With only 35 days left until the 100th Calgary Stampede, the momentum is starting to build! Yesterday I saw my first Stampede windows of the season – some in Kensington and some on Stephen Avenue. When they start to pop up at the end of May/beginning of June it’s a welcome reminder that Stampede is drawing near and good times are on the horizon.
I had the opportunity to ask Valerie Nimchuk, a window painter in Calgary who owns and operates No Limit Artistic Design, a few questions about what it’s like to be a Stampede-time window painter in our fair city.
1.) How long have you been doing Stampede-time window painting and how did you get into it?
I have been painting murals in show homes and private residences since 1996 and if you have ever seen the painted ‘Pete the Plumber’ trucks I painted most of those and I started window painting around 2000. I give credit to my husband who knows how I love to draw and doodle, he said I think you would do well with window painting it seems to be right up your alley and he was right! I get to draw and paint all day, what a terrific job! I don’t like to use ‘clip art’ and will only use it when forced to. I have a binder of great pictures that my clients can choose from or I custom make pictures for them…I can basically draw anything and believe my art stands out compared to some of the other window painters. I also am able to paint realistic images, which I have been told some of the other artists cannot do.
2.) How many windows do you anticipate you’ll end up painting this year?
So far I have 50 jobs booked already for Stampede and hoping to double that. Also hoping it is busier because of the Centennial.
3). What is your artistic background?
Drawing and doodling since birth, self-taught, a few classes here and there.
4.) Do you have a window, or moment in your career that you are most proud of?
A couple of years ago I painted the windows for Stampede Casino, those were really cool. I had used a variety of images and made up a group of people playing and cheating at poker…it was fun.
Also a few years back the Stampede board called and asked if they could put No Limit’s name on their website as a contact for window painting. What an honor that they thought I was worthy to be put on their site. They asked for another artist that I knew to put on as well so I added an associate that I know of too.
5.) Is this a solo operation or do you work with a team?
I own and operate the company doing all jobs by myself, but sometimes if I am fortunate my daughter Riley will come and paint with me. Last year at Stampede she was between jobs so we did everything together and had a great time! It also helps me get the job done much quicker of course! I draw and she paints, she is really good, usually by the time I’ve finished drawing the big jobs she was close to catching up. This year she is working, but will help me out as much as she can.
6.) How long does an average window take to complete?
On a window that is about 5’ across I usually give myself an hour and a half per window, or an hour if Riley is helping me.
7.) What is the strangest thing that has happened to you while painting?
Nothing strange that I can think of, but last year a company called KARO Group filmed Riley and myself window painting for one of this year’s 100th celebration commercial We have seen it and there is a shot of me painting, Riley’s boots and dropping paint and her filling in paint on the drawn image. That’s my company in the 100th year commercial…pretty cool!
8.) What is one of your favorite Stampede memories?
Going to country concerts and walking the midway before and after. It’s always a good time!
9.) What Stampede experience or event are you looking forward to the most this year?
Just like everyone else I am hoping to WIN tickets to the Garth Brooks concert!
10.) What’s your best advice for a fun Stampede?
Wear good shoes, buy all the lottery tickets and hope you get a winning one, and eat those mini doughnuts!