Commercial Alley Art Gallery
A downtown alley has become a place for artistic and creative expression for street artists.
Back Alley is an Art Gallery
In June 2014, a new outdoor art gallery was established in Commercial Alley to add vitality to the area while retaining the alley’s use by local businesses. Located in between the 500 Block of Yates and Bastion Square, the outdoor gallery allows for four, 1.2-metre x 2.4-metre panels, showcasing a temporary art installation annually.
The Commercial Alley Art Gallery is a City of Victoria public art initiative that provides a place for artistic and creative expression by local emerging artists. Previous installations have featured original artwork by Other (a.k.a. Troy Lovegates), Roy Green, Liz P. Dempsey, Daniel Ellingsen, and Kai Choufour.
Sixth Installation - Artist Austin Willis
Austin Willis has been selected as the sixth artist for the Commercial Alley Art Gallery. Austin's proposal for the annual four-panel 1.2-metre by 2.4-metre artwork will utilize bright colours, bold lines, and shapes to create fun, yet intense energy. His intent is to energizing and beautify the Alley through creative, and engaging work. “As an emerging artist I have a great interest in public art and creating work that beautifies spaces”. Willis’ artwork will be showcased from August 2018 to August 2019.
Austin Willis is originally from Piedmont, California, who moved to the City to attend the University of Victoria’s Visual Arts Program in 2015. He tends to focus on bright colors and bold lines in pursuit of energetic positivity, love, and happiness. Currently Willis is working in a more abstract fashion, using shape, space, colour and line in order to play with spatial illusions and the pictorial shifts between foreground and background.
Fifth Installation - Artist Kai Choufour
"Newtopia" is comprised of four, 1.2 metre by 2.4 metre artwork panels featuring colourful shapes expressed with childish grandeur to convey fiction, play, kindness and positivity. Inspired by utopian ideals and 1970s eco- architecture, the artwork depicts four characters: “Spring Fairy”, “Green Future”, “Pink Turtle”, and “Magic Cat”.
A conceptual artist, Vancouver-born Choufour currently resides in Victoria, BC. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Emily Carr University (2015), has co-directed multiple short-term gallery spaces such as TAG Contemporary (the Emily Carr student gallery) and has exhibited at various galleries in Vancouver. Recently, Choufour oversaw the installation of his first permanent public artwork titled Hide and Seek, a large-scale, steel-plated sculpture in Delta, BC.
Fourth Installation - Artist Daniel Ellingsen
The gallery's fourth installation was created by Daniel Ellingsen. Coastal Reports stylistically reflected west coast culture through image and text. His thought-provoking artwork featured cut-outs, gold leaf, and texture to highlight his observations of west coast socio-cultural issues and topics, combining references from film and pop culture media. The artwork was exhibited from August 2016 to August 2017.
Born in the United Kingdom and raised in Tasmania and coastal British Columbia, Ellingsen’s work treads the line between playful and irreverent, profound and topical, making his commentaries relevant and full of wit – inviting interpretation. His work has been exhibited in Canada, the United States and abroad.
Third Installation -- Artist Liz P. Dempsey
Liz P. Dempsey’s four-panel artwork featured hybrid, human-animal creatures that were both mystical and regal. The dynamic artwork captured the charged and raw energy of Vancouver Island, offering a rich array of symbols and visual imagery for the viewer to ponder.
Dempsey was drawn to Victoria by the magic of the Pacific North West Coast, and has been gaining artistic recognition around the city. Her work has been featured in many group and individual exhibits, she has been nominated for a Monday Magazine award, created custom pieces for businesses, including the "anime wall" in Metropol Industries Chinatown studio, and is the cover artist in Vancouver’s Mania Magazine summer issue.
Second Installation -- Artist Roy Green
The second installation showcased Roy Green's commissioned artwork, featuring four birds both iconic and indigenous to Vancouver Island; the Great blue heron, the Red-winged blackbird, the Pileated woodpecker, and the Rufous hummingbird. The artwork was unveiled August 2014, timed with the Integrate Arts Festival. Roy Green is a Victoria-based painter, poet and performance artist. He was born in Lethbridge, Alberta and graduated from the Emily Carr College of Art in 1984.
Inaugural Installation -- Artist Other (a.k.a Troy Lovegates)
The inaugural artwork installation by Other (Troy Lovegates) depicted four patterned, black-and-white figures punctuated by bold red shapes. The art was created during the Reclaim the Streets: A Symposium on Art and Public Space, which was hosted in 2014 by Open Space. Other is a nomadic folk artist whose bright paintings cross the globe on the sides of rail cars and appear on walls around the world. He has called many places home, including Montreal, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Toronto, and most recently, San Francisco.
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