The Vancouver Mural Festival has been animating our city for the past three years. By taking massive concrete walls and turning them into canvases, VMF has transformed some choice Vancouver neighbourhoods into vibrant, outdoor art galleries.
Our team strolled through Mount Pleasant, shooting a select few of the newest murals to date.
The complete list of artists and their locations featured in the video are listed below.
Strange Bedfellows – Phantoms in the Front Yard
2286 Ontario St
Phantoms in the Front Yard is “a Vancouver-based figurative artist collective focused on elevating the human figure’s role as a muse in the Canadian contemporary art scene.” Basically, Phantoms in the Front Yard are a group of artists championing figurative work, bringing it to the forefront of contemporary art. This years wall, Strange Bedfellows was an incredibly ambitious design. The details are equal parts entertaining and incredible. Shout out to the artists for completing this casually intricate wall in time for the fest.
You can thank Vancouver artists Andrea Hooge, Michael Abraham, Jeremy Birnbaum, James Knight, Paul Morstad, Jonathan Sutton and Jay Senetchko, in collaboration with curator Pennylane Shen, for the piece.
Untitled – James Acrow
2190 Main St. Northern-facing wall (look up).
For this piece, Acrow stepped out of his private tattoo studio in Railtown to return to mural painting for the first time in a decade. The symmetry illustrated here is unrivalled; executing it on this high of a calibre is impressive, to say the least.
Do yourself a favour: head down to Main St and stare into Acrow’s imposing Japanese Hannya mask.
Quiver – Andrew Young
138 W 3rd Ave, Vancouver (parking lot)
BIGGEST WORK TO DATE COMPLETE! 'Quiver' Aerosol/Latex 120 west 3rd ave, Vancouver 100'x30' I couldn't have done it without the dream team @michael__bock and @_nobodyforeveryone_ . Between aerosol and wind, to a mind-bender of a design, and most especially the glass stucco, we all really put our heads together to solve many production challenges. Big thanks to @brandlivegroup, @hungerfordproperties and @cityofvancouver and @david.lewis07 for allowing me to throw myself and my ideas on such a scale. *Honourable mention to @chrstsn_ for bringing me all of the liquid treats XO #vancouvermural #vancouver #mural #murals #glitch #drewyoung #yvr #floralmural @juxtapozmag @booooooom @thinkspace_art @beautifulbizarremagazine @thejealouscurator @hifructosemag @vanmuralfest @graffuturism @streetartglobe @streetartnews
Photorealism meets abstraction on this 3,000 sq ft beauty. Young’s motif often involves skewed representations of the natural world, just like these bouncing aerial orchids. As the Lead Curator and Artistic Director for VMF, it’s mind-blowing Young had time to pull off a mural this large before the festival.
Young’s piece is not officially part of the VMF tour, but this mural was way too badass not to include as a bonus piece.
PHIL JUST SAW A PILE OF DOTS… – Danielle Krysa aka The Jealous Curator
127 E 8th Ave. Northern-facing wall (alley)
Krysa’s mural, like her previous work, creates an abstract socio-political narrative. She states one of her favourite things about the mural is “getting the Queen to say stuff like “totzadorbz'” and “making art accessible to everyone.” Admittedly, painting a large-scale mural “pushed [her] out of [her] comfort zone” but you’d never be able to tell from the final result, which is expert AF.
Echo Portal – Hanna Lee Joshi
127 E 8th Ave. Western-facing wall (alley).
Echo portal is finished! Special thanks to my partner @hishimaru who powered through the blazing heat with me everyday, all day to finish this. Big thanks to @drewstuff for giving me a chance to plant a piece of my self in this city. Thanks to @jess_3824 @kahoanimation @soysuki And all others who came by to help. Also big 🙌🏽🙌🏽 to my wall buddies! Big 🙏🏽 to @vanmuralfest and all the hard working crew and volunteers. Today is the mural festival. Come check out all the new murals and enjoy the party!!
Joshi describes her mural as “a playful depiction of moving from darkness to light. Exploring new possibilities and breaking free of bounds and constraints placed by social constructs and norms.” Her work is thought-provoking and cheerful at the same time, which is not an easy juxtaposition to achieve. She goes on to describe the figure’s faceless aspect as a “universal representation of a shared existence in the current global consciousness.”
Untitled – Kyle Scott
33 E 8th Ave. Eastern-facing wall.
This mural was a lot of work, and a challenging process. Thank you @drewstuff and @portecommunities for trusting me with such a large wall. Thanks to all the friends that spared time where they could to help out. Thank you @vanmuralfest team for the support and to @mark_illing and @brotherjopa for the regular check ins, company and conversation.
Scott’s mural is a microcosm of Vancouver’s east side community. Vibrant splashes of colour depicting a neighbourhood grace the east wall of Porte Communities. Describing his process, Scott says, “I’m interested in how [the city is] changing around us, I approached my mural with this in mind.” Taking inspiration from his immediate surroundings, Scott’s mural is proudly local.
