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Archive for the ‘bike art’ Category

Since Apr. 2010, when I  first launched our rolling series on outdoor bike art work, there has been a recurring theme whenever the image of a cyclist 

Scene evokes irrespressible fun. Tweedsmuir Elementary School. New Westminister. Photo by John Steil, 2010.

Scene evokes irrespressible fun. Tweedsmuir Elementary School. New Westminister, BC. Photo by John Steil, 2010.

 is interwoven into art: fun, play, freedom and oneness with nature and companionship. No wonder why images of cyclists, young and old, are often tucked in outdoor art work installed on schools. I featured some art work in a previous bike art blog post, but now here’s more.

A comic figure of an older gentleman on his fixie pink bike is featured in one of the art panels at Tweedsmuir Elementary School in New Westminister, BC.  Elsewhere on the same school, a  smiling carefree (Oops, nearly misspelled as car-free.)  woman cyclist cruises along while balanced on her saddle with an ice cream cone in one hand.
 

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 Elsewhere in Burnaby at Kitchener Elementary School, is  bike art work of a cycling racer  emblazoned with flashy multicultural and multi-faith badges. This cyclist has no need to assimilate and hide among cars or in the landscape. Whereas in the mural mounted at Eagle Head Elementary School, a bike is nearly hidden by beach grasses and driftwood among beach strollers and a soccer player.

Cyclist heading to favourite place --a bakery. Part of mural at Victoria St., near Ridgeway bike route. Vancouver, BC. Photo by John Steil, 2011

Cyclist heading to favourite place --a bakery. Part of mural at Victoria Dr., near Ridgeway bike route. Vancouver, BC. Photo by John Steil, 2011

  At times, the cyclist is part of a much bigger landscape mural. At Victoria Dr. where it crosses near the Ridgeway bike route in Vancouver, there are two different cyclists heading in various directions against a ridge of mountains and the Vancouver skyline. Happily one of the cyclists, will haunt a spinner’s favourite stopover –a bakery.

More bike art, in the shape of mandalas, was recently installed along the planters at the community gardens on the front lawn of  Vancouver city hall.  

One of the community based art mandalas installed along the side of raised community garden beds on front lawn at city hall.  This one is bike-inspired where cycling has its place in network of roads. Vancouver  BC 2010. Photo by HJEH Becker

One of the community based art mandalas installed along the side of raised community garden beds on front lawn at city hall. This one is bike-inspired where cycling has its place in network of roads. Vancouver BC 2010. Photo by HJEH Becker

 The art work was created from city sponsored 2010 summer art program in the Mount Pleasant area for residents and the homeless. The Cycleback Art Outreach Program was led by effusive Jamie Ollivier who cycled around on his recumbent bike, with art supplies to community centres and parks to deliver his program to adults, teens and children as well as the homeless.  The bike art work is a fitting flourish for the community gardens and for  Mayor Robertson’s vision of Vancouver as Greenest City, since he was a farmer and still a long time, daily bike commuter between home and city hall. 

More bike-themed mandala art. City hall community gardens. Vancouver, BC. Photo by HJEH Becker

More bike-themed mandala art. City hall community gardens. 2010 Vancouver, BC. Photo by HJEH Becker

 Bikes and community gardens are really not so far apart. Vancouver’s bike routes are close to many community gardens. There is even a map that helps you check out some gardens by bike. Like sustainable living, eating and travelling, bike art feeds us memories and dreams of unchained bliss.

Note:  There are now over 50 different outdoor bike art works in Metro Vancouver. Other bike art pieces are featured in articles below. 

Additional Articles:
Chong, Jean.   Bike Inspired Outdoor Art. Third Wave Cycling Blog.  Apr. 29, 2010.

Chong, Jean.   Stripping More Metaphorical Wallpaper to Rediscover Outdoor Public Bike Art in Vancouver and beyond. Part 2. Third Wave Cycling Blog. Aug. 24, 2010. 

