Legendary punk rocker Mr. Chi Pig honoured with Whyte Avenue mural

A Canadian punk legend will be memorialized on Whyte Avenue in Edmonton. 

Ken Chinn a.k.a. Mr. Chi Pig, frontman for the band SNFU, grew up in the city but later moved to Vancouver. He died July 16 ,2020 at the age of 57. Artists working on the local mural are hoping to be finished in time for the first anniversary of his death.

Edmonton mural artists Layla Folkmann and Lacey Jane Wilburn are painting the piece. After Chinn died, they started a GoFundMe and got a grant for the project. The money pays them, covers the supplies and lift rental, and they were able to hire a videographer and a photographer to document the project as well.

“He was such a significant figure in Edmonton and he was really important to us and all the bands we grew up watching. So we were affected by [his death] personally,” Folkmann said. 

Folkmann said the mural will encompass three different portraits of him at different points in his life, as well as some of his drawings. She said the response thus far has been inspiring.

“Anyone who has seen him live or heard his voice or read his poetry or saw his artwork knows what an incredible, passionate, artistic human being he is,” she said. 

“Throughout this whole process, we’ve been getting a lot of … messages and people telling us the stories that they have in connection to him and how much he had meant to them. And so that really fed the project and fed our enthusiasm as well.”

The artists are hoping to complete the mural by mid-July. (Emily Fitzpatrick/CBC)

Folkmann’s counterpart, Wilburn, said Chinn was not only a prolific musician, but also very well-known for his visual art.

“Anyone that grew up with him or that was a fan of his often ended up with one of his very elaborate doodles that he would put on dinner plates or on signs or whatever. He lived with a Sharpie,” she said.

WIlburn said it was hard to distill Chinn’s frenetic and energetic essence into a piece that wouldn’t be overwhelming visually, but that the design process was really fun.

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