Hidden from view below the sidewalk of Victoria’s Trounce Alley, an idea has been quietly growing. Guided by the vision of founder Erik Van Kobra, Wolf/Sheep is a multifaceted collective of artists dedicated to the noble ideals of artistic integrity and community. Hence, it is more than just a tattoo parlour, clothing store, art gallery and record label. Though it is all of those things, it is the underlying mission statement of Wolf/Sheep that defines and solidifies it as a hub of creativity and an ambassador of the artistic world.
Pulled from the Wolf/Sheep website, Van Kobra expresses his intention to “demystify contemporary art” by bridging the gap between local artists and the community in which they are embedded. This function of cohesion and unification is entirely necessary, too, and Wolf/Sheep’s continuing growth is indicative of this fact. Once a community reaches a certain artistic critical mass, a body is required to serve as an intermediary between viewers and creators, essentially exposing great work by providing an avenue through which it can be experienced.
Van Kobra explains: “When we started working together and painting, one problem we had was how niche driven a lot of stuff coming out was. It’s great when there’s a set of rules that kinda bind people together who are into the same thing, but what’s bad is when people get cut off from it. Like, if there’s an art show you feel you can’t really go to because you’re not cool enough, you’re not in that crowd, or you don’t know anybody; you walk in the room and you feel like a complete outsider. One of the things we wanted to create was accessibility.”
Thus, Wolf/Sheep can be thought of as a window overlooking a place that is too often hidden from view – a place that is unintentionally and unnecessarily elitist. And you’ll be surprised by what Wolf/Sheep is willing to show you. Check out their store, website, Tumblr, or Facebook page and you’ll discover not only the beautiful finished products – tattoos, paintings, graffiti, etc. – but you’ll also find those same works in their various stages of creation. Indeed, Wolf/Sheep provides an intimate view of Victoria’s buzzing artistic community, one that you ought to explore.
Wolf/Sheep is not only involved in the process of connecting artists with viewers, but its multifaceted nature gives it the ability to connect artists of different mediums. Musicians work alongside tattooists, painters, and artists of other various forms. The result is a flourishing creative community in which inspiration is symbiotically exchanged.
In Van Kobra’s words, “If guys making music are at home appreciating art and being influenced by it, like hip hop and graffiti for example, and people in here are tattooing or making artwork and doing drawing and also listening to music on their headphones, can’t it happen at the same time? It’s all coming from the same place.”
Check out Wolf/Sheep Arthouse online at: http://wolf-sheep.com.