Mosaic artist Jason Dussault and Telus join forces to create massive mural for Vancouver

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      This weekend, Jason Dussault is overseeing what will likely become one of the most memorable public-art projects in the city's history.

      The celebrated mosaic artist and 500 volunteers from Telus were at David Lam Park creating a 12-metre by four-metre mural. It will feature a character he has named Barker the Evergreen standing in front of letters spelling out the word Vancouver.

      "Most artists have to sneak out in the middle of the night to get their art on walls and streets," Dussault told the Straight. "I'm very fortunate that I don't have to risk arrest by trying to get my art up on the walls. I want to thank the city and Telus for doing this because it's something they don't have to do."

      He described Barker as a "busy evergreen" with a packed schedule. 

      "He's going to go snowboarding," Dussault revealed. "He's going to play tennis. He's going to go on a hike. He's got his Birkenstocks, which reflects his passion for yoga. And he's going to do it all in one day."

      He explained that the art is designed to show that it's possible to do a bunch of activities all in the same day in Vancouver.

      The mural will be 12 metres long and four metres high.

      Dussault, who's based in Vancouver and New York, noted that he's gone snowboarding, played hockey, and gone out on the golf course within a 24-hour period in our town.

      "There's not many cities in the world that I think you can experience all of those things," he said. "I think it's fitting to have a place where people can take a photograph of the name of the city to share around the world and say, 'You know, I was there.' Then I wanted to create a character that people would want to take a selfie with."

      Usually, Dussault works on his own. His pop-culture characters are now being shown in the Hoerle-Guggenheim Gallery in New York, where he lives for part of the year.

      Telus has financed the project and supplied the volunteers as part of the company's Days of Giving program. It runs from mid May to mid June, culminating in the Telus Walk to Cure Diabetes in Stanley Park and many other locations on June 14.

      Telus executive chair Darren Entwistle and several company vice presidents were among those in David Lam Park hammering away to create tiles for the mosaic.

      "This organization within British Columbia is approaching $200 million of giving since 2000," Entwistle told the Straight. "This is an organization that is approaching three million hours of volunteer time within this province."

      There were a lot of hammers on-site banging out mosaic tiles.
      Charlie Smith

      The company has not revealed where the mural will go. One thing is certain: it won't be attached to the company's new downtown headquarters, Telus Garden, according to Entwistle.

      Telus's vice president of community investment and engagement, Jill Schnarr, told the Straight that this will be the first mural in the city with the name Vancouver written on it.

      "We think it will be a great draw for tourists and residents to come and take photos and videos and really enjoy their city," she said.

      Jason Dussault double-checked the colours being used by volunteers.
      Charlie Smith

      Dussault said that it would have taken him a year to complete the mural if he didn't have all of the volunteers helping him. He added that he's excited to see how people inject their personalities within their abstracts.

      "Each way they cut and lay that tile will be unique to them," he said. "So we're really going to see a mash-up, especially in the lettering of all the different styles coming together."

      Dussault biggest concern is the colours He confessed to being a bit worried about how they might line up, prompting him to go from table to table to double-check this aspect of the job.

      "Other than that, I feel really comfortable," he said. "I'm really hoping that this piece becomes a destination."

      Everyone involved wore the same style of T-shirt.
      Charlie Smith
      David Lam Park was where the mural was being created.
      Charlie Smith

      Comments

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      10 Comments

      Art lover

      May 30, 2015 at 9:03pm

      "One of the most memorable public art works in the city's history"? Are you serious?

      FFS

      May 30, 2015 at 10:49pm

      Um, what? This is not art. It's a civic embarrassment. Bubble letters and a cringe worthy cliche in amateur cartoon form? Of all the worthy and truly talented artists in Vancouver and this odious, self-important, self-congratulatory dudebro is selected to represent our city? Unbelievable.

      No Location Given?

      May 30, 2015 at 11:08pm

      I certainly hope Telus is not proposing to place this mural on public property.

      Lovely L.

      May 31, 2015 at 5:59am

      I met Jason Dussault a few years ago and think he's a really great guy. He is trying to do something nice for the city while including members of the community.

      @FFS - A REAL embarrassment is the 150th year Canadian Anniversary logo. If Jason did it it would be a bit badass and a whole lot cooler.

      Art N.

      May 31, 2015 at 11:50am

      Vancouver has the worst public art compared to dozens of North American and European cities. This latest edition only confirms that.

      appealing

      May 31, 2015 at 1:19pm

      He is very attractive.

      Steve y

      May 31, 2015 at 2:24pm

      No kidding Telus doesn't want it near their headquarters its hideous

      meh

      May 31, 2015 at 11:12pm

      put it at Darren's house

      Gina T

      Jun 1, 2015 at 3:05am

      There are tons decent artists in Vancouver that could do a better job than this proposed junk. On granville st, all the electrical boxes have small murals. Why not get one of those artists?!

      Deborah G

      Jun 4, 2015 at 8:31am

      I wish there was a way to sign up to help with this. I love working in mosaics.