ArtWalk is a new cultural venue in the developing area of the Vaughan Metropolitan Center. It’s part of a planned 100-acre hub, SmartVMC, and launched this summer by remodeling a vacant warehouse with 30,000 square feet of art. The space is an attractive backdrop for the daily food truck market and ArtWalk drive-thru movie screenings, which take place every weekend until September. And the murals, done by local and international artists, were painted over a three-week period in June using 1,000 cans of paint. Here is a closer look at the art.
Here is the sun
Ricardo Cavolo is a Madrid artist known for his eccentric and comic-inspired designs. His mural takes over the southern facade of the warehouse, and he directs the painting from Spain. “The worst part about this process was not being there, but the best part was realizing that this kind of magic is possible even when I’m in another country,” Cavolo explains. The bright colors and sunny, vibrant artwork are meant to symbolize the power to share your inner light with the world to get through turbulent times.
Toronto artist Ben Johnston, who painted murals in Serbia, India, Colombia and across North America, imprinted his signature typography on the building’s north facade, using bold pinks and reds. “Colors are associated with joy, warmth, sunshine, enthusiasm and optimism,” says Johnston. “Now more than ever, we must work together to create a better future.”
Birds of a feather
Multidisciplinary artist Jerry Rugg, known in street art circles as BirdO, added his mix of animals and geometric shapes to the warehouse’s western facade. For this project, Rugg wanted to include a long-billed kingfisher, which would fit perfectly into its horizontal canvas. “My style is a fusion of my interests: graffiti that appears in unexpected places, conceptually odd surrealism, and graphic design that brings the pieces together harmoniously,” says Rugg.
An exploration of our space-time
The central figure of Jeremy Shantz’s abstract Montreal piece on the east façade is a disembodied figure floating in liminal space. Shantz created the design and worked with local artists to complete the project, to illustrate the different elements needed to build a community. “Wall art is a fantastic platform for collaboration,” he says. “The talented artists interpreted the design through their hands, creating the most beautiful work of art.”