Back Talk with Artist Ola Volo

Name: Ola Volo
Age: 28

Where are you from/ where are you based?
I am from Kazakhstan but have moved to Vancouver when I was young and now based from Montreal.

Describe your profession
I am an illustrator and a mural artist. A lot of my inspiration stems from my Russian background where Eastern European folklore played a big role in my childhood. I love to infuse the West Coast nature, with nostalgic fantasy and modern storytelling.

When did you start doing this and how did you get into it? 
I’ve been doing art ever since my first art class when I was 6 years old. I remember using crayons and water colors together and the repellent of oil and water made art look magical to me. I’ve been hooked ever since!


What is a typical day like for you?
Every day is different, depending what the project that I am currently working on but no day goes by without sketches, revisions and lots of coffee.


What are the essentials tools you need for your craft?
Brushes, coffee, iPad Pro, painting pants, black ink, sketch book and my handy Matt & Nat back pack of course!


What is unique about what you do?
I feel the unique part about my work is that I do what I love. When I’m in the midst of projects where I am able to share my vision and passion with the public, I am the happiest. After every mural, I feel changed because of the time put into the work, ideas, and process that takes place. The mural then becomes a piece that belongs to the public. I feel amazing that I get to share my work with many different communities around the world.

What is the biggest misconception about what you do?
My own misconception about mural work was that I didn’t realize how much physical work it takes to produce large wall pieces. I have so much more appreciation for mural artists around the world after realizing and understanding all the challenges large murals can bring.


What advice would you give to aspiring artists?
Dream big and never feel intimidated by materials, try everything and figure it out as you go. There are no rules in art.

Where can we look for you online or otherwise?
I am currently in Monterrey, Mexico working on a large mural as part of the IPAF festival. It’s a unique collaboration with the community and international artist painting the neighbourhoods of Monterrey.

You can follow my process on Instagram @olavolo for all the behind the scenes details.