Asphalt Art: A Nod to Retro-Sparks

Updated: Oct 6, 2021

Own your flaws, they're what make you unique. That goes for concrete too...at least we think so...


We're giving you retro throwback nods from Metcalfe to O'Connor in the form of asphalt patch art. We know we have some quirks and flaws, so we're running with it, running all the way back to the 1960s with this pilot. Ground murals are one of the hottest trends in the street art scene - our patches served up with a twist of nostalgia.

In 1963, Sparks Street gained its official pedestrian notoriety - a go-to and visual destination. With its signature black and white ground stencils and pavement paint, this concrete was something to behold - an arts installation in itself.

We teamed up with Cassandra D - Artistic Coordinator at Style Over Status an Ottawa-Montreal collective of professional mural artists, illustrators and designers on how to bring our throwback vision from past to present, in black and white fashion.


This pilot project uses the same approach as 50 years ago; stencils have made their Op-Art return!


Quick Art History note - In 1964, Time Magazine coined the term "Op art", short for optical art, as a style of visual art that uses optical illusions in response to Julian Stanczak's show Optical Paintings . Op-Art works are abstract with many better known pieces created in black and white. Typically, they give the viewer the impression of movement, hidden images, flashing and vibrating patterns, or of swelling or warping - a trend that grew in this era and its popularity landed on Sparks. More details on Op Art here.


Present Day Pilot:




Thanks to our Art Partner:


IG: SniKRDBS


Acknowledgements & Thanks: CBC Re-making Sparks: Ottawa's downtown pedestrian mall through the decades Urbsite Robert Smythe Library and Archives Canada Ottawa Public Library Lost Ottawa


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