Over a year ago, Janine Gobeil (co-owner of Yoga North) was admiring some of Botkin’s work at a restaurant in Montreal. The owner of the restaurant, a friend of the Montreal-based artist, noticed her interest in Botkin’s work.
By fate, Botkin happened to be in the restaurant, where his friend introduced him to Gobeil. Thus, the budding idea of a mural began, which would soon branch out to become a beautiful piece of art.
Botkin calls it, ‘Birch Tree In Winter’.
Oddly enough, shortly before Botkin’s arrival, Yoga North was tagged, along with other buildings in the area.
Botkin, a professional mural artist with a Fine Arts Degree, says the mural is a reflection of winter, representing the spirit of Yoga North’s practice in the Wolseley neighbourhood, surrounded by trees.
The “Birch Tree In Winter” mural is a basic design, where the raw brick shows through, revealing the colour of the brick and the pattern of the birch trees. The top is a purple skyline with an ivory to butterscotch shading that represents snow at the bottom.
With winter at hand, November was the perfect month to unveil it.
Yoga North’s logo design has a tree theme. To Gobeil, trees represents peacefulness and serenity which ties in with yoga and the Wolseley area. All trees have roots and are grounded to the earth; similar to the human body which grows upward while being grounded to the earth; breath infuses the human body through different branches of life and through many types of yoga.
Botkin came to Winnipeg this past July, where he worked with passion through torrential rains to meet his deadline at Yoga North. Wearing his mask while using a spray gun, the soft spoken Botkin was very humble about his great accomplishments generally, and specifically about the amazing transformation he was creating on the east facing wall of Yoga North.
At the time, Botkin was also busy with family and friends in Winnipeg, where he was participating in a planned mural at the Winnipeg Folk Festival with EN MASSE, a Montreal-based, multi-artist collaborative drawing project, of which Botkin is co-creator and director.
Botkin says EN MASSE was founded to “bring artists together as a whole group” with various artistic backgrounds to collaborate on large murals. The goal is for the mural, created by a group of artists brought together through EN MASSE sharing their talents at the Winnipeg Folk Festival, could be used as a backdrop for the stage at the festival next year.
Botkin’s artistic talents not only made a huge impact on the artistic world during his time here in Winnipeg, the collaboration of Botkin and Gobeil has also enhanced the ever so beautiful Wolseley area.
Yoga North’s peaceful environment and caring attitude towards each person who walks through their door shows their commitment and compassion for the people in the Wolseley neighbourhood and throughout Winnipeg. They offer a variety of classes and can assist people with disabilities (both visible and invisible). The first class is free.
With the cold weather, and the matching mural on the side of their building, Yoga North is a welcoming place to warm up your body, mind and soul.
All photos by Marie LeBlanc