Wednesday 31 August 2016

Local Love | Vancouver Mural Festival

Mural by Katie Maasik
Hey Dolls!

Over the past several months, Main street business exteriors have undergone a gorgeous makeover. The stunning original murals were undertaken by 39 local artists who were also joined by six international artists. Some of the artists I am already familiar with such as Ola Volo, but many of the artists are completely new to me, such as Ben Tour. 

On August 20th, Vancouver Mural Festival (supported by the City of Vancouver, Mount Pleasant Business Improvement Area and the Burrard Arts Foundation) hosted several events and tours along Main st to celebrate urban art! Montreal has been hosting mural festivals since 2013, so it is very exciting to see Vancouver finally embracing public art mainly in the form of murals. It was a full day of festivities filled with performances, interactive demonstrations, exhibits, markets and much more. I am so happy to see Mayor Gregor Robertson has followed through on his promise of supporting public art by matching a $200,000 grant. I am a huge supporter of city APPROVED murals as I find a mural can really add some charm to an otherwise boring business district. No more boring concrete boxes!

Mural by Tim Mack
I have not had a chance to visit all of the 35+ murals, but of the ones that I have seen, they are stunning! No two murals are alike in style and each one depicts a different subject matter. Some are more abstract like the one completed by Scott Sueme who undertook the massive task of painting the entire front of Hootsuite's headquarters along 8th avenue, while other artists chose to pain more recognizable imagery. 

I highly recommend taking wonder along Main Street between 16th Avenue and Prior Street because the pictures really do not do justice to these murals. Some of the murals are so large that I honestly could not even fit the entire mural into one picture! If you want to see pictures of the other murals, Inside Vancouver put together a great photo essay of the majority of the murals completed for the festival. 

Of the ones I have seen, these are my favourites:

  • Christian Rebecchi + Pablo Togni - Polar bear in cola bottle | The Arts Factory 281 Industrial Avenue
  • Tim Mack - conductor and orchestra | The Arts Factory 281 Industrial Avenue
  • Katie Maasik - "everything matters. Nothing's important" | The Arts Factory 281 Industrial Avenue
  • Ilya Viryarachev - Giraffes with blossoms | 8th and Main Street

The murals that I hope to check out soon:

  • Ben Tour - 2 large geometic wolves | 49th Parallel 2902 Main Street
  • Mandy Tsung + Russel Alton - Portrait in pinks/purples | Maker Labs 780 East Cordova Street
  • Drew Young + Jay Senetchko - Portraits | Belvedere Court 2451 Main Street
  • Nick Gregson - Blue Peacock 

Vancouver is a great city; however, like every city, individuals will deface private property including the newly completed murals, with their own graffiti. As much as I want to think these murals will not be tagged over, the reality is, it will ultimately happen. I know for a fact that Ilya Viryarachev has had to touch up the giraffe and cherry blossom mural near 8th and Main street several times. These murals were commissioned by the business owners as well as approved by the City of Vancouver and if you see someone vandalizing this urban art, please let the authorities know! 

I would love to hear from you in the comments below which of the new murals are your favourite. As well, do you have any recommendations on murals I should check out within the lower mainland? 

Mural by Julia Iredale
Mural by Bobo

Mural by Kyle Scott
Mural by Christian Rebecchi + Pablo Tongi
Mural by Ola Volo

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