Ola Volo, the Kazakh Canadian muralist

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Montreal artist Ola Volo paints murals. This is our Christmas gift to you: a profile of a woman who uses walls as a canvas to tell her colourful tales.

24-year old Ola Volo is a Canadian muralist and illustrator who’s right at home here despite the cold this Christmas. Her style? Distinctive: the folklore and multiculturalism that have sculpted her identity. Her pieces are based on several symbols: wildlife, people, architecture and nature.

Her greatest accomplishment was the massive blue and yellow mural that was inaugurated on May 23th 2019 at Air Commune (Canada). Made in collaboration with Le Cartel, Walla Olo is one of the biggest murals created by a woman in North America.

The stories behind these colourful illustrations are complex and attempt to capture the subtleties of human nature whilst celebrating the magical moments of everyday life. Her passion for storytelling, characters, attention to detail and textures comes from her childhood in Kazakhstan where she was born and lived until she was 10. An oral tradition passed on by her mother and grandmother.

“I see public art is necessarily inclusive. My style is rooted in folklore, it updates it and depicts it on public walls without people having to pay or visit a gallery.”

During lockdown she carried on creating whilst waiting for the borders to reopen so she could travel again and spread her art everywhere. Louis Vuitton, Starbucks, Volkswagen… the muralist is stacking up major collaborations. Aside from her hometown, the artist is still taking her art everywhere, in Vancouver (where she’s lived for a long time), Los Angeles, Sudbury, Monterrey in Mexico… and Europe soon perhaps? Who knows?

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