“A Day in the Life” with Calgary Collaborative Artistic Duo Nasarimba

Playful mischief was in the air when Rachel Ziriada and Mikhail Miller met in Victoria in 2014. Rachel was finishing up her BFA at UVIC with a focus on installation art and graphic design when she met her future co-conspirator. A Calgary expat himself, Mikhail had finished his BFA at AuArts and was busy developing himself as a print-maker, sculptor and prolific street artist. Both were (and remain) deeply passionate, not only about art itself but of its transformational power for change. In 2015, they decided to move home to Calgary, to create art together under the name NASARIMBA, meaning appropriately, playful mischief. Through introducing colourful installations in unexpected places, they transformed the world they moved through and confirmed their compatibility as a powerful artistic duo. Since then, they have infused much of the world around them with sophisticated deployments of colour, form and vibrancy. As comfortable in solo gallery exhibitions, as they are on scaffolds and basket lifts, their work can be seen in over fifty public mural projects, some several storeys high. Their complex and lively work continues to breathe life into the public spaces around Moh’kinstis (Calgary AB) and beyond while serving as a living testament to the power of art and collaboration to change the world.

-Written by Rob Gordon, Friend of the Artists

A day in the life of working on a mural for Nelson BC’s International Mural Festival starts with a morning meeting and coffee. We look at our paper collage design and decide a loose order of operations for the day.
We set up our equipment like ladders, lifts, and traffic barriers. We lay down drop sheets to protect the ground under our wall.
We spend time mixing colours to get the perfect hues. It can be tiring to mix full gallons of paint but well worth it to get that perfect colour.
Our designs are made to scale with the dimensions of the wall. We scale up the design onto the wall using chalk.
When painting our murals, we use a mix of brushes, rollers, and paint sprayers to apply latex paint. We also use spray paint.
Elevated work platforms make our job much easier! We get some pretty good views when were up in the sky as well.
Mikhail using a paint sprayer to achieve some textured gradients.
Mikhail and Rachel, NASARIMBA, standing in front of our mural, Moonshadow, painted for Nelson’s International Mural Festival 2023.


 Which ’hood are you in?

We live in the Southeast community of Southview, which is close to the Bow River and International Avenue.

What do you do?

NASARIMBA works collaboratively in creating paintings, screen prints, sculpture installations and large-scale public murals. We investigate aspects of everyday life filtered through lenses of abstraction. We often work site-specifically, reflecting and responding to the locations our work inhabits. Mural painting is a way for us to activate architectural spaces as sites of artistic expression, inquiry, and engagement with the public. We approach each project with a desire to understand the ways in which our work is situated within a community.

What are you currently working on?

NASARIMBA completed several murals this past summer season, most notably a large vertical mural depicting an eagle’s nest that is visible from the 4th Avenue flyover going into downtown. We also painted a mural as part of the Nelson International Mural Festival in Nelson, BC. This fall, we screen-printed our designs on a collection of pre-loved and vintage denim pants and jackets which we sold at our booth at the Holiday Market Collective. We are currently shifting focus towards art production in our basement studio over the winter months along with preparing for 2024 art projects.

Where can we find your work?

Our work and online store can be found on our website. Our murals can be found at locations across the city including Loophole Coffee Bar, NVRLND Boutique, and Barbecues Galore in the community of Greenview. We have an Instagram account that highlights some of our activities and achievements over the years.