Blog Post — I.
The Vancouver Mural Festival has created a sense of livelihood, community, and connection amongst Vancouverites. The Mural Festival brings people together from all walks of life, sharing a common appreciation for art and creativity. Whether you are a multidisciplinary artist or know nothing about art, the mural festival will fascinate you. With over 60 murals hand-painted, it was quite challenging to narrow down only three murals to highlight.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Vancouver Mural Festival teamed up local artists with boarded-up storefront businesses to create a sense of “togetherness” amongst the uncertain future. This project was labeled #MakeArtWhileApart.
Tristesse Seeliger beautifully portrays the unknown period we are living through as a society. The mural perfectly fits in front of Chambar restaurant, located on Beatty Street. A subtle reminder to take a minute to reflect on our mental and emotional state while in isolation. Considering Downtown Vancouver is quite commonly associated with the Financial District, this mural holds an alternative reminder for those who live a corporate lifestyle. As a society, we become conditioned to believe that emotions do not belong in the workplace, and your mental health comes second to a job. This is the sign to let go of that ideology.
Seeliger incorporated maps and landscapes to exemplify borders. The boarders are fluid to show how we’re all in this together regardless of all the constraints. Challenging societal norms and addressing toxic masculinity by writing — “Vulnerability We Depend In” enticed me to learn more about this mural. When combined with the neighboring mural done by Karen Yurkovich, the murals write out, “Ultimately, it is in our vulnerability that we depend.” For an extended period of my life, I firmly believed that vulnerability was a sign of weakness. Throughout COVID-19, drastic changes happened quite rapidly, which lead me to believe otherwise. There is nothing weak about being vulnerable, quite the opposite. To be able to bear the truth and speak on it, now that is courageous.
David Camisa completed his first mural, which highlighted the importance of our relationship with the world around us. During an interview, he heavily emphasized his passion for having his work display a portal into a surreal yet familiar world. In this alternative reality, possibilities are endless. Camisa’s mural is located in the River District, where it is highly admired for its intricate design and detail.
The mural displays a woman holding an octopus tentacle. Engulfed in the background is free-flowing seaweed. The ribbon in her hair beautifully ties in with the tentacles, free-flowing in the water. At first glance, this mural highlighted innocence and awareness. The woman holding the octopus seems to be carefully caressing the tentacle, making sure the animal is still safe. She seems to be at peace under the water and in the unknown waters. Her red ribbon adds a childlike demeanor as it floats. When walking by this mural, the initial reaction is to detach from reality. While looking at this mural, it sparks the curiosity of what secrets the ocean holds. In a parallel lifetime, could we achieve perfect harmony with the animals that live amongst us?
Main street modernized their murals by featuring a Graffiti only mural. Four individuals painted this mural, @BallAndCup, @Wrues, @oodlesofowes, and @zedek_one_dse (no names were attached on the website). The artists submitted a statement in which they highlighted how graffiti is a form of self-expression. Graffiti allows a sense of creative freedom, which can inspire younger generations to follow and pursue creativity. Cranes, cats, crisp lettering, and lots of colors, this mural truly captures graffiti art’s beauty.
In the 1980s, New York’s subway art was incredible, so incredible that it created a whole era of Graffiti Art. The era of Dondi holds a special place in my heart, which is why I gravitate towards this mural. In an interview, Lee (1980’s) stated, “If art like this is a crime, let God forgive me,” which is why it is refreshing when I see Vancouver gravitate towards graffiti. We are absorbing and open to different forms of art — whether it be abstract, figurative, or graffiti). It took MOMA years to come to terms that graffiti should be an art form. On behalf of MOMA, a trustee once stated, “Those people should be lined up at dawn.” The fact that we are incorporating it into modern culture is beautiful to see, especially when you understand the history behind it.