Vancouver’s Alleys are More Awesome Now!

Photo: Lenée Son/Inside Vancouver

As part of its More Awesome Now project, the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association, HCMA Architecture + Design and the City of Vancouver have come together to transform several drab laneways into vibrant, engaging, accessible urban parks. Featuring basketball hoops, a foosball court, and hopscotch, More Awesome Now encourages people to BYOB (bring your own ball), have fun, and make new social connections.

The first Awesome public lane is located south of West Hastings between Seymour and Granville. Check out the photo essay below to see what I’m talking about.

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Vancouver’s Alleys are More Awesome Now!

Showing Up for Street and Graffiti Art in Vancouver

Urban Stormtrooper by Wrk(less). Photo by Ehren Seeland

Urban Stormtrooper installation by Wrk(less). Photo by Ehren Seeland

Weaving through the busy sidewalks of Granville Street, head bowed over a screen as I heed the Pavlovian ding of my incoming text messages, I retrieve a description of who to look for at the designated meeting spot on Hastings Street. “I’m out front with a bucket and pole. Hard to miss.”

It’s the tail end of summer and I’m fresh off an inspiring trip to the street and graffiti art mecca of Bushwick, Brooklyn. Now back in Vancouver, my resolve is focused on sourcing the best examples of urban art in the city.

Initially encouraged by the recent addition of the behemoth OSGEMEOS mural on Granville lsland by Brazilian artists Gustavo and Otavio Pandolfo, my quest turns a bit challenging as I glance down manicured streets lined with glass towers, with no trace of my target visuals in sight. That said, there is street and graffiti art in Vancouver – you just have to know where to look for it.

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Showing Up for Street and Graffiti Art in Vancouver

Street Art Exhibition Coming to Vancouver

Photo sourced from Hot Art Wet City

Photo sourced from Hot Art Wet City

Vancouver’s vibrant street art scene is coming indoors this month at the Hot Art Wet City Gallery on Main Street.

Five local street artists – whose stencils, graffiti and wheatpaste art have been showing up on city walls and alleyways for years – will step out of the shadows and showcase some of their best work.

Here’s a look at the talented Vancouver street artists profiled:

M.W. Bowen lives and works in Vancouver as an illustrator, painter and street artist.  His works have a strong element of social commentary and he has a keen ability to question norms and conventions through his art.  Says Bowen, “A great deal of art I see in galleries seems to be a winking match between artists and I believe strongly that this kind of work ostricizes the general public. I want to make art that is all-inclusive …”

Photo sourced from mwbowen.com

Photo sourced from mwbowen.com

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Street Art Exhibition Coming to Vancouver

7-Storey Graffiti Mural Coming to Vancouver’s Granville Island

Photo sourced from Vancouver Biennale

Photo sourced from Vancouver Biennale

If you’ve been on False Creek lately, they’re hard to miss.

Those giant concrete silos on Granville Island – the ones that tower 70 feet above the water at the Ocean Concrete plant – have gotten a dramatic facelift.  They’ve been painted a rainbow of reds, yellows, pinks, blues and greens as part of one of the largest public art projects the city has ever seen.

World-renowned street artists Osgemeos are using the silos as a 23,500-square-foot canvas for their latest work.  It’s all part of this year’s Vancouver Biennale, the outdoor sculpture and art exhibition that sees dozens of monumental works of art installed on the street, parks and buildings of Metro Vancouver.

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7-Storey Graffiti Mural Coming to Vancouver’s Granville Island

Word Art on Main Street

Photo credit: amazing_podgirl | Flickr

Walk down South Main and you’ll notice all sorts of colourful, eclectic treats: storefronts, restaurants, and in particular, art. It’s hard to miss the street art that makes Main Street so unique. But take a closer look and you’ll notice that snippets of advice, poetry, and musings pepper the building facades. Vancouver, one’s own existence, and living life to its fullest are common themes in the thoughts along Main Street. While some words like the Margaret Mead quote are permanent, others are temporary and are already fading away. At the same time, new word art is always appearing, making the art of Main Street constantly changing.

If you would like to take see Main Street’s word art for yourself, I suggest taking a walking tour. Start at Main St & 5th Ave, walking north towards King Edward, then double back to see what you missed on the other side of the street.  Due to the ever-changing nature of Main Street’s art, there is no definitive guide other than keeping your eyes peeled and observant.

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Word Art on Main Street

Hydro pole art

I was walking my dog early one morning just past the stretch of 11th Avenue voted “Most Beautiful Block 1999-2001. My head was down, staring at the pavement, and my brain was still in reboot mode. Once I hit Ontario, my eyes happened to dart up and were pleasantly welcomed by this guy. (See above.)

Oh. Hey there.

I gave him a closer look, smiled and kept walking.

It wasn’t too long until I ran into him again, except he was red. Then he was yellow. Then he was green. He kept staring back at me with that goofy look of his from his eye-level perch on a hydro poles. I couldn’t stop smiling.

Upon closer inspection, these faces weren’t selling anything, even though many of them had their “teeth” ripped out. Is it art? A marketing campaign? I certainly don’t know. All I know is that it brightened my day.

Have you seen these posters around Mt. Pleasant, between Main and Cambie and Broadway and 14th? Let’s take a…poll.

What do you think: Are they some sort of art project? Or some something more strategic?

Street Art: Terracotta Soldiers Coming to Vancouver

Chinese warriors are invading Vancouver.

An army of 33, life-sized terracotta warriors – modeled after the world-famous originals discovered in China in 1974 – will be occupying metro Vancouver in the months ahead.

The sculptures will be positioned on strategic street corners and parks in Vancouver, Richmond and Burnaby.  Check out the map below (You might remember similar campaigns recently involving fibreglass eagles, bears and killer whales on city streets).

Each statue has been painted with an original – and often eye-popping – design by a different artist.  Warriors have been dressed up in brilliant reds and blues, emblazoned with images of endangered wildlife and decorated like enormous Chinese vases.  Each design tells a different story about Chinese history and life.

This fall, the whole army will be auctioned off, with proceeds going to the BC Lions Society Easter Seal Houses and Easter Seal Camps for children with disabilities.  But what’s the story behind the original terracotta warriors?  Continue reading:
Street Art: Terracotta Soldiers Coming to Vancouver