Vancouver Streets: #MakeArtWhileApart Anniversary Banners #onRobson

It is hard to believe that we have surpassed one year since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. And while this year has been a literal roller coaster ride of ups and downs and twists and turns, there have been shining moments of light throughout the darkness.

Perhaps you’ll remember the surreal time when the majority of businesses boarded up downtown in response to the pandemic and left our once vibrant and bustling streets eerily vacant and quiet. Shortly thereafter, a very important initiative launched that brought together talented local artists to paint images and messages of love, positivity, gratitude and hope on the storefronts. #MakeArtWhileApart was a project that inspired community resilience through the healing power of art.

In honour of the one year anniversary of #MakeArtWhileApart, Robson Street re-connected with four of the artists to transform their murals and give them new life in the form of banners. Chairman Ting, Ciele Beau, Taka Sudo and Tierney Milne were the talented folks behind this project, making what was old new again – #MakeArtWhileApart 2.0.

Read more about the featured artists and the inspiration behind their murals.

“A Dash of Hope” by Chairman Ting

a dash of hope chairman ting bellami boarded up storefront mural robson street vancouver
Photo credit: Vancouver Mural Festival | Gabriel Martins Photography

Carson’s #MakeArtWhileApart mural, “A Dash of Hope” was located at 1168 Robson Street and inspired by the mental strength shown by individuals all around the world during the pandemic.

According to Carson, “I believe that we are all built to be resilient through optimism and hope, which are our keys to seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. My work is often grounded in the theme of movement and optimism because sometimes we just need a dash of hope”.

Carson also lives and works in the West End neighbourhood, so is very connected to his community.

“You’re Doing Amazing, Sweetie” by Ciele Beau

Photo credit: Vancouver Mural Festival | Gabriel Martins Photography

Easily one of the most popular and photographed murals was Ciele Beau’s “You’re Doing Amazing, Sweetie”, which was located at 1092 Robson Street and inspired by the early days of quarantine when we were still joking about being couch potatoes and living in our PJ’s.

Ciele aimed to create a visual that played on that commentary in a humorous and relatable way. “I didn’t overthink it too much, the idea just sort of came to me. I had the iconic phrase from Kris Jenner stuck in my head and saw an opportunity to bring it into our current context. Sort of saying, you’re doing the best you can under the circumstances, but in a cheeky way. I wanted to sprinkle a little humour into what has been a collectively challenging time”, says Beau.

Fun fact, the You’re Doing Amazing, Sweetie mural has since been donated to the Museum of Vancouver and may be part of a future exhibition.

“Stay Connected Online” by Taka Sudo

Photo credit: Vancouver Mural Festival | Gabriel Martins Photography

Taka had a lot of space to work with for his mural that spanned the entire Muji store #onRobson and emojis were the perfect jumping off point for his “Stay Connected Online” piece. The idea that physical distance could be overcome by digital connection was the inspiration for the mural – people could still send love, smiles and hugs virtually to family and friends. This series of images was also a way to lift people’s spirits during such a difficult time.

According to Taka, “I got inspired and motivated a lot throughout the progress of this mural last year. I received so much positive feedback from the people passing by the wall (and) I could see the street get so much brighter and the people get so stoked. It was also a mind opening experience for me as an artist. The project gave me an opportunity to think about what artists can create for society/community and what artists should prioritize in times of crisis”.

Taka also has artwork featured in Eihu Lane as part of the Canvas Corridor Project, which transformed the shared Robson-Alberni laneway between Burrard and Bute by creating an outdoor art gallery.

“Ça Va Bien Aller/It’s Going To Be OK” by Tierney Milne

Photo credit: Vancouver Mural Festival | Gabriel Martins Photography

Tierney created not one, but two murals #onRobson during the lockdown: We All See the Same Moon on Plenty and Ça Va Bien Aller on Indigo. The latter was inspired by the handwritten rainbow message signs that Tierney would see children making and taping to their windows for passers-by to see, including herself.

“I was born in Montreal and I saw my niece doing the same thing out there, and thought it would be nice to combine the French and English to make the message even more broadly accessible and to be able to add some colour to someone’s day”, says Tierney Milne.

You can also find Tierney’s work at Foot Locker where she created several interior murals in their new power store #onRobson and at Plenty where she painted the bright and colourful Garden of Plenty mural back in 2019.

The #MakeArtWhileApart Project brought so much joy and hope to our Robson Street community during an uncertain time and we couldn’t think of a better way to honour this past year than with another amazing public art project. We hope you love the banners #onRobson as much as we do! Make sure to snap and share photos using hashtag #onRobson, as we’re giving away limited edition tote bags that feature Tierney and Ciele’s #MakeArtWhileApart artwork.