It has taken about 15 years for Robbie Lariviere’s artwork to become practically ubiquitous in Ottawa.
Robbie, the Centretown resident only indulges in his painting on the side. By day, he manages shoe and clothing store Vans in the Rideau Centre. And yet, his murals, window paintings, decorated clothing and commissioned work seem to be everywhere.
His cartoon-based drawings and stylized lettering are in locations from St. Peter High School in Orléans to the Platinum Black nail lounge in Carleton Place, with their heaviest concentration in the downtown core.
The Cornwall native calls himself a late bloomer artistically, although he was, he says, always doodling as a child.
In his late teens, he was living in Toronto and taking general arts courses at George Brown College. He also worked at an urban culture store that sold everything from skateboards to spray paint.
“I just fell in love with spray paint,” he says. “That whole culture just opened my eyes. I was instantly hooked.”
He soon moved from Toronto to Ottawa, where he has since lived, and began painting murals, at first on the walls of friends’ apartments.