Chong, Jean.   Stripping More Metaphorical Wallpaper to Rediscover Outdoor Public Bike Art in Vancouver and beyond. Part 3.   Third Wave Cycling Blog. Sept. 6, 2010.

City of Vancouver.  Community Garden Walking and Cycling Tours.  (Self-Guided with map.)

Steil, John.   Public Art in Vancouver: Angels Among Lions: 500+ Works of Art to Discover.   http://www.johnsteil.com

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A ceramic tile mounted on outdoor wall areas, as part of community art at Britannia Community Centre, Vancouver BC. Photo by John Steil.

 Maybe it’s the mouse on bike  chasing the cat, or the cat overtaking the mouse on the bike.   It is sheer coincidence that I begin part 3 of our Metro Vancouver outdoor bike art series  with John Steil’s photo of ceramic tile cat on the bike. 

My previous blog article, part 2 last week, began with a  mouse on the bike saddle.  A few days after the post was released on the blog, I received a few more photos on more outdoor bike art.

2009 sidewalk mosaic by Bruce Walther at 7th Ave. & 12th St., New Westminister BC. Photo by John Steil

This latest batch covers a few more bike art installations in the Metro Vancouver –courtesy of John Steil who has an interest in outdoor bike art while cycling around.

After cycling as a child,  John “bought a ten speed as an adult, but just toodled around.   About 25 years ago, I bought a mountain bike—didn’t do any real mountain biking, mostly stayed on the easy trails.  But, I did ride it on some longer trips.  The length of Portugal on it, did the south shore of Nova Scotia, the north shore of the St. Lawrence River from Quebec City east, from Basingstoke to Bath.  Now I’m just a recreational rider—around the seawalls, out to Spanish Banks and back, but I’m out several evenings and on the weekend plus do my weekend errands on bike.”

His latest discovery is a 2009 sidewalk mosaic by Bruce Walther in New Westminister at  the intersection of the Rotary Crosstown Bikeway, (7th Ave.)  and 12th St.  This mosaic is a similar motif  for his earlier 2008 sidewalk bike art mosaic,  at Smithe and Burrard St. in downtown Vancouver that was highlighted (with a photo), in one of my earlier blog articles. 

The New Westminister mosaic features streetcar, TransLink bus, cyclist, and for pedestrians, a red sneaker.  City of Vancouver’s mosaic included a few  more alternative transportation modes –an aboriginal boat, seaplane, ocean liner and train.  

Mural under bridge at Fir St. & West 6th Ave., Vancouver BC.  Photo by John Steil.  Cyclist enters another world, maybe more real compared to a static art gallery world of Canadian Group of Seven paintings.  At bottom left, there is a Cezanne-like still life painting of fruit transforming into simply food.

Mural under bridge at Fir St. & West 6th Ave., Vancouver BC. Photo by John Steil. Cyclist enters another world, maybe more real compared to a static art gallery world of Canadian Group of Seven paintings. At bottom left, there is a Cezanne-like still life painting of fruit and vegetables.

Other public bike art featured in this article, has been removed, such as the mural by Mandy Bouriscot which graced the lobby of the now-demolished, old Mount Pleasant Community Centre.  Maybe the mural will resurface somewhere else one day.

Some art work needs some interpretation.  The mural under the bridge at Fir St. and West 6th Ave., depicts a cyclist entering a world that is less static, not necessarily as elevated as an art gallery where a family gazes upon a Group of Seven Lawren Harris-like painting. The door marked “Bienvenue” originally may refer to a nearby French language centre.

Art mural at Ray-Cam Community Centre at East Hastings St. near Campbell Ave. By Richard Tetrault (1991). Vancouver BC. Photo by John Steil

Other art needs more visual prodding and acuity since the art work is very subtle:  the 2005 floor mosaic by Liz  Calvin at the Broadway/ Commercial Skytrain station, has a blend of footprints and bike tires  tires from road and mountain bikes that thread through the design.

