1. Winnipeg Waldo
2. J.D. Renaud
3. Annie Beach
A familiar face peeks out at passersby around the city in his iconic red-and-white striped shirt, black glasses and bland smile. This is Winnipeg Waldo, a street-art take on the character hidden in the pages of the popular series of children’s puzzle books.
The anonymous artist behind Winnipeg Waldo was inspired when travelling overseas in cities where grassroots street art was really embraced and found this was lacking in Winnipeg.
Public art “changes the vibe and the atmosphere around the city,” the artist says.
Winnipeg Waldo started appearing around town in 2017.
“I chose the image of Waldo, because it’s ... a concept that explains itself. You see a Waldo somewhere, and you think ‘wow, that's kind of cool’ ... and then you see another one some other time in a different place, and you (realize) ‘okay, there’s more of these, and there’s lots of them to find,’” the artist says.
Public engagement has been the best part of the project, according to the artist, not only in terms of public interaction with the art but also in the online response.
“I think it encourages a lot of people to start their own concepts and contribute to that culture of street art in Winnipeg,” they say.
Grassroots-level street art is valuable, because it reflects the community, the artist says. “It gives your neighbourhood its own sort of artistic identity that’s true to that neighbourhood.”
The artist was pleased to hear Winnipeg Waldo had been voted favourite local visual artist, particularly because the project has been ongoing for over five years.
“It makes you feel like there is still that engagement and there are people who are enjoying this ... that’s really encouraging, and that sort of thing keeps an artist going.”
Published in Volume 76, Number 12 of The Uniter (December 2, 2021)