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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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