Massive #kitswings mural brightens up entrance to West 4th Avenue food and shopping district

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      Over the past couple of years, Vancouver has become home to a multitude of murals.

      The newest and largest in Kitsilano is #kitswings, which was unveiled last week on the northwest corner of Burrard Street and West 4th Avenue.

      Covering a 40-foot by 25-foot wall, #kitswings was inspired by the bald eagles living near Kits Beach, according to artist Sandy Pell, who created it with her artist husband Steve.

      "The background is based on just celebrating the Kitsilano sunset and sunrise," Pell told the Straight at the unveiling. 

      She said that the high metallic paint was used "to almost grab the sun as it shines onto the wall".

      The new Kitsilano visual landmark is opposite a  a yet-to-be-completed new Comor store. In the morning after the sun has risen in the east, #kitswings creates a shimmering, even glittery vibe.

      The Pells also wanted to pay homage to the water, which is so central to Kitsilano's identity.

      "I tried as I was moving out from the centre of the mural out to the almost give it a bit of a seashell shape to celebrate the oceans of Vancouver."

      The shell-like shape is a nod to the water around Vancouver.
      Kitsilano West 4th Business Improvement Association

      Kitsilano West 4th Avenue Business Association executive director Jane McFadden devised the winged theme, and the artist took it from there. Pell and her husband spent 200 hours completing the project.

      McFadden told the Straight that the goal was to create an interactive mural in a high-profile location that local residents, tourists, and cyclists could enjoy.

      "We don't have a lot of large blank canvases like this particular one," McFadden said.

      The #kitswings mural is also social-media friendly. That's because its dimensions fit perfectly within the camera frame of a basic mobile phone from the sidewalk.

      This means that folks don't have to wander into traffic or the separated bike lane to take a photo before sharing it on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.

      It's not the Pells' first work of art in the neighbourhood. They also designed a utility box wrapped in vinyl near the corner of Maple Street and West 4th Avenue.

      The president of the West 4th Avenue Business Improvement Association, Donna Hol, was also at the #kitswings unveiling.

      "The entrance to our neighbourhood is now much more inviting and we love it," she said. "We look forward to many more visitors because of #kitswings."