Shxwexwo:s Balance and Strength – Zac George
293 E 11th Ave. Western-facing wall
Zac George Skokaylem is a Salish artist from the Tsleil-waututh Nation. His mural depicts a Shxwexwo:s, or “the sacred Thunderbird” which is “a mythical being in Salish territory who represents STRENGTH and POWER.” George’s piece was created “in honour of the strength and balance required to live in two worlds.” He believes that these aspects are essential to the human condition, in every walk of life. George goes on to describe that the Thunderbird symbolizes the belief in spirituality as the foundation of our being as Xwelmexw people.
Untitled – Michelle Nguyen
112 E 7th Ave
You wouldn’t know from looking at it, but this was Nguyen’s first mural. Traditionally an oil painter, she took her whimsical and surreal style away from the easel and onto the wall.
No Rain No Flowers – Thrive Art Studio
Exciting news! 🌧️ #NoRainNoFlowers 🌸, THRIVE's @vanmuralfest mural, is complete! . Find it at:📍127 East 8th Avenue (At the back of the building, enter through the alleyway). See all the 2018 murals on VMF's 2018 Mural Map! vanmuralfest.ca/map-and-tours . . THANK YOU to our wonderful THRIVE Mastermind members who put brushes to the wall to bring this mural to Vancouver's Mount Pleasant neighbourhood: @carmenchanart @christinajamesart @crissyarseneau @dianavictorianewman @hanna_benihoud_studio @ideetart @marlenelowden @probynart @pura.luna @sandeepjohalart @sarahronaldartist @sharybartlett @taragaluska @yapespaints . What a spectacular team effort! Check out our 'VMF' Stories Highlight for a day-to-day play-by-play! . . 🌺 A shout out to the @vanmuralfest team! The volume of work they do and the long hours they put in is staggering. Thank you for your coordination, kindness, and care… and for all the @kindsnacks (our mural's sponsor 🌼) you delivered to keep us going! And to all the lovely residents of Mount Pleasant and visitors who stopped by with kind comments and encouraging words, we loved meeting you! 🏵️ . Also a big thank you to @crissyarseneau for being our amazing mural coordinator! Without Crissy and her master organization skills we could not haven taken on this wall. Go Crissy!☀️ . Can't wait for the THRIVE Talks with VMF artists tonight, the Street Party this Saturday, and all the events inbetween! . . . . . #norainnoflowers #THRIVEMurals #vanmuralfest #vancouvermuralfestival #mountpleasant #THRIVEArtStudio #THRIVEMastermind #THRIVETalks #THRIVEStudio #communityovercompetition #femaleartists #thrivingartists
Thrive is a collective of visual artists who support and unite female artists.
The inspiration behind this piece stemmed from our city’s near-constant rainfall and surrounding West Coast beauty. Thrive states, “Without the rain in Vancouver we would not have the green mountains, trees, and plants we love. Just like all great things in life you don’t get the reward without the work. You don’t get the flowers without the rain.”
Unknown Rituals of Distorted Origins – Andres Salaz
Salaz creates visual storytelling with his mural. The work is “a representation [of] a new mythology of city protectors based on endemic flora and fauna and is inspired by traditions of storytelling.” Salaz hits on the human condition, portrayed through the characters in his painting. The “characters celebrate life and death, heart and mind, and their everlasting struggle.”
The Tramplers – Jean-Paul Langlois
253 E 11th Ave
Done. 'the tramplers' acrylic latex on stucco. 30' x 60' + Thanks to everybody who pitched in, especially Benoit Tardif who was there 14 hours a day, everyday for the whole damn thing….also big ups @brotherjopa @dazed.and.confucius @mindforking @vanmuralfest @naomimacd @benntardif @sheldon.knight @adventuresoffredandkoda and Bryce Ferris. A few touch ups but otherwise….we done! . . . #fourhorsemen #thetramplers #jeanpaullanglois #spaghettiwestern #dulux #onemorehangover
Langlois is a Metis artist from Vancouver Island. He describes his work as “informed by television and cinema, particularly Westerns, 70s sci-fi and Saturday morning cartoons.” Inspired aesthetically by pop culture, Langlois examines his own life “through the re-interpretation of family stories using characters and motifs from the pop culture he was weaned on. The result is a very recognizable style of familiar figures in their own world of bright colours and flattened space.”
Recycled – Sara Khan
253 E 11th Ave
Khan’s work that grabbed VMF’s attention were tiny watercolour pieces. To put it in perspective, the jump from small-scale watercolours to painting a massive mural on the side of a building is like hopping out of a plane with a parachute that might work. The fact that this was Khan’s first mural makes this all the more impressive.
She describes her work as being about “the repulsive and beautiful found in ordinary spaces and situations,” and uses it to “question the normalcy of the seemingly mundane matters in life.”