Over the last 3 years I have been working with the City of Vancouver Public Art Committee on some very large projects.
Burrard Place, public art budget $1,697,887.
Smithe and Cambie public art budget $309,310.
Joyce St, public art budget $420,936.
Cook Street, public art budget $190,560.
Nelson Street public art budget $1,386,938.
969 Burrard Street Public Art Budget $1,112,524.
1111 Richards Public Art Budget $632,731.
kingsway public art budget $239,835.
601 West Hastings public art budget $412,100.
Main and 2nd public art budget $305,880.
1550 Alberni, public art budget $492,053.
New Emily Carr University, public art budget $517,265.
Great Northern Way public art budget $286,682
Great Article in the Westender newspaper.
Nick Gregson is a 32-year-old mural artist from East Vancouver. He volunteers with the city on the Arts and Culture Policy Council and does community outreach by teaching art techniques to youth. He currently has about 10 murals around Metro Vancouver, and is working with the city to have more public art spaces available.
A mural Nick Gregson did for India Gate restaurant. - Contributed photo
"I think there needs to be space set up for all types of art,” Gregson says. "There needs to be a place for tags, a place for [graffiti], and a place for murals.”
Gregson thinks that the city’s attitude to public art is improving, thanks to city-funded projects such as the mural festival, and he encourages people who have ideas about public art to contact him so he can bring them into future meetings.
"Street art has come a long way. That term wasn't even around before,” he recalls. "I think that the society is a different age group now and [millennials] are starting to take over. I think that our age group identified with this type of art.”
Gregson agrees that the city needs to have more sanctuary areas for artists to work, like the walls at Leeside. He thinks that having more free walls will cut down on the number of murals being tagged. He also believes that businesses over a certain size with free wall space should be required by the city to have public art.
"I think [public art] gives artists a voice, and it reflects the culture of the city,” he says.
The walls at Leeside Skatepark are some of the only free walls in the city. - Dan Toulgoet photo
It also provides an outlet.
"People do graffiti for a lot of different reasons, I think. A lot of people are just angry at society and want to do some vandalism, and that's the way they get their voice heard,” Gregson explains. "It's great because I'm kind of a quiet person, so it's a good way for me to express myself.”
Nick Gregson works on his trompe l'oeil mural outside Deer Lake Gallery for Luminescence II. Photograph By Jennifer Gauthier
Nick Gregson’s work lives in the place where street art and formal art collide.
Gregson is a mural artist, known for his large-scale works on buildings in Burnaby – the “more public art space” mural at Hastings and Willingdon is one of his more recognizable creations – and around the region. He grew up on the boundary of Burnaby and Vancouver, near the Leeside Tunnel skateboard park, where public graffiti art is encouraged.
“The quality is really artistic. It’s where very quickly it changes from ‘graffiti’ to ‘art,’” he explained. “It has blurred the lines between street art and commissioned art.”
The Burnaby resident is bringing his talents to new terrain this week for the Luminescence II exhibition at Deer Lake Gallery.
Gregson and his business partner, Jeff Cheung, are designing and building a large-as-life optical illusion mural on a plywood wall in front of the gallery, using trompe l’oeil techniques to create a three-dimensional effect. Expect some Greek columns and the appearance that you’re looking into the building at the people (and perhaps even animals) within.
“It should be really eye-catching,” Gregson said. “It’s going to be a challenge for me for sure.”
The whole idea of trompe l’oeil murals came from Cheung. Cheung, an MBA student at the University of British Columbia, was travelling in Asia when he visited a gallery of three-dimensional art and immediately thought the plan had potential for Vancouver.
His ultimate goal is to create a stand-alone gallery with 25 or so pieces, and he knows it won’t be easy to make that dream a reality.
But taking part in Luminescence II – especially considering the crowds that attended last year’s opening – is one way of raising the profile of their work and helping to take them closer to that goal.
Even more importantly, it’s a way for both Cheung and Gregson to take part in an exhibition in their own hometown that’s expanding the notion of what “art” is all about.
“I thought it was really cool and innovative,” Cheung said. “There is a demand for new and experiential art.”
© 2017 Burnaby Now
Looking at some green walls for the city of vancouver public art committee. I really liked the idea and have started building some smaller ones.
I wanted to do a piece of street art in Burnaby to show what the city is missing by not encouraging "more public art spaces". The cities Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan long time tough stance on graffiti has had the side effect of hurting young artists and murals. I would purpose walls like this one be set up around the city for artist to use. Its never a good idea to shit on the young arts community in your city. We need to stay competitive with other cities like Philadelphia employing over 400 mural artists a year.
I will be starting a mural project on the stairs in Yaletown such an awesome project by the BIA in yaletown. Good to see mural art graffiti and street art all coming together in vancouver.