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Untitled (Poodle)

Permanent artwork on Main Street at 18th Avenue, Vancouver, BC. The work was commissioned by The City of Vancouver Public Art Program and TransLink Corporation.

The eighty-eight blocks of Main Street in Vancouver are perhaps most distinguished by a pervading sense of the local. The street is home to a preponderance of independently owned businesses, culturally distinctive quarters and establishments (notably South Asian, Chinese and Filipino), community centres (the Carnegie Centre, Sunset Community Centre), modest-sized apartment blocks, and individual residences. In recent years the street has attracted artistic and younger entrepreneurs who have opened businesses that intermingle with longstanding establishments.

Untitled (Poodle) flows from the material culture that contributes so strongly to the character of the street. Rather than high-end consumption, Main Street is more typically characterized by the presence of a multitude of objects that tend to have a personal meaning and relate to everyday life. These can be found in a variety of outlets – collectible and antique shops, thrift and corner stores, etc. The poodle was chosen as a motif for the sculpture because it is evocative of the general ambiance of the street. Not associated with a particular culture, it can be appreciated by the wide range of people along the street and in the surrounding neighbourhoods. The sculpture is intended as a curiosity that will attract attention to it as a marker or icon of time and place. In the future this will become more significant as the already shifting character of the street continues to evolve. Fitting its presence, the poodle is quite formal. It is based on and is a representation not of a living poodle but rather of a porcelain figurine, the kind of object that might be found in any number of shops along the street.

From January 2013 to February 2014 the Main Street poodle tweeted at https://twitter.com/MainStPoodle

Media: sculpture – cast aluminum with industrial coating; platform and pole – steel with industrial coating
Dimensions: sculpture 2.1 x 115.66 x 69.9 cm (7’ h x 45’ 6” x 27 1/2”); platform 7.6 x 92.7 x 139.7 cm (3” x 36’ 5” x 55”); pole: 6.6 m x 27.3 cm (diameter) (26’ x 10 3/4” [diameter])

Photography: Rachel Topham

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Memento Cozy, Memento Envy, Memento Molto

Untitled (Poodle) is one element of a contribution to a larger project initiated by the City of Vancouver and TransLink titled 88 Blocks Art on Main. The initiative, conceived as an exhibition, featured the work of three artists on Main Street over a period of one year.

In addition to the permanent artwork, a suite of temporary artworks were installed in and on three trolley buses which ran for a period of time on the #3 Main Street route in Vancouver. The exterior of one trolley bus, titled Memento Cozy, was entirely wrapped with a large-scale digital print of a pink crocheted poodle covering. A second trolley bus, titled Memento Envy, featured a large exterior photographic panel in which a group of knit poodles gaze enviously at an elegant porcelain figurine of a poodle. In place of advertising on the interior of this bus three panels depict the knit objects in various configurations. In the third bus, titled Memento Molto, all of the interior advertising cards have been replaced with photographs of objects – comic books, figurines, small toys, postcards, shoes etc. – that might be found in the many small scale stores that line Main Street.

Made with the assistance of Anil Ragubance with thanks to Maureen Smith and the staff of the City of Vancouver Public Art Program

Photography: Rachel Topham