547 Hamilton Road • London, ON N5Z 1S5
Completed in the fall of 2020, the bold colours incorporated into the new mural on the side of Hamilton Road’s Neighbourhood Laundromat Café is catching the eyes of all who pass by. Painted as a part of the theme ‘Forest City Playground’, this vibrant piece by two talented artists embodies a true community spirit and encourages all to get out and explore.
Alayna Hryclik is an artist, graphic designer and entrepreneur living in London, Ontario. She is the forest city sweetheart behind Soft Flirt; an apparel and home decor lifestyle brand which you can find upstairs in The Market at Western Fair District on weekends. Alayna is on the board of directors at Forest City Gallery and is passionate about the local art community and making London a more vibrant place to call home. Her artistic style is minimal and illustrative with a focus on her handwriting.
I’ve always loved our farmers’ markets in London; between working in Covent Garden Market for years, and now calling The Market at Western Fair District home to my brand, I spend a lot of time shopping and hanging out in these spaces. Honourable mention goes to driving down Springbank Drive and winding through snake hill in Byron (bonus points if it’s during the fall).
Jessica Thornton is a trained graphic designer and artist who has recently taken up the lost art of sign painting. Jessica has been living in London full time for the last 6 years and gets a lot of inspiration from travel, concerts and anything vintage. She spends her downtime volunteering at Sari Therapeutic Riding. Jessica gets a lot of her artistic inspiration from vintage commercial signage starting around the 1920s. She loves watching old films to look at set design and the use of signage in old films like Sherlock Junior.
My favourite spots in London include Boler Mountain, the Thames Valley Parkway, Odyssey Records, Museum London and SARI Therapeutic Riding.
Hamilton Road serves as an excellent path in and out of London. This inspired us to look at this mural spot with that kind of visibility in mind and create a piece that motivates people to stick around and explore the city. The businesses in this area of London have been working very hard, especially in the last couple years, to establish more of a sense of community in this area and we wanted our mural to reflect and enhance that. With the London Public Library across the street, the newly created flex street on Sackville and the Neighbourhood Laundromat Cafe's inviting atmosphere, our mural helps to round out what is already an established hub of community activity.
We treated this mural design as an opportunity to collaborate between our two artistic styles; Jessica's work (Spanky Jay Signs) combines vivid colours with traditional sign painting technique and Alayna's work (Soft Flirt) centres around minimal handwriting with illustrative elements. We used bold colours to bring vibrancy to the landscape and to catch people's eye as they walk or drive by, reaffirmed by the many pedestrians passing by and commenting on how much they love the brightness our mural has brought to the area throughout the painting process.
Our message of "Explore the Forest" hopes to motivate people to become tourists in London, to explore new and unfamiliar areas or appreciate a bit more of what's in their own backyard. We welcome (and encourage) everyone to take photos at our mural, use it as a backdrop for your own creative projects, take your new favourite selfie or grab an arepa at Arepa Ink and snap a pic!
Photos courtesy of Rachel Long @rachlong_
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