AJA Louden adds a masked Piney P to the Avenue Theatre
AJA Louden, director and lead artist of AJA Louden Studios, exercises carte blanche with his graffiti on Avenue Theatre. When he became aware during COVID-19 that one of his former murals was not holding up well, inspiration hit.
“I saw fear, stress, and uncertainty in people all around me and in the city in general. I wanted to counter that with a message thanking health care workers.” By signing it “with love, from Edmonton,” Louden created a piece that may serve as a grounding reminder of the importance of gratitude in addition to recognizing the people who are facing the brunt of the risk.
For those who are unaware, Piney P is the pineapple featured in the mural. Piney P is a bit of a mystery and began appearing in Louden’s art about a year and a half ago.
If we anthropomorphize this icon in Louden’s work, he’ll be a toddler soon. It’s mostly rumours and conjecture what Piney P represents and what he will be up to next. “I will let you know when I get to the bottom of that story as he is a tricky little fellow.” Louden hints Piney might be a trademark or “We might never see him again.” He then offers, “Hopefully, we will. I’m just being honest. I really don’t know.”
With such accomplishments as his art show at The Aviary, a semi-sculptural mural on the front wall of MacEwan University’s John and Maggie Mitchell Gallery, and several mural installations overseas, one might wonder how Avenue residents are blessed with his art. Louden says, “I’ve been working to redecorate [Avenue Theatre] for a couple of years, mostly for Kaleido. When I decided to repair the older piece, I had a rough idea what to do, but I let Piney P carry me away.” It is not just the work of fiction writers being driven by their characters. Piney P, to some extent, drives Louden’s art as well.
The health and safety face mask mural of Piney P offers a love note to health-care workers. Louden says, “I often feel grateful, though he is a more clever fellow than I.” Louden adds, “We are aware [health-care workers] are here for us and that we, the city, are here for them too.”
If you have yet to see the mural that Louden finished in a few hours, it’s worth a drive or walk by to admire and soak up some gratitude for yourself.
Piney P may appear again, though Louden says, “I have to play it by ear. Just wait, the terrible twos are coming.”
Featured Image: The Piney P mural adorns the side of Avenue Theatre. | Rusti Lehay