Drift Art Walk Turns up all Kinds of Treasures on Main Street

Photo Gallery: Gloriously warm October weather drew big crowds for free, interactive art open house on Main Street.

Credit: Flickr / Simon Kear

Drift art tour sign outside the Narrow Lounge

Drift art tour sign outside the Narrow Lounge on Main Street

Local Vancouver artists opened studio doors for Main Street’s 6th annual Drift Art Festival


This year’s Drift Art Festival and Studio Tour couldn’t have asked for a better weekend. The crisp blue skies and unusually hot October sun were perfect for strolling up and down Main Street in artistic bliss.


The event was an invitation to enter into magical worlds of paint, plaster and pixels with more than 65 shops hosting 80+ established and emerging artists. While some of the exhibits were set up in cafes and clothing boutiques, others were held right in artists’ personal studios and apartments.


PHOTOS: My self-guided Drift art tour

I set out planning to cover Main Street in its entirety, but ended up spending a couple hours perusing the exhibits between the relatively close quarters of 3rd Avenue and Broadway—getting distracted more than a couple times by the street’s many curios and boutiques. Having forgotten my printed copy of the self-guided tour map, I was relieved to discover the bright red sandwich boards in front of each participating venue.



Uptown Barbers

After grabbing a delicious pumpkin latte from Cuppa Joe Coffee on the corner of Main and Broadway, I headed off toward the mountains, sauntering down the west side of Main, passing wig shops, retro clothing stores and the old school Uptown Barbers.



The Fabulous Find

With Main Street offering an abundance of kitschy curiosities, it was easy to get side-tracked from the art walk. The Fabulous Find, a charmingly cluttered retro furniture and accessory shop between 2nd and 3rd Avenues, was one such distraction. I thought I had died and gone to heaven, or at least my Nana’s old house (yes she was one hip Nana). There were chrome and laminate kitchen tables, bucket chairs and vintage everything—typewriters, clocks, accordions, fuzzy TVs, telephones and light fixtures. I am a sucker for bygones and knick-knacks, so to me this place was heaven.



Studio “D” above the Narrow Lounge

Many of the exhibits were held in artist studios tucked above the shops lining Main Street. Marked by a red sandwich board and an open door, those curious could wander up narrow stairways accented with arrows, images and signs acknowledging those artists waiting to welcome people into their creative corners.



Drummond by Jordan & David Doody, Studio “D”

Located in Studio “D”, above the Grace Gallery, was Jorden & David Doody. One of their studios held mixed media on canvas (image shown here, titled “Drummond”). Their other studio was full of collages, several of which earned the artistic duo the Helen Pitt Award of Excellence in Fine Arts and the Deputy Vice Chancellor’s Purchase Award.



Water & Light by Malcolm Levy, Grace Gallery

Located at 3rd and Main, the small Grace Gallery is known as much for its proximity to the dark and funky Narrow Lounge as it is for its art exhibits. Its stark white walls are currently home to photographer Malcolm Levy’s Water & Light exhibit featuring dramatic digital images of sculptured light.



Char Hoyt studio, ArtWorks building

One of the Drift’s highlights was getting to poke around inside cool private spaces I don’t normally have access to. Opening up her loft/studio in the ArtWorks building on 4th avenue, Char Hoyt had both incredible dream-like artwork and a fantastic workspace to show off. I left both mesmerized and under the delusion that if I had her loft I too would have limitless creativity.



Jill Pilon exhibit, MyChef Cafe and Restaurant

Set up in MyChef Cafe and Restaurant were mixed-media artist Jill Pilon‘s fish paintings. Her inspiration comes from the stories in everything around her: “There are intimate memories in everything. I paint the stories of rotting wood in crumbling walls and of rusted hubcaps on dusty roads.” The East Vancouver resident currently explores different forms of expression through acrylics, encaustic and photography.



Crude Ink studio

Squished into the end of the oddly triangular-shaped building at the tip of Main and Kingsway above Gene Café is Crude Ink, a group of “five serious drawers—comic books, animation and illustration.” Catrina Longmuir, Sam Monella, Elisa Chee, Jody Kramer and John Christmas share this cramped but collaborative working space, where they’d even created mini-comic souvenirs specially for the Drift.



Rebecca Chaperon, Studio #9

Dabbling with female protagonists and surreal landscapes, painter Rebecca Chaperon quietly worked away at the end of her long hardwood-floored studio as passersby peeked in on the magical scene. Rebecca’s works haunt and entertain, drawing on fables, phantoms and the misadventures of heroines in the Victorian era.