Written for Daily Hive by David Vertesi, executive director of the Vancouver Mural Festival.
This week marks the second annual Vancouver Mural Festival (VMF) and there are a seemingly endless number of amazing murals to go see.
Though we have tours taking place on Saturday, August 12, at the Mount Pleasant Street Party, you can still hunt for some public art on your own.
Here are 10 of this year’s highlights to get you started as well as four “mural zones” that you can wander around in.
Bracken Hanuse Corlett – “Travellers in the Space Canoe”
Hailing from the Wuikinuxv and Klahoose Nations, Bracken will be wrapping the iconic Gene Coffee location at the corner of Kingsway and Main Street. This piece is part of VMF’s exploration of how murals can contribute positively to de-colonizing public space and build on visual sovereignty for both local land based First Nations as well as Urban Aboriginals in Vancouver.
Sandeep Johal – “Girls Are Fierce Like Tigers”
This is the first mural at the entrance to Gallery Lane, on Broadway between Quebec and Main Street. Sandeep is an incredible emerging local artist with an insatiable passion for creating thoughtful art and connecting with her artistic community.
Amanda Smart, Bronwyn Schuster, Lani Imre, and Tia Rambaran – “Lady Mermaids”
Collaborations are always an awesome part of VMF, and one of our favourite ones this year is at the corner of 4th and Main Street where four local female figurative artists have designed a piece wrapping three sides of the building. Depicting different mermaids, the mural is intended to work within the theme of transformation, as well as an awareness for the ocean and our Pacific West Coast.
Peeta – “Urban Entanglement”
Italian artist Peeta takes graffiti to a whole other level. He will be transforming a massive wall with his breathtaking signature style at 13th and Main Street, right in Mount Pleasant’s vibrant business district.
This is one of my favourite locations because despite the size of the wall, few seem to notice it when they walk by every day. I love how murals like this can bring spaces to life in your own neighbourhood that you never even realized existed.
Andy Dixon – “Vancouver Studio”
This work is one of the largest single walls painted by a VMF artist to date. Andy Dixon’s vibrant portrayal of his nearby Mount Pleasant Studio space is more than 90 feet tall, covers more than 6,000 square feet, and can be seen from the SkyTrain almost 10 blocks away.
This piece was made possible by the support of Westbank Properties and Hootsuite Media.
Corey Bulpitt – “East Van Pigeon”
We helped produce this massive full building wrap on Pigeon Park Savings at East Hastings and Columbia Street. This organization is a pillar of the DTES community and we were honoured to work with respected Haida artist Corey Bulpitt who adorned it with a formline pigeon of his design.
This was commissioned by the Hastings Crossing BIA and done in conjunction with BC Housing, Vancity, Downtown Eastside Market, and PHS Community Services Society.
Irving Cano & Ari De La Mora – “Dance The Dance My Girl”
At the north end of Gallery Lane you’ll find a large piece by Mexican mural legend, Irving Cano who is collaborating with Vancouver-based Mexican artist, Ari De La Mora. This mural is meant to reflect the vibrant cultural space inside run by La Casa Productions which houses practice spaces for groups like Mariachi Los Dorados, Canada’s premier Mariachi band.
Sharifah Marsden and Corey LaRocque – “Zhawenjigewin (Love in Anishinaabe)”
This mural by respected local artists Sharifah Marsden and Corey LaRocque represents unconditional love, blessings, and kindness. The image shows different First Nations artistic styles: Anishinaabe, Cree, and Coast Salish. It depicts a man and woman embracing while surrounded by teepee poles representing home and the bond between them.
Morik – “One Day Collage”
Russian artist Morik’s large collage-styled mural will be on the back side of building number 2425 Quebec Street. It may seem random, but the elements have one thing in common, they all happened during one summer day in Russia. Like the moments in our everyday lives they have been put together to create a larger picture.
Various Artists – “Holden Courage Memorial Graffiti Jam”
You don’t want to miss 13-plus local graffiti artists live painting for the Mount Pleasant Street Party on August 12. See pieces by legends like JNasty, Crums, Siloh, and Naks, as well as a large memorial piece for local graff writer Holden Courage by his friends.
This is part of the 4-Elements of Hip Hop event in the parking lot just off the laneway to the west at Main and 5th Avenue. This area will also have breakdancing battles, emceeing, DJ battles, and a practice graffiti wall.
Mural Zones to explore
Main and Broadway
At the heart of our Mount Pleasant Street Party, you can find more than 10 murals by artists such as Jill Stanton, GHIA Collective, Sharifah Marsden and Corey Larocque, Andrew Tavukciyan, Taka Sudo, Kashink, Drew Young, Jay Senetchko, Ali Bruce, iHeart, Steve and Sandy Pell, as well as Ashley Guindon, with Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House.
Gallery Lane is a must visit for mural hunters. This six-block stretch of alleyway connects Mount Pleasant to the False Creek Flats and features 30 murals, with most being painted this week. Murals are an amazing way to reclaim these kinds of spaces offering an increased sense of place, safety, identity, and ownership for one’s own neighbourhood. On Saturday August 12, there will be tons of activities in this laneway, including our Craft Beer Garden, 4-Elements of Hip Hop Parking Lot Party, Antisocial Skateboard Jam, and much more.
Sometimes it can be hard to get yourself off the beaten path and over to murals on the edges of Mount Pleasant, but I promise they are well worth the extra few blocks. Some of our favourite pieces from both this year and last are included in this category including work by Sarah Delaney, Derek Edenshaw, Fiona Ackerman, Will Phillips, Nomi Chi, Morik, iHeart, Scott Sueme, Steve Hornung, Oksana Gaidasheva, Emily Gray, David Shillinglaw, and of course the 12 massive murals off of Inndustrial Avenue in the False Creek Flats.
Don’t forget to visit these massive walls painted earlier this summer as part of the lead up to the festival. You can find 14 breathtaking murals wrapping three buildings around East Cordova and Hawks Street and a block away at East Cordova and Campbell Street. These are from both the 2016 and 2017 VMFs and include artists like AA Crew, Mur0ne, Bicicleta Sem Freio, Andrew Dexel, Stace Forand, Tristesse Seeliger, Lauren Brevner, and more.
When: Now until August 12
Where: Throughout Strathcona and Mount Pleasant
Daily Hive is a Proud Media Sponsor of the Vancouver Mural Festival