Friday, 6 December 2013

Painting Vancouver Alleyways

My latest studies have focused on the back alleys of Vancouver. Anybody familiar with the city's Downtown East Side will recognize these icons.

My attraction to these environments has always focused around their cluttered nature. They are a haphazard collection of wood posts, overhead cables and wires, trash, dumpsters and other eclectic additions. The more you look, the more you'll see.

The anonymity of the alleys is also intriguing. Unlike an intersection with familiar markings, such as street signs, these alleyways seem to blur into one common image. Many of them look very similar but are in very different locations. I reaffirmed this idea when I recently exhibited these, and a number of people told me "I know that alley!". When they told me where it was from, however, they were incorrect.

One of my favourite components of these works is the colour schemes. While I explore and photograph the alleys, I take detailed note of the little bits of discarded garbage and packaging that is found within them. I work as a graphic designer for an advertising agency, and I pay attention to the colour schemes that these discarded wrappers utilize. I combine various colour schemes from these discarded objects to compose interesting combinations of various colours in the rest of the painting.

My work focuses on the concept of urban exploration. I essentially find myself in particular locales, and explore the environments with my camera. I immerse myself there for a bit of time, and enjoy all the little nuances and components. I really enjoy the act of becoming one with my immediate surroundings, and appreciating what is there.

I have recently been awarded a new exhibition at the North Van Arts Council, on Lonsdale in North Vancouver for 2014. I will be focusing on creating more of these works for many months to come, and continue to push and explore colour combinations and colour use within them. I feel that interesting next steps may be the addition of texture and collage elements to the pieces.