Outdoor public art is like wallpaper: familiarity breeds visual blinkers. Yet when the art is removed, it is akin to the effect after stripping wallpaper, the “visualscape” is more empty, bare.
This post is part two, a sequel to the first article I wrote last April on outdoor art, Bike Inspired Outdoor Art: Vancouver. This sequel was prompted by John Steil’s impromptu photo contributions for two art works not found in his book on outdoor public art, Public Art in Vancouver: Angels Among Lions. The first art ‘piece’ is a temporary whimsical grafitti response to a bike lane –a perky mouse perched over the saddle and handlebar bike pavement stencil at Pendrell and Cardero St. in Vancouver. A brave little icon coinciding with the larger spirited consultation and public discussion on the Hornby St. separated bike lane at this time.
The second photo he furnished, was an art sculpture which featured as part of a larger piece, a skeletal cyclist on his mountain bike, bouncing ghostily yet nearly buried in an archaelogical dirt swirl with his unbuckled bike helmet ready
to fly off. “Trial by Stone” by Ross Agro (2002), is mounted under a viaduct at the Rotary mountain bicycle park in Port Moody.
Meanwhile I had missed out (again) in Vancouver and actually not far from home, the art murals along the north base of Granville Bridge off-ramp at Seymour St. Usually a cyclist’s attention is diverted away from the mural details at this intersection since there may be either fast flowing car traffic or off-ramp cars ready to merge with traffic along Pacific Blvd. Hardly a great place to notice art. Yet I had been cycling by this area often, oblivious to the murals for the last 8 years.
Unfortunately for one of the bike murals, I have only a 2006 photo link to a mural by Steven Lowe, of a cyclist with the Vancouver skyline must before it was defaced. Luis Curan had the foresight to photograph Lowe’s original mural and post it along with other the Granville Bridge St. murals.
“Tour de Chance” by Nelson Garcia (2005), depicts a caricature father doggedly cycling on a fixie with his family onboard and dog in back trailer. If you look closely, each character has a nickname.
As for outdoor bike art on the North Shore, for now, I have given up temporarily on even finding sufficient information on much outdoor public art in general, at the municipal web sites for the West Vancouver, District of North Vancouver, and City of North Vancouver. Odd– either less money and time is invested
on outdoor public art or no one has taken time to update their web sites. Outdoor public art deserves wide promotion for enjoyment by all. Even Richmond’s web site provides some arresting photos of several outdoor art installations, though none are bike-themed.
The field is wide open to any travelling, or shall I say, cycling blogger or amateur photographer to document more systematically, outdoor public art in some of these other areas within Metro Vancouver.
It would be a pleasant surprise to find any outdoor public bike art on the North Shore, plus in municipalities south and east of Vancouver. A confirmation that cycling inspires unfettered transportation and exploration.
John Steil, who is also an artist and author of Public Art in Vancouver: Angels Among Lions: 500+ Works of Art to Discover. http://www.johnsteil.com/
Luis Curan who has taken photos of many public and privately sponsored art murals and mosaics located in the City of Vancouver.