Muralists challenged to ‘Paint Your Faith’ on Vancouver’s DTES

International muralists paint their faith on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

Credit: Indigo

Paint Your Faith’s collaborative Downtown Eastside mural unites international street artists

Thursday, April 22, four world-renowned street artists will converge on the Downtown Eastside for a week-long spray session to create a mural to cover the 103-year-old, 130-by-13-foot exterior wall at 55-57 W. Hastings St, across from the Woodward’s building.

Paint Your Faith challenges the artists to “spiritually and visually demonstrate their interpretation of faith as one unified unique piece of expression.” Sponsored by the United Church of Canada and its, the mural project is modelled after the success of the first Paint Your Faith last fall at Toronto’s Metropolitan United Church.

Of the four artists from around the world, DTES-based street artist and dancer Indigo (her work “Dandelion” is featured above) is the only local participating. Here, she gives us the rundown on her work and the live collaboration.


Secret City: How did you get started in street art?

Indigo: In March 2008 I was taking a lot of pictures of urban spaces, with a focus on graffiti, street art, random scribbles, whatever. I was (and still am) really interested in the ways that people make their mark on public visual space, claiming something that is so often highly commodified and regulated. After a while I figured I may as well start doing in addition to documenting.

Paint Your Faith

55-57 W. Hastings St., Vancouver

April 22-28, 2010

The finished mural will be revealed April 28, 10 a.m.

Paint Your Faith gallery exhibit

Saturday, April 24, 7–11 p.m.

Ayden Gallery,

88 West Pender, 2nd fl, Vancouver

I was doing a lot of site-specific dance work at the time, and the transition from performance in public space to visual art in public space made sense. Plus, I’ve been painting and drawing since forever. For me, putting the work on the street is an expansion of my canvas, including the environment as a part of the composition.


What inspires your art?

I am inspired by people, and also by the frailty and strength within all of us, and how these two things can be so closely tied to one another. I am inspired by melancholy, by a sadness that is soft and gentle even in its most intense moments. And by my own collected memories and the energies of those around me. Even if it doesn’t directly show up in my subject matter, each piece comes from a very personal place.


How will you interpret Paint Your Faith?

Well, this project was interesting for me because, while I’m not religious, I am a very spiritual person. And faith for me is a concept that is so much bigger than any organization or belief system. For this mural, I am working with the idea that everything is connected, that everything in the universe is made of the same energy and that this energy never ends, it just changes form. Every ending is a beginning, and learning to let go and move on is an essential part of growing as a person.

Tell me about the other artists. Who are they and what style of work do they do?

There are three other artists, Peeta, Titi Freak and Faith47. Of course they can describe their work best, but I will try to sum it up briefly. Peeta, who is from Italy, paints 3D graffiti letters on walls and canvas, and works with sculpture as well. Titi Freak, from Brazil, paints really colourful semi-abstract pictures of people and animals. Faith47 is from South Africa and works with text and images on abandoned buildings and vehicles, and other empty and forgotten spaces.


Can people come down to watch the artists in action?

Yeah, for sure. I’m really hoping that people will come and hang out while we are painting—it’s much more fun with company. We will start painting on Thursday at around noon and will be there during the day every day, finishing up on April 27. Hoping for sun!


Tell us about the gallery show on April 24.

The gallery show will include originals and/or prints from all of the Paint Your Faith Vancouver artists, as well as work from most of the PYF Toronto artists: Chor Boogie, Elicser and Mediah, and also five other artists: DEDOS, Scott Sueme, Kaput and Phresha from Vancouver, and Misk from San Francisco. Quite a few of the artists will be in attendance, and some of us will be live painting during the event, which runs 7-11 p.m. at Ayden Gallery.


Can you give a hint about what the final mural will look like?

I don’t want to give too much away, but I can say that it is a mix of four very different styles and approaches to the theme. Instead of breaking up the wall into four separate sections we are creating one large production that integrates everyone’s work. I’m really excited to be working with such a talented and inspiring group of artists and look forward to seeing it all come together over the next week.