Detail of Centennial mural (2007). On retaining wall at Queen Mary School.West Keith Rd. & Mahon Ave. District of North Vancouver. Photo by John Steil

 Both municipalities of North Vancouver District and City of Surrey, feature outdoor art paintings of a fit-looking male solo cyclist grinding their way.  The North Vancouver cyclist painting  is part of the 2007 Centennial mural at Queen Mary School in the District of North Vancouver.

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 In fact, a lot of outdoor public bike art in Metro Vancouver, does overwhelmingly feature the cyclist as male.  The only exception is the lycra-clad female cyclist on a 2009 vibrant wall mural at 1249 Adanac St.   A subconscious artistic view of cycling as male-dominant, would be challenged as more women join the regular cycling ranks every year. In Copenhagen, over 55% of cyclists are female. 

On exterior back wall of recreational centre at Whalley Town Centre, Surrey BC. Photo by John Steil

Later in  fall 2010, there will be some more outdoor bike art at city hall.  Some bike themed mandalas will be installed at Vancouver city hall’s community garden, thanks to Jamie Ollivier’s summer 2010, Cycleback Art Outreach Program. This summer program, sponsored by the city, was targeted for the Mount Pleasant area and homeless. 

Since we are close to taking a break from  spinning around and revealing more unheralded bike art:  Is there any more public bike art that awaits our discovery?  Drop us some comments.  We know there’s more than these 27 different public bike art pieces featured in this 3-part article series!

 

Acknowledgements
John Steil’s photo contributions and commentary, are most gratefully appreciated. He is an artist and and also author of Public Art in Vancouver: Angels Among Lions: 500+ Works of Art to Discover.  http://www.johnsteil.com

Jamie Ollivier, Program Coordinator. Cycleback Art Outreach  is on Facebook.  Summer 2010.

Previous Blog Articles and Photos of More Bike Art
 Bike Inspired Outdoor Art: Vancouver.   By Jean Chong. Apr. 29, 2010.
 Stripping the Metaphorical Wallpaper and Rediscovering Outdoor Public Art in Vancouver and Beyond. Part 2.   By Jean Chong.  Aug. 24, 2010.  With photo contributions by J. Steil.

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Mouse is graffiti response to bike lane stencil at Cardero and Pendrell St. Vancouver 2010. Photo by John Steil

Mouse graffiti response to bike lane stencil at Cardero and Pendrell St. Vancouver 2010. Photo by John Steil

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.

Mountain biker skeleton part of 'Trial by Stone' sculpture mural by Ross Agro (2002).  Photo by John Steil

Archaeological-like mountain biker skeleton part of 'Trial by Stone' sculpture mural by Ross Agro (2002). Rotary bike park, Port Moody BC. Photo by John Steil

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 

"Trial by Stone", by Ross Agro (2002), full piece is installed under a viaduct. Port Moody, BC. Photo by John Steil

"Trial by Stone", by Ross Agro (2002), full piece is installed under a viaduct. Port Moody, BC. Photo by John Steil

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). Granville St. bridge north off-ramp at Seymour St. Photo by J. Chong

"Tour de Chance" by Nelson Garcia (2005). Granville St. bridge north off-ramp at Seymour St. Photo by J. Chong

“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 

Mural on side of health clinic at northwest corner of West Broadway and Commercial Dr. Vancouver, BC. 2010. Artist and date unknown. Photo by HJEH Becker

Mural on side of health clinic at northwest corner of West Broadway and Commercial Dr. Vancouver, BC. Artist and date unknown. Photo by HJEH Becker 2010.

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.

Acknowledgements:
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.

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Mosaic Planet- Part 1 of 4 mosaic tile series (2002). By Glen Anderson & Marina Szijarto.

