Graffiti

When I’m not riding my bike around and playing with toys, I’m recording the texts of the downtown urban landscape. This poster occupies the wall of a building slated for demolition just around the corner from my place.

This pithy comment has been spray-painted onto the wall of an upscale men’s clothing store (with the pretentious name of Enve) across the street.

Along the concrete wall of the Seymour Street bridge off-ramp a number of murals have been painted by graffiti artists included in the City of Vancouver’s now-defunct Restart (Rehabilitation through Art) Graffiti Management Program. Read more about this program here.

What interests me about these murals, aside from their brilliant colours and, in some cases, caustic social commentary, are the plants that have made a home alongside them, pushing their way through cracks in the sidewalk concrete.

The artist who painted this one got it right – the future is our responsibility. And there’s no spaceship yet that can extricate us from the mess we’re creating … unless the late, great Scotty from Star Trek can hear this cry from whereever in space he’s got himself off to.

The landscape of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside is changing; the mural below wasn’t there the last time I was in the area not too long ago. Perhaps it has appeared as a commentary on the gentrification of the area and the influx of urbanites with the condo towers and shops to accommodate them.

What goes up eventually must come down – the issue is when and by what means.

Is everything going to be alright? …

Above is an example of one of the new condo developments; below is an advertisement for another, the Paris Annex. The graffiti tag “I Love You” inscribed here is one that I’ve seen all over the downtown eastside and Hastings Street, usually in this particular font.

There are very few business left open on this particular block of Hastings Street, formerly (well, in the 50s and 60s, anyway) one of Vancouver’s liveliest. Save On Meats was one of the last to close its doors; the cry “Save Our City”, uttered by an anonymous inhabitant, riffs on the earlier butcher’s sign.

Although I’m not sure, I suspect the city referred to here is the one occupied by the long-time residents of the Downtown Eastside who are being pushed out by the redevelopment of the area.

See more here.

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