Old Vancouver/East Vancouver (Vol 2)
Alley Alley Art 4free
East Vancouver has great alleys. They range from gritty and illicit to meandering and peaceful. Some are rough and garbage strewn, full of inner city hard life. Many though are striking in their variety and scope of artfulness. Immaculately tended back yard gardens rub property lines with decades of unkemptness. New lane way houses have views of the mountains. Forty year old grape vines climb telephone poles
More so than the actual house residing at each address in East Vancouver, a true taste of this neighbourhood and it’s roots are found in the alleys. For a large portion of the people living in the area, the alley is their primary vehicle route home. Cars park there, sometimes never to move again. High fences and cameras guard some houses, unfenced, unruly wildflower gardens beckon the visitor with aged elegance from others. Life is always unfolding in an East Van lane.
Alleyways have their own set of rules, different from the streets and roads. Put an object you don’t want anymore out in the alley and everyone knows it’s first come first serve. At times it’s a very efficient means of moving excess material things to people who need stuff at no cost. It is reduce/reuse/recycling at its best. Other times, the lanes are deemed a great dumping spot for ratty mattresses and what have you. This is still deemed an acceptable method of getting rid of your shit by a small percentile of society.
When it comes to the bounty of fruits and vegetables that grow throughout East Vancouver alleys, I am unsure of proper protocols. Many a backyard garden has every spare inch dedicated to growing food crops. I so envy and respect these small scale farmers for their effort and skills. Other gardens bordering lanes tease passerby’s with an untended and possibly unwanted bounty. Apples and pears hang over fences in clusters, greens and cherry tomatoes beg for a salad bowl. Equally alluring are the colourful bouquets of flowers that spill from every corner. A small corner market could be stocked with the harvest but can a neighbour help themselves to the alleyways charms?
What each lane has though is its own personality.
Some find a rhythm of symmetry, a bunch of old classics all in a row. They present to the backstreet a timeless elegance unduplicated in the modern recreations. Each backyard and garage has a sense of order and efficiency. Other homes spill out into the shared lane way space with a chaotic display of misfiled recycling or a lost decades motorcycle. You can find tropical paradises, complete with the sound of water gardens. You can find despair and sadness.
My favourite part of the lanes and alleys of East Vancouver is the displays of random art. Sculptures, murals, mosaic and graffiti, they are all present. It’s an ever evolving art show for an unknown audience. Some of the alley art you see when you look for it was obviously presented for viewers. Other art seems deep and personal, created from a dark mind space where some of the worlds great works of art and music have come from. Then there is the accidental art, that maybe only I think looks cool. Either way, there is always an art show open in the alleys of East Van if you care to to take the time to look. Alley Alley Art 4free
Until next time
Much love from lars
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More random photos that caught lars’s eye