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Winnipeg Sun

Winnipeg Sun, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, August 2008

(Winnipegsun.com)

By Brenlee Coates, Sun Media

graffiti pop art legendGraffiti Art Programming is celebrating its 10th anniversary with Erni Vales, a 30-year legend of the art form.

Vales, a New Yorker, came to Winnipeg to paint a mural with founding members on the Graffiti Gallery’s indoor walls.

“We thought it would be a great idea to bring graffiti legend here and go back to what we started out doing, show graffiti,” said the gallery’s art director, Pat Lazo. “It was just gonna be a show of his art work but he came up with the idea of collaborating.”

The design includes the American and Canadian flags which symbolizes the artists’ combined efforts.

“Technically, they were just as good as anyone else I’ve worked with,” said Vales of the local artists. “When I got here, I kind of challenged them. They really went beyond what they normally do.”

The five founding artists of the non-for-profit community art center didn’t expect to be getting their hands dirty during Vales’ visit, but Vales thinks collaboration is a gear way to create innovative work.

“I try to do something the public hasn’t seen,” he said. “You have a picture in your mind and then somebody else paints is and you get something completely different.”

A year back, Vales was visiting a friend in Winnipeg when he was introduced to the gallery. He was impressed by its existence and the success it’s had.

“Even in New York, the city doesn’t get behind artists the way it’s been here,” he said.

The exhibits, called “Decades of Style”, will be on display at the gallery, located at 109 Higgins Ave, until Oct.2.

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