Eric Moschopedis

Eric Moschopedis wearing round, black-rimmed glasses and a green hoodie with a yellow button that reads Peace is Everyone's Business.
Eric Moschopedis

Eric Moschopedis

Artist Eric Moschopedis is known for challenging assumptions — and bylaws — through art. From a skateboarding project intended to help get past stereotypes and create a welcoming space, to a project about public dreaming in response to a bylaw against sleeping in public, his goal is to empower citizens.

A well-known name in this city’s arts community, Moschopedis is an interdisciplinary artist, a creator of exhibitions, public art installations and participatory works, a facilitator and educator, and is perhaps most recognized as being one half of the artist duo Mia & Eric.

“For some reason the arts became a place for me to kind of express my politics,” says Moschopedis, who started in his career in drama before taking it into the public realm.”I was getting to a point where I wanted to… switch my practice from doing theatre in theatre spaces and sometimes on the street, but to thinking more about creating community and creating community through performance in kind of the broadest sense of the term.”

After meeting Mia Rushton, who would become both his collaborative partner and life partner, the artistic duo began exploring the idea of public art. “We saw a call that TRUCK Gallery put out and it was for participatory works in the public realm, and we came up with (a project) responding to bylaws that the City of Calgary had passed, behavioural bylaws, bylaws that essentially outlawed sleeping in public spaces. And we wanted to kind of protest that or we wanted to respond to those bylaws… because we thought if people can’t sleep in public, how can we have public dreaming? And that was really critical to us, that we should as citizens in our society be able to dream publicly, whether literally or metaphorically.”

Moschpopedis considers public art in public space in a different light. “When I think about public art I really do think about the commons, about citizenship, and about the role of public space as a necessary thing in democratic societies. So when we make public artworks, we’re very conscientious that its function is not beautification, but that its function is empowerment and empowering citizens, whether it’s a community, whether it’s a group of people… it’s about empowering these folks to ask questions about who they are as citizens in a city or in the area where they live, the community that they’re in.”

In this edition of The Storytelling Podcast, hear more about Eric Moschopedis’ beginnings as an artist, his collaborative partnership with Mia Rushton, and his approach to public art and the spaces that it occupies.

About The Storytelling Podcast

Sharing diverse stories of creativity in our city, The Storytelling Podcast shines a spotlight on artists and projects that connect Calgarians to the arts. Part of The Storytelling Project, this series raises awareness about Calgarians who, by living creative lives, are making Calgary a better city, affecting positive change and enriching others’ lives.

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