Mosaic Planet- Part 1 of 4 mosaic tile series (2002). By Glen Anderson & Marina Szijarto. East 10th and Commerical St., Vancouver BC. Photo by J. Chong

It’s embarrassing but for several years, I cycled blithely unaware of some nearby outdoor public bike art installations in Vancouver.  Just recently after browsing John Steil’s book on over 500 Vancouver outdoor public art pieces, I have sharpened my visual acuity and stopped to look more closely at some of these intriguing art works.

Day after day on my bike commute ride to work along 10th Ave., I unknowingly breezed by the red-tiled, sidewalk  mosaic at Commercial Dr. The mosaic is by Glen Anderson and Marina Szijarto which is part of a four-piece series in this area,  “Mosaic Planet” (2002).  

Transported Through Time (2008). By Bruce Walther. Smithe and Burrard St. Historic rendering of transportation modes in Vancouver --First Nations boat, electric inter-urban streetcar, bus, seaplane, ocean liner, train and bicycle. Photo by J. Chong

Transported Through Time (2008). By Bruce Walther. Smithe and Burrard St. Historic rendering of transportation modes in Vancouver --First Nations boat, electric inter-urban streetcar, bus, seaplane, ocean liner, train and bicycle. Photo by J. Chong

Cycling can be a sensory whole experience  –including  visual appreciation of nature and culture. No matter how dull, provacative or engaging, public outdoor art in Vancouver can be literally just steps away if you notice it.

Take a look at Granville, Cambie, Fraser St.  and 37th St. intersections along the Ridgeway bike route:  there are

Machina Metronoma (1997). By Dwight Anderson. Fraser St. and 37th St. on Ridgeway bike route.

Machina Metronoma (1997). By Dwight Anderson. Fraser St. and 37th St. on Ridgeway bike route. Photo by J. Chong

dun-coloured  sculptures, “Machina Metronoma”  (1997).  Although the artist chose a non-obtrusive colour to adorn the aerial streetscape, unfortunately passersby may barely notice the pedal and sprocket details on these  fiberglass and steel sculptures. Other intersections feature a roller skate motif instead of the pedal.  So look up at the cyclist-activated traffic light intersections and you might even see them wiggle in the wind like a metronome.

Whereas “Big Bike” (1998)  by  B. Luger and B. Potegal, is a well-known sculpture marker or meeting point  by Queen Elizabeth Park for many local cyclists or joggers speeding down or ascending up the 37th St. hill. You can sit on the sculpture’s literal bike

Big Bike (1998). By Barry Luger and Bob Potegal. Ontario and 37th St. by Queen Elizabeth Park., Vancouver BC. Photo by J. Chong

Big Bike (1998). By Barry Luger and Bob Potegal. Ontario and 37th St. by Queen Elizabeth Park., Vancouver BC. Photo by J. Chong

rack bench by a water fountain after parking your bike.

There have not yet been many Vancouver building murals that feature a bike as the central focus. The exception is the mural at 1175 Adanac St. by Union St. which features oncoming cyclists and  the Vancouver

1175 Adanac Great Beginnings & Strathcona BIA Mural Project Cristoni Peori

1175 Adanac St. Great Beginnings & Strathcona BIA Mural Project. Vancouver BC. Project lead: Cristoni Peori. Artist worked with others to complete actual painting. Photo in spring by J. Chong

waterfront skyline. Just make sure you view this full mural on weekends or evenings without the line of parked cars.  During different seasons and under a variety of daylight conditions, there is wonderful integration of surrounding live trees and light play which teases your vision by  blurring art and

Lefthand mural extension for: 1175 Adanac Great Beginnings & Strathcona BIA Mural Project Cristoni Peori

Left-hand mural extension of 1175 Adanac St. Great Beginnings & Strathcona BIA Mural Project. Vancouver, BC. Project lead: Cristoni Peori. Dappled light play fuses art and reality. Photo by J. Chong

reality. (See my previous article for an autumn photo.)  This magic effect would be lost if the trees gracing around this mural were completely cut down.

