Artist Jesse Corcoran says Olympic mural highlights suffering of the majority
Vancouver artist Jesse Corcoran says he likes creating simple images that convey real meaning.
But after Corcoran painted a parody of the Olympic rings on a mural outside a Downtown Eastside art gallery, the city ordered its removal for violating the graffiti bylaw.
The owner of the Crying Room gallery, Colleen Haslin, complied with the city's demand. The painting was up for nearly two months before it came down on November 16.
In a phone interview with the Georgia Straight, Corcoran noted that Heslin was never told to remove other pieces of art that graced the outside of her gallery.
"She has had 30 murals up there, and none of them ever had any issue," he said. "The city likes to say it's not about the content. I think it's pretty evident that it was."
Corcoran said the point of the painting was to show that a lot of people who live in Vancouver are unhappy about the Olympics.
"It's for people who have money, and who can afford to go to Vancouver and pay to go to the Olympic gold-medal hockey match," Corcoran added. "This other group, meanwhile, is very unhappy and suffering."
Corcoran works in a homeless shelter in the Downtown Eastside. He said it troubles him that marginalized people in the neighbourhood are suffering so greatly while governments are throwing huge sums of money at a sporting event.
"A lot of the folks have HIV and hepatitis, and are super-mentally ill," Corcoran said. "They're addicted to hard drugs. Their suffering is not being addressed, but we can find the money to spend—$900 million, or whatever the latest figure is—on security for an event. I just feel the money would go so far for not just housing, but supported housing."
He also called for more spending on programs. Even if this money doesn't turn homeless people's lives around, Corcoran said it would ease their suffering.
"I think that we're sacrificing the happiness of this marginalized population which, in this neighbourhood, outnumbers the people who could afford to go to an event like that," Corcoran said. "Basically, the happiness of this one minority is sort of at the expense of the majority."
Related article: Geoff Meggs calls removal of Olympic mural at Crying Room "regrettable"
Dec 11, 2009 at 5:05pm
Well perhaps he could just add some color and stuff to avoid Vancouver's definition of "Graffiti".
Dec 11, 2009 at 6:09pm
Nice work Jesse. Thank you for stating the truth so concisely.
Dec 11, 2009 at 7:38pm
I'm not surprised a this...the Olympics are sacrosanct of course and beyond criticism. Something the pinheads who are pursuing possible criticisms don't realize is that, despite their best efforts, we do have a free press and attempted suppressive incidents like this are spread far and wide via the Net, news sources that still think (thanks GS), CBC etc.
A small mural that would have been seen (and apparently appreciated) by a few passersby has been given worldwide exposure.
I'm dating myself with this but I'm thinking back to the Chicago demo convention in 1968 with a huge crowd chanting: "the whole world's watching".
You can't stop the truth.
Well done Jesse and good reporting GS
Dec 11, 2009 at 10:09pm
Exactly strat_83 - this was even covered in the Globe & Mail.
The REAL games are played by the corporate sponsors that want to see who can get the most branding in public view before/during/after the Olympics. Just look at photos from, say, the Montreal Olympics and compare the amount of corporate advertising on the venues... the focus is truly not in the sport any more, it's in the advertising.
Dec 11, 2009 at 11:19pm
Thank you City of Vancouver for gaining Corcoran's elegant message this worthy attention and publicity.
A guerrilla marketing expert could not have designed a better campaign to elevate public attention. Priceless!
Dec 12, 2009 at 12:04am
No doubt that everyone bitching about the Olympics will stop... pause, whoop it up huge and party like the world is ending during the event... then return to their bitching.
You know this is true. None of us will let a big party of a lifetime pass us by.
Do I think it's wrong? yes
Do I think it's a scam? yes
Do I think it's made the rich richer? yes
Do I think we will be taxed for it forever? yes
Do I think I will be a hypocrite and go to parties? yes
This is no different then Al Gore talking about how bad the environment is while he takes off in his 14mpg SUV to drive to his private jet to fly home to his plastic/styrofoam nightmare of an inefficient home, change into his 'child slave labour' house coat and sip on freshly squeezed baby penguin juice.
But it's ok... because he invented the internet.
Just like it's ok for us to forget our values because hey... olympic gold is at stake.
Monsanto owns seeds and VANOC owns rings?
Dec 12, 2009 at 2:08am
The Olympics make me sick. The sooner they are over the better, and may we never get conned into agreeing to this kind of event that has resulted in excessive spending for a circus, while poverty increases, health care suffers, and people actually lose jobs and income while the events take place. It is so utterly petty of the government to remove this mural. I mean, really. Who do they think they're kidding?
Dec 12, 2009 at 8:51am
It's the Olympics® people, the Olympics®.
® ® ®
Dec 12, 2009 at 11:22am
they've said this will be the greenest games ever and now they want eveyone to leave their Christmas lights up (oops, I mean holiday lights)
and turn them on durning the games. That way your power bill goes up to help pay for this disgrace. Three cheers for Gordin's games. The whole thing is B/S.
Dec 13, 2009 at 1:06am
if the city has problems with jesse's rings they should see what i have hanging in my apple tree.i'am really thinking of modifing my current piece under construction to see if bill 13 really has any teeth.or is gordo and his henchmen just blowing smoke out of their collective asses.who knows,maybe all the artistic people in the lower mainland should turn this into a game.flood the city with artwork and excerise our right to freedom of speech.i'm up for a round or two,anyone else?