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Guest post: Vancouver Transit and Art

Ink illustration by Peter R. Bach.

Ink illustration by Peter R. Bach.

Here’s a lovely change of pace from all the Canada Line stuff. This is a guest post by Jason Vanderhill, who is an avid artist and photographer, as well as designer of several transit buttons that you might have in your collection.

Over the past year or so, I’ve taken up a new hobby. Call it SkyTrainSpotting in Fine Art, I am essentially looking for cameos or references to Vancouver transit in fine art.

Of course, I’m not limiting myself to SkyTrains, but I am trying to limit the scope as much as possible to public transit, just to remain focused. Thus far, my search has brought together scenes featuring the SkyTrain and surroundings, TransLink buses, a Seabus, and even a Coastal Renaissance BC Ferry. To be clear, I’m not always purchasing these artworks, as much as I would like to. I am, instead, making note of the work, keeping an eye on the artist’s work for future consideration.

One of the first pieces I did acquire was a print of an ink illustration of Vancouver’s skyline prominently featuring a Seabus, illustrated by graphic designer Peter R Bach of Burnaby.

The illustration (shown above) was part of a series of 6 prints showcasing Vancouver cityscapes and architectural landmarks. Peter passed away in 2006, but I’ve learned from the artist’s family that he came to Canada in 1979 and did these illustrations between 1982 and 1984, showcasing Vancouver Pre-Expo! Some pretty dramatic changes have occurred to the skyline since then!

Commercial Drive by Suzan Marczak.

Commercial Drive by Suzan Marczak.

The next piece that I took an immediate liking towards was spotted at last year’s Eastside Culture Crawl. It was a night scene depicting the number 20 Bus heading down Commercial Drive, painted by artist Suzan Marczak.

She works with both ceramics and oil paintings, and over the past few years one of her subjects has been painting Vancouver by night. She’s gathered an impressive portfolio on the subject, as seen here. In this particular painting, the colour temperature of the bus’s interior is spot on!

Reiteration by David Antonides.

Reiteration by David Antonides.

Artist David Antonides shares his time between studios in New York City and Vancouver. His large scale canvases really capture city life with gusto!

He has featured TransLink buses in a number of his Vancouver paintings, and now that Granville Street redesign and construction is nearing completion, we eagerly await seeing the #10 bus along Granville Street again! Lately David has been painting more NYC taxi cabs; he recently had a large scale installation on display in the Big Apple entitled ‘Tower 49’.

View from 22nd Street by Eri Ishii.

View from 22nd Street by Eri Ishii.

When I see Eri Ishii‘s paintings, they seem to possess something very familiar to me; perhaps it’s because we’ve traveled the very same commute! She has on occasion included transit routes or relics in her paintings, and in this diptych, we see the view from the 22nd Street SkyTrain Station.

SkyTrain by Taralee Guild.

SkyTrain by Taralee Guild.

Taralee Guild will be entering her 4th year at ECUAD this fall. Some of her work will be shown at a one day group show & sale this Thursday, August 20, 2009 at Heritage Hall. One of her paintings to be shown Thursday night features the SkyTrain tracks heading towards VCC Clark.

She has painted an elaborate series of trees, but she also has a particular acumen for the built environment. Whether her subject is a tree, a bus, a bridge, or a building, it is always intriguing.

Ferry to Horseshoe Bay by Katrina Espetveidt.

Ferry to Horseshoe Bay by Katrina Espetveidt.

Finally, I’ve included one more painting, even if it happens to fall a bit outside the TransLink realm. The impressionist’s view of a Coastal Renaissance BC Ferry was painted by Capilano fine art student Katrina Espetveidt, and it is part of the school’s promotional 2010 calendar. Greeting cards, framed prints, and original paintings are available at Etsy from this series, for a limited time! In this series, there are also a number of other transportation related paintings, including Waterfront Station, YVR, and Pacific Central Station.

This has really just scratched the surface of this subject. I don’t expect these artists above explicitly intended to focus their artwork on transit per se, but I think it does illustrate the importance that transit plays in the vibrancy of city life. If you find more examples of Vancouver transit in Fine Art, I’d love to hear more about it in the comments!

And in upcoming related posts, I’ll be discussing the world of Art and the Travel Poster, as well as Comics and Transit! Stay tuned!

Thanks Jason! If you would like to submit a guest post to the blog, pitch me your idea via e-mail.


  • By Brandon, August 19, 2009 @ 4:02 pm

    Great post. I am interested as well to see what art has been done showcasing our great transportation system.

  • By Alex MacLeod, August 19, 2009 @ 6:05 pm

    I love this article. I can’t imagine a more compelling subject than representations of city transit in various artistic media. Public transportation brings people together in our modern/post-modern world like almost nothing else and I salute Jason Vanderhill for finding the convergence between the urban aesthetic and the way we share our lives on a daily basis of coming-and-going reality.

  • By Ernst Schneider, August 19, 2009 @ 6:07 pm

    Great post, Jason. I hope there is more to come!

  • By Rvie, August 20, 2009 @ 7:26 am

    That is so beautiful! I hope there will be more art that features our amazing transit system! =)

  • By DaveO, August 20, 2009 @ 4:38 pm

    Yup, i dig your style JMV! Really neat collection. I’d like to see a post featuring more of your typography, buttons, fold-ups and other transit inspired crafts.

    PS Could you include my “$3 Harbour Cruise” oil pastel painting in your next one ;-)

  • By Jamey, August 21, 2009 @ 8:11 am

    Jason, great post! It’s nice to see a blend of two awesome things in life: art and transit! :)

    btw… Jhen, are there buttons still available? I wasn’t able to make it to I <3 Transit night and would really like one.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, August 21, 2009 @ 9:51 am

    There are buttons still available, though not all of the ones above are still around — we’re now out of the blue B-Line button and the WCE one!

    Email me your address and I can send you a set of what remains.

  • By Jason Vanderhill, August 24, 2009 @ 8:17 pm

    Could it be the power of the Buzzer blog? Taralee’s SkyTrain painting sold at the art show last week in about 10 minutes!!! Woot!

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, August 25, 2009 @ 9:29 am

    Ooh, fantastic! Were you the buyer Jason? :)

  • By Frank Mihal, September 19, 2009 @ 8:07 am

    Sold in 10 minuites..wow! amazing!

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, March 8, 2010 @ 4:16 pm

    OK, I’m going to close comments on this blog post, because for some reason spammers are targeting it. (For scale: I just got 300+ spam comments on this post over 4 days!)

    If you want to add anything to this post, just e-mail me at thebuzzer@translink.ca.

Other Links to this Post

  1. re:place Magazine — August 20, 2009 @ 9:45 am