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Welland's Murals:
10. Wagons

About the Mural
Wagons by Andrew Miles, Barrie, Ontario. Painted in 1989, at 250 Division Street, 58' by 17'. Andrew Miles' "stained glass" effect mural of a variety of turn of the century wagons and buggies depicts the important part played by horse-drawn vehicles in Welland's history.

The Artist's Interpretation
"I believe this mural to be my best work. Working with the them of the various horse-drawn wagons - from turn-of-the-century buggies to milk carts (which were still used in Welland up to the 1970s) - I chose the stained-glass effect for two reasons. Firstly, it facilitated the use of vibrant colours (murals should always be very colourful because we live in a fairly grey world). Secondly, the mosaic effect of little coloured panels seemed ideal for conveying a nostalgic mood. Ideally, the mural looks best from about 100 feet with the sun shining on it. It will then look like a window into the past."

"Painting murals is, for me, more exciting than studio work. Working outdoors in public view is like acting in a play as opposed to films. It is a 'live performance' and it has to be right. A bad canvas can be thrown away, or a washed-out watercolour can be privately hidden from view. On a huge concrete wall, the artist cannot afford to embarrass himself. I think the public really appreciates this live performance."

Your Virtual Guide's Comments
Miles "stained glass" effect presents the viewer with a highly unusual medium, especially for a mural. It manages to be both old, with its shades of cathedral stained glass, and yet modern with its overtones of cubism. It looks at the subject in various planes and from differing perspectives, all in the same mural. the resulting "jig saw" effect seems to be cubism without the cubes. With its vibrant colours and "Picassoesque" treatment of perspective, "Wagons" is a unique example of the artistic potential of murals. 

About the Artist: Andrew Miles, Barrie, Ontario

Andrew has painted murals in Barrie and Orillia and is completely self-taught. He specializes in portrait work. The Orillia mural is a portrait of humourist Stephen Leacock. Andrew visited Welland in summer of 1988, befriended a couple of the other artists and became inspired to enter the 1989 mural contest. He feels his greatest artistic achievement is not one single work but the ability to reject some work. He stated "You only accomplish something once it survives your own criticism."

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