Urban Design and Art

Painted Tree Planters Bring Extra Colour to Hastings Street

Ten tree planters were installed over the past year along the Hastings Street corridor as part of the Hastings Urban Tree Nursery initiative in collaboration with the Strathcona BIA. Four of these planters are within HxBIA, located between Abbott and Cambie Street on the 200 block of Hastings. The four planters were painted by four local artists, in an effort to brighten up the street and bring some welcomed local art to the neighbourhood.

This past summer, a call to local artists was put out. We received eight submissions with a range of artistic styles and backgrounds. After consultation with the local business owners adjacent to the planters, four of the artists were selected and provided with a small stipend for their creative work. The City of Vancouver, through their Integrated Graffiti Management Program, generously provided all supplies for the artists and prepped the planters with a special primer beforehand and a sealant after the art was complete.

Here is a list of the four artists and their respective planters (click thumbnail images to view full image):

Marchien Veen painted abstract images of trees, mountains, and the sky in a deep blue and white. These images remind her of the nostalgia she feels for Vancouver when she lived abroad. In her artist statement, Marchien says, “In 2013 I moved away from Vancouver for just over one year. It was my first time really being away from the city, and when the homesickness and nostalgia took hold of me, I would draw scenes from my memories. The moments were dear to me and often circulated around stones, the ocean, the mountains, and the night sky. I longed for them, and I cherished them. These elements have been quintessential for how I’ve viewed Vancouver. They may move and grow, but they have and will always remain present in our varied experiences of the city.”

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Bronwyn Schuster was inspired by the architectural motifs in the surrounding blocks and incorporates this into her work. Using metallic gold spray paint and beautiful colours, she created a piece that in her words, represents “Night and Day, and the transition between, which was inspired by a conversation with the manager of Style Garage about how the area has been built up over the years.”

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Cody Lecoy is a local artist with a Coast Salish background and has a unique style some might say is almost Dali-esque. In his artists statement, he writes, “It is in the exploration of my practice that I aim to illustrate an interconnection between human, animals and elemental forces in an emotive way. The emotions inform the visual imagery in the form of tone, colour, and texture. The dynamism and interplay between colours give the paintings an ebb and flow of rejuvenation and decay.” Through his work, he wishes to communicate the role of humans as director of energy use. He notes, “This focus also allows for questioning and inquiry into the current relation between us our environment and resource distribution.”

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Sandra Diaz was born and raised in Bogota, Colombia and has lived in Vancouver since 2003. For this planter project, she enlisted the creative skills of people with developmental disabilities through a collaboration with Alternative Creations Studio, which is program of posAbilities. Sandra provided the opportunity for participants of the program to come paint the base of the planter and the majority of the colour. She then came back afterward to add final washes and linework, bringing out the main elements and creating the visual cohesiveness. In her artist statement, she writes that the work “illustrates a fluid coexistence of natural and human-made elements within the city.”

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