High Alert

21 June 2019 – Solstice, the summer version in the northern hemisphere, and, here in very-seasonal Canada, it’s street-festival season.

No wonder even dogs & cats are on high alert…

Well, that was a shameless segue if ever you saw one, wasn’t it? But there really is a kind of link between image & theme, not that I suppose you care a lot.

I’m walking back south on Ontario Street from False Creek, enjoying breeze & sunshine, and about to turn left on E 5th for a latte. I pause at the corner to properly enjoy the dog & cat — and the other two cats on the dog’s back, and the whole rest of this mad mural.

But that’s not the “whole rest.”

It’s just another chunk of this 2018 example of Vancouver Mural Festival (VMF) art work, whose epicentre is still this Mount Pleasant neighbourhood, and will be again, come 1-10 August.

So I enjoy the wall yet again, including the name & signature style of the phantoms in the front yard collective …

and go get my latte.

I sit in the cafĂ© thinking just how festival-drenched we are: Main Street Car-Free Sunday just past; jazz and folk festivals warming up; VMF looming and the Vancouver Bach Festival as well (30 July – 9 August). To name a few.

But dog/cats/etc. have me thinking street art in particular, and the rest of my walk home supports that train of thought. (I almost wrote “visual thought.” Is that possible?)

A little farther south, a little higher up the hill, left turn into the alley between E 7th & E 8th, and whappp — big octopus eye stares me down. I look on east, past the rest of that mural, ‘way down the line to the pink blob in the distance, framed by hydro poles.

I reel in my visual field, focus up close again, see the octopus credit line.

Except it isn’t, I later realize. It’s acknowledging the 2018 VMF overall curator, Scott Sueme, a Vancouver-based abstract artist who began with a fascination for graffiti and skate-boarding, attended Emily Carr University, and is now hung in and represented by very fine galleries indeed.

I don’t have a credit for little girl with heart, alas, though I think this mural dates from the 2016 VMF. Query: does anybody else look at that and think of Toronto’s lovebots?

Eastward down that alley, past Quebec St., up close to the pink blob. Which is still pretty darn pink, but less blobby, even if I still can’t quite work out which body bits go where.

Right turn at the cross-alley.

But not before admiring another 2018 mural, one I’ve always liked for its cool, ordered contrast to the more typical street-mural turbulence.

For the first time, I read the complete credit line, not just the year. And I discover why this work is so cool, ordered and geometric.

See? If you keep looking, you keep learning.

  • WALKING… & SEEING

    "Traveller, there is no path. Paths are made by walking" -- Antonio Machado (1875-1939)

    "The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes" -- Marcel Proust (1871-1922)

    "A city is a language, a repository of possibilities, and walking is the act of speaking that language, of selecting from those possibilities" -- Rebecca Solnit, "Wanderlust: A History of Walking"

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