After several trips, we located another nearby bike mural at 1249 Adanac.  Apparently it was completed in fall 2009.  We initially missed it because we did not look around on every side of the building. 

1249 Adanac St. Great Beginnings & Strathcona BIA Mural Project Jordan Bent & Jay Senetchko

1249 Adanac St. Great Beginnings & Strathcona BIA Mural Project 2009. Project leads: Jordan Bent & Jay Senetchko. Photo by J. Chong

 The mural blends cycling along with abit of  transportation imagery and historic allusion to the Chinese-Canadian  railway workers for the building of the national railroad.  (See painted figure to the  right of green-helmeted cycling woman.)  Both murals are  just a few blocks away from Vancouver’s historic  Chinatown. Both murals were completed by work teams of local residents.

Converging Lines. By Elizabeth Roy (1998). Metal "clothesline" sculpture on Ridgeway bike route near Inverness bike route. Vancouver, BC

Converging Lines. By Elizabeth Roy (1998). Metal "clothesline" sculpture near intersection of Ridgeway and Inverness bike routes. On 37th St. at Ross and Colludun corner. Images of community hung on wires. Vancouver, BC. Photo by J. Chong

 Other Vancouver public art installations, incorporate a bike motif as part of its overall theme –usually themes of community activity, fun or sport.

The newest bike art piece to be  be officially 

Solar Bike Tree. By Spring Gillard 2010. Science World building by Seaside Path

Solar Bike Tree. By Spring Gillard 2010. Science World building by Seaside bike and pedestrian path False Creek. Vancouver, BC. With solar panels for night lighting, vertical hanging racks and regular ground racks for bikes. Photo by J. Chong

recognized later this spring, is the  Solar Bike Tree right by the bike path  at Science World near the gazebo.  Its multiple year long birth has been arduous. The artist, Spring Gillard conceived of her vision four years ago after she abandoned her original proposal of a mural using real bikes.  Solar Bike Tree is very much  utilitarian –designed to prevent anyone from climbing the steel tree and strong enough to hold solar panels that light the stand. It is also another form of bike parking.  One wonders if either the artist or the city engineering department even thought of a more arresting or playful paint colour.

As cycling moves beyond transportation and permeates the life and culture of Vancouver as a “green city”, we may well see more celebrations of  cycling captured in local artistic imagination.

Solar Bike Tree is lighted by solar energy panels. Vancouver, BC 2010. Photo by J. Becker

Solar Bike Tree is lighted at night by its solar energy panels. Vancouver, BC 2010. Centre light is activated by motion sensor detection system as one approaches near the bike tree. Photo by J. Becker

 Interesting Reading: 
City of Vancouver. Public Art Registry.

Gillard, Spring. Solar Bike Tree. Composting Diaries Blog. Jan.26, 2010.

Steil, John and Aileen Stalker. Public Art in Vancouver : Angels Among Lions. Vancouver:  TouchWood Editions, 2009.

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Yesterday, a teapot cosy.  Today a bike cosy for keeping the bike chic, protected,  or warm (?). Whatever the viewer’s interpretation may be.

Bike cosy or knitted bike art. Victoria, B.C. Canada. Dec. 2009. Blog post by Jean Chong.

Bike cosy or knitted bike art. Victoria, B.C. Canada. Dec. 2009. Blog post by Jean Chong.

We were greeted with this bike cosy vision when we dropped by our favourite local bakery in Victoria, BC during a short trip earlier this week.  If nothing else, the bike art, drew the attention of sauntering pedestrians.  From an art lover’s distance, it  was arguably the muddy bike frozen in time.
Bike cosy art or another art interpretation: a muddy bike. Victoria, B.C. Canada. Dec. 2009

Bike cosy art or another art interpretation: a muddy bike. Victoria, B.C. Canada. Dec. 2009

Another crafty manifestation of the do-it-yourself movement:  knitting merged with a harbinger of sustainable transportation.

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