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