When Art Meets FinTech: Ola Volo

When you have a giant white wall in the office, it means only one thing: time to get yourself a kickass mural. Well, we happened to have a giant white wall in the office. So… we went and got ourselves a kickass mural.

Meet the amazing Ola Volo, (who’s also done murals for Lululemon, Translink, and Save-on Meats).

So how did you get into art and mural-making?
Ola: I studied design at Emily Carr, moved to Holland to study there for a bit. I was also really inspired by street art and murals that I saw in New York. What I love about murals is that they’re accessible to a lot of people at once.
Right, it’s more inclusive as opposed to being limited to people who hang out at art galleries.

Ola: Yes! Which leads to starting conversations, especially when you have this very public art that can offer a narrative, bypassing language barriers and cultural differences. It’s like storytelling—but on a large scale.

Very cool. Where do you find inspiration for your art?

Ola: Oh everywhere. Eastern European, Russian, and Canadian nature folklore, symbolism... I’ve been fascinated by Gustav Klimt’s work since I was 13. He uses patterns and overlays all these symbols and meanings; there are so many layers that I interpret his work differently every time I look at it.

Can you tell us a bit about your process? How did you come up with the Mogo mural?

Ola: I always start with the client: what the company stands for, quotes from people who work there, the story, stuff like that. With Mogo, I got this very West Coast vibe. Active, interactive, young—finance as a lifestyle as opposed to a burden. Plus I’d never really worked with typography before, so that was cool to experiment with!

Was it tough when you first started? The whole “starving artist” stereotype...

Ola: You know what, it might sound crazy but I didn’t find it particularly difficult. At least it didn’t feel that way. I’d worked at a marketing company before I made art my career and I learned a lot there about marketing, key messaging, consistency, how to write emails. I totally burned out, though.

Yeah we feel you. Marketing is not an easy gig.

Ola: Right? But still, I learned a lot and I applied those same tactics to my own work. Like diversifying: if I did just magazine work, or just murals, I wouldn’t be able to make a living on that. So I do public speaking, education, branding, and a bunch of other stuff as well.

OH HEY… sounds like some good Adulting advice.
Ola: For sure. Versatility is gonna push you and make you better. You just won’t know until you try. If I did art for only tech companies, I would get bored or I’d run out of tech companies! Collaboration can happen anywhere, and it really opens you up and challenges you.
Thanks for dressing us up with a sick piece, Ola!

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