Camosun College, the University of Victoria and Royal Roads University share students’ top picks

A sunny day ahead for Tuesday

Plus a look ahead at your week

Greater Victoria sees crime severity index rise

Fraud cases rise 31 per cent over previous year

VIDEO: Young couple found dead in northern B.C. had been shot, police say

Chynna Noelle Deese of the U.S. and Lucas Robertson Fowler of Australia were found along Highway 97

VIDEO: Man found dead near B.C. teens’ truck could be linked to a double homicide

RCMP said they are looking for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, of Port Alberni

Family of missing B.C. senior with dementia frustrated with situation, heartened by community support

Nine days since Grace was last seen the question remains: ‘How can an 86-year-old just disappear?’

Okanagan Air Cadet challenges gender-exclusive haircut policy

Haircut regulation inspires challenge around gender identity

Latest plan is to fly trapped fish by helicopter over Big Bar slide

Multi-pronged plan set in motion to freesalmon blocked by landslide in the Fraser River

Police ask for help locating missing men last seen in South Surrey

Jeep that Richard Scurr and Ryan Provencher were in has been located unoccupied in Logan Lake: RCMP

EDITORIAL: Trees at the heart of Sooke

Two largely unrelated stories surfaced this week that might lead one to… Continue reading

VIDEO: Bystander training gains traction as tool to prevent sexual harassment, violence

Julia Gartley was sexually assaulted after an event, and no one stepped in to help

Sexual assaults, extortion on the rise even as crime rates stay low: Stats Canada

Rates of police-reported sexual assault rose for the fourth year in a row

Most Read