Dystopian art of local Edmonton landmarks strikes a chord

A local artist reinvents familiar landmarks in Edmonton with a post-apocalyptic lens.

From a war-torn West Edmonton Mall water park to a long-abandoned legislature, Mike Roshuk’s dystopian work seems more than ever to connect with people.

Roshuk, a graphic designer, illustrator and artist for two decades, told CTV News Edmonton he’s always been interested in the post-apocalyptic genre of art, television and film.

“Whenever you see these kinds of images, it’s always more popular cities like New York, Las Vegas or Los Angeles,” he said.

“Then when you see your hometown it touches you a little bit more,” Roshuk said.

The artist was inspired to start creating the local hellish landscapes last year. Several works of art by Roshuk have gone viral online over the past year.

“As an artist you like people to see your work,” he said. “It got a lot more attention than I thought (it would).”

Edmonton got a glimpse of the end times when the HBO series The Last of Us was filmed in the city in October.

“People would send me pictures of what they were doing at the Legislative Assembly building,” Roshuk said. “They were like, ‘Hey, they’re doing what you did!’

“I love The Last of Us,” he added. “I was totally blown away to see what they were doing.”

Roshuk believes his plays make a cathartic connection to the experiences of many Albertans after two years of a pandemic that has at times seemed dystopian.

“A lot of people collectively are a little nervous or anxious,” he said. “Particularly in Alberta, I think there is a little bit of uncertainty about what our future looks like? Where do we go from here?”

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