A look at four zany and psychedelic new murals in Vaughan
ArtWalk is a new culture venue in the developing Vaughan Metropolitan Centre area. It’s part of a 100-acre master-planned hub, SmartVMC, and launched this summer by transforming a vacant warehouse with 30,000 square feet of art. The space is an attractive backdrop to ArtWalk’s daily food truck market and drive-in movie screenings, running every weekend through September. And the murals, by local and international artists, were painted over a three-week period in June using 1,000 cans of paint. Here’s a closer look at the art.
Here Comes the Sun
Ricardo Cavolo is a Madrid-based artist known for eccentric and comic-inspired creations. His mural takes over the southern façade of the warehouse, and he directed the painting from Spain. “The worst part of this process was not being there, but the best part has been realizing this kind of magic is possible even when I’m in a different country,” says Cavolo. The bold colours and sunny, vibrant illustrations are meant to symbolize the power of sharing your inner light with the world to get through turbulent times.
Toronto artist Ben Johnston—who has painted murals in Serbia, India, Colombia and across North America—stamped his characteristic typography onto the northern façade of the building, using bold pinks and reds. “The colours are associated with joy, warmth, sunshine, enthusiasm and optimism,” says Johnston. “Now more than ever, we need to work together to create a better future.”
Birds of a Feather
Multidisciplinary artist Jerry Rugg, known in street-art circles as BirdO, added his signature blend of animals and geometric shapes to the western façade of the warehouse. For this project, Rugg wanted to include a long-beaked kingfisher, which would fit his horizontal canvas perfectly. “My style is a merging of my interests: graffiti that pops up in unexpected places, surrealism that’s conceptually strange and graphic design that assembles the parts in a harmonious way,” says Rugg.
An Exploration of Our Timespace
The central figure in Montreal-based Jeremy Shantz’s abstract piece on the eastern façade is a disembodied character floating in a liminal space. Shantz created the drawing and worked with local artists to complete the project, in order to illustrate the different elements it takes to build a community. “Mural art is a fantastic platform for collaboration,” he says. “The talented artists interpreted the drawing through their hands, creating the most beautiful work of art.”