Colourful gorilla chilling in downtown SF

Local artist Jocelyne Labelle (left) created this giant reproduction of Banksy’s gorilla, mounted on the south facing wall of the Audio Video + store on Feb. 15. The project was part of the downtown beautification efforts initiated by Gayle Primeau (right).

Downtown Sturgeon Falls has been hit with another splash of colour, and a gorilla in headphones. On Monday, February 15th, the latest mural went up on the south wall of Audio Video + Home Furnishings, on the corner of King and William Streets. Store owners Dan and Joanne Valière are delighted with the rendition of a Banksy, completed by Sturgeon Falls artist Jocelyne Labelle. They presented her with a beautiful bouquet after the painting was mounted. Labelle was thrilled with the response to her very colourful, highly visible mural – her first.

Labelle has been doing art for most of her life. She’s been working in acrylics lately but is primarily accustomed to working in dry pastel. She also designs and makes jewellery and has worked in oils. Her mural at Audio Video has a pastel feel to it as she worked to blend some the colours – not easy to do with outdoor paints. The work was volunteer, as all the artists have been, and Labelle thinks every artist in town should get on board. “I would recommend it. Everyone should do at least one. There are so many places we could have more murals.”

Jocelyne graduated in 2004 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Arts from Nipissing University. She then went for her teaching certificate, lived in Sudbury for a while, and has recently returned to Sturgeon Falls.

Jocelyne Labelle suffers from a rare disorder, Cervical dystonia, also called Spasmodic torticollis, a painful condition in which her neck muscles contract involuntarily, causing her head to suffer tremors and shake back and forth. There is no cure for her ailment. She was in remission for some time, but recently her spasms returned. The condition can have seriously adverse effects on quality of life, yet Jocelyne worked on this mural throughout her relapse. Oddly enough, her spams subside when she’s working on her art.  “My tremors are back and it’s really tiring and painful. When I’m leaning on my arm it stops but if my head is free from anything it will shake, but I can’t help it…  I work around it… It doesn’t bother me when I’m painting. It’s a rare neurological condition… There are others in town who have it – at least three cases – it is rare, very rare, but there’s a pocket here for some reason.”

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