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  • Writer's pictureJess

Up Here Festival Takes a Risk

Updated: Mar 18, 2020

Did you know the rainbow tastes like sulphur?


I had been wanting to shoot Canada's largest mural since it went up (on?) over the summer of 2019 so on a slow, sunny afternoon in October I pulled off Paris Street and took a walk.

Thanks to the Un. Real. muralist RISK, the kickass folks from We Live Up Here & Up Here Festival, Panoramic Properties Inc. and numerous other sponsors, volunteers and generally stellar individuals, the old St. Joseph's Hospital (or Sudbury General - for those born under the banner), Sudbury's local eye-sore is now an put it lightly.

For a decade we grumbled about its existence, its wasted potential. A blight on our City's landscape. She gets a facelift and we moan about the cost, the colour and the blight on our City's landscape. Love it or hate it, it has people talking, and isn't that the point? I for one, LOVE it. While some may only see an "obnoxious pile of Skittles vomit" (I may be paraphrasing), I took the time to peer a little closer. The 70-200 f2.8 glass I was packing certainly helped bring the old bird's contrasts to life! Oh, the contrasts! The gaudy pink against the splashy green. The intentionally haphazard pile of used paint cans resting within sight of their discarded, brilliantly arranged lids. The dainty butterflies fluttering gently off the harsh, haunted structure left to erode alone in plain sight of thousands of passers by.

The irony of this building's story is hard to miss; It's where I came into this weird world. I survived anaphylactic shock behind those paint cans. Relatives and strangers battled disease and overcame illness and injury within its walls. RISK and a few visionaries took something broken and gave it another life, if only for so long. Some call it a waste of money, but I sure as shit hope a "RISK" shows up to breath new life into my canvas when I become an ugly, neglected, geriatric nuisance. Everything is here for a short while. Let's just enjoy it.

You can view the entire album at

*My apologies to the fine people behind the Skittles Rainbow. Your chewy treats are a delight.


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