14 Jul 2021 | Vancouver

Art Tours

A Vancouver Painting

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This is especially true when looking at modern street art on one of our popular street art tours!

Here in Vancouver, we are fortunate to host one of the largest mural festivals on the West Coast. This event brings hundreds of talented artists for a two-week celebration of art, music, and culture. Oh, and of course the food and parties!

Asking me to pick my favorite piece along the street art tours we offer is a tough question to answer. Over the years of being a tour guide, I have seen the neighborhood develop; with more condominiums being built and more art being installed.

Every year the Vancouver Mural Festival (VMF) introduces new art I find myself contemplating and comparing as my new ‘favorite’.

My Favorite Painting in Vancouver

If I had to pick one of my favorite murals to talk about…. It has to be “Presence” by Animalitoland.

Let me explain why!

I had the pleasure of meeting Graciela Gonçalves Da Silva one evening during the early days of the multi-week VMF. Many artists are starting their canvas or planning, and I wanted to see the “behind-the-scenes” before the finished work.

While walking around I stumbled upon Graciela up in the skyjack painting away into the evening. I stood and watched for a couple of minutes but knew she was busy and 50’ft in the air. I snapped a picture or two, posted it on Instagram, and went on my way.

lady giving a salute beside an art mural

Little Did I Know…

Later that evening, Graciela reposted my story and sparked a conversation. We talked about her art, the city of Vancouver, and how I was a tour guide with Toonie Tours.

The conversation then progressed into the meaning of her upcoming piece in the VMF – “Presence”.

She posted on her Instagram asking her followers to post words of emotion and feeling. I responded with “devil-may-care/happy-go-lucky”. None by far the most common idioms but an emotion I feel when thinking about the zest of life. Graciela and I had another conversation about these words and she explained to me what she was going to do with them.

A couple of weeks pass and it’s almost the end of the 2020 VMF. I happen to walk by Graciela’s piece which is now complete.

I stood, standing by the wall, staring up into the intricacies of her work and reading the words on the mural. Graciela used all of her responses from Instagram and incorporated them into her art!

…And there it was, “devil-may-care/happy-go-lucky” on the top right quadrant of the piece!

It is a surreal experience to have collaborated with an artist, even at the most finite level, especially knowing what this now public piece of street art stands for. To see the piece from beginning to end was beautiful. The ability of what Graciela could complete in such a short amount of time is stunning.

Nonetheless, the connection and conversations I had with Graciela transcended beyond just art on a wall. It is now a story to add whenever we pass by her piece on our evening Street Art & Craft Beer Tour, or our morning Street Art & Craft Coffee Tour.

We hope to meet you on an art tour soon to introduce you to many more magnificent paintings of Vancouver. Join us and be blown away by the incredible art murals.