Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Sai Woo Chop Suey II - Vancouver | Will RAFUSE | 36 x 36 | Oil on canvas | 2018

Saturday, June 16, 2018 from 10am - 5pm.

Oil on Canvas 
36 x 36 inches 

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Vancouver's Sai Woo's neon rooster sign crows over Chinatown once again

Sai Woo Chop Suey - Vancouver | Will Rafuse | 36 x 36 | Oil on canvas | 2018



The replica of the original neon sign hanging outside Sai Woo.










By: Cheryl Chan - VANCOUVER SUN
Published on: August 4, 2017 | Last Updated: August 4, 2017 8:00 AM PDT

For the first time in almost 60 years, the distinctive green-and-yellow neon rooster once again reigns over Sai Woo in Vancouver’s Chinatown.
The only image restaurant owner Salli Pateman had of the original sign that used to grace the original Sai Woo on 158 East Pender St. was a brief clip on a YouTube video that her friend sent her of a Chinatown parade in 1958.
“We rebuilt this sign literally from a one-and-a-half to two-second frame,” said Pateman, with a laugh.
Troy Hibbs and Salli Pateman with the new sign, which measures six feet wide and eight feet tall.

Resurrecting the sign was important to Pateman, who saw it as a way to pay homage to the building and neighbourhood. It would also be a memento of the past, mixed with the new, which is mirrored in the 6,000-square-foot modern Chinese eatery she opened in 2015 and named Sai Woo after the original chop-suey house that occupied the same location from 1925-1959.
Pateman tried to find the sign, launching a public appeal with a $500 reward earlier this year. She got tips and stories, but no solid leads. She turned to Kickstarter to raise the $18,000 it would cost to create a replica of the sign, offering $1 restaurant credit for every $1 donated.
On the last day of the all-or-nothing campaign, she was short $522. That final donation came from Stephen Wong, whose father, Chinatown legend Bill Wong of Modernize Tailors, used to eat at the original Sai Woo. The younger Wong said he wanted to donate the remaining funds in honour of his dad, who died in April at age 97.
“We were both so emotional that we were able to make it happen,” recalled Pateman. “It’s special that the last bit we needed came from within the community.”
Troy Hibbs of TDH Experiential Fabricators said the most challenging part of making the 6×8-foot sign was the lack of detail in the grainy screenshot image.
His team researched the area, its history and how signs were made in that era. They hand-painted the letters, used air-brushing techniques and put the sign through an aging process in order to mimic the vintage quality of the sign.

The sign in progress at TDH Experiential Fabricators.

“In LED, it would look very different than what you see now. You won’t have that wow factor to it,” said Hibbs.
Decades after LED technology killed off the neon-sign industry, there are signs that neon is coming back into vogue.
TDH made the Time is Precious neon sign on the Kit and Ace building in Gastown, and the neon signs outside Chinatown restaurants Bao Bei and Juniper. It also recently retrofitted an old Midas sign on a Lululemon store in Kitsilano.
Another historic neon sign is also set to be reborn down the street on East Pender: When Chinatown landmark Foo’s Ho Ho opens next year it’ll be lit up by a three-storey neon sign on the side of the building.
Since the Sai Woo sign was installed Saturday evening, it has lit up Pender Street like a beacon. The restaurant’s entrance is small and could easily be missed by passersby, said Pateman. Now people stop constantly and take photos and admire the sign.
“Hopefully, this is the catalyst for that neon era to come back to this street,” she said.

Courtesy of: © Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

Sunday, March 4, 2018

The Heart Of Davie Village

Should Heart Of Davie Village sign be a permanent feature in West End?

Published on: December 29, 2017

The Heart of Davie Village - Vancouver | 36 x 36 | Oil on canvas | 2018

The Heart of Davie Village is a 4×4-foot heart-shaped neon sign that was unveiled earlier this month as part of the Lumiere Vancouver winter light festival.
Artist Jim Balakshin, the sign’s designer, described the Heart of Dave Village as “a recognition of the historical geography of the Davie Village and the contributions of the community towards the political advancements of LGBTQ2+ rights across Canada.”

The art piece, installed at Davie Street near Burrard, is only scheduled to be up until the third week of February but there is an active campaign to keep the sign there forever.
More than 500 people have signed an online petition at Change.org to make the sign permanent.
“The community just loves this new sign, but it’s not permanent yet.  There are some hurdles to overcome, such as insurance and the fact it sits on private property.  Show your support to make this a permanent sign in Davie Village by signing our petition.  This petition will be shared with the West End BIA, and it is hoped that the #heartofdavievillage sign will become permanent,” the petition reads.

DANCELAND Manitou Beach, Saskatchewan

after David Thauberger 1979, Dana Clayton 2010 and Kevin Boyle 2015
DANCELAND ~ Manitou Beach, Saskatchewan | 24 x 36 | Oil on Canvas | 2017


Signs of Yesterday by Will RAFUSE
Leslie Levy Fine Art ~ Scottsdale, Arizona
CANTER'S DELI & BAKERY ~ LOS ANGELES | 36 x 36 | Oil on canvas | 2017

FELIX CHEVROLET ~ LOS ANGELES | 36 x 36 | Oil on canvas | 2017


Marietta Cobb Museum of Art to feature Coca-Cola Company and Mason Fine Art Collections

Executive Director Sally Macaulay and Curator Kelsey Moran

100 Years of the Coca-Cola Bottle | 40 x 40 | Oil on canvas | 2015

Star Drug Store  Drink Coca-Cola | 40 x 46 | Oil on canvas | 2015

  • Sally Litchfield  Apr 10, 2016

  • The Marietta Cobb Museum of Art will present a new exhibit “Catch the Wave: The Coca-Cola Company and Mason Fine Art Collections,” opening April 16 through June 26.The exhibit will feature original works by artists such as Norman Rockwell, Haddon Sundblom and Andy Warhol, along with contemporary artists such as Steve Penley, Kate Brinkworth and Todd Ford.
    “Throughout history, The Coca-Cola Company has linked its flavors with the most popular designs and lifestyles of the era through the art of advertisement,” said Kennesaw resident Kelsey Moran, MCMA Curator.
    MCMA will feature traditional and contemporary art. “The fact that we are showcasing a Coca-Cola exhibit implies that we are featuring the art of advertisement. Indeed we are, with the timeless and original paintings of Rockwell and his studies for advertisement used by The Coca-Cola Company, interpretations of Coke by Andy Warhol, and, of course, Sundblom’s Santa Clause,” she said.
    The exhibit is a unique chance for the community.
    “This is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. Coca-Cola is everywhere, it is such an integral part of culture, and it is a rare opportunity to be able to stand in front of the artwork that started it all and continues to propel the company,” Moran said.
    As part of the exhibit, MCMA will unveil a community display made with 20-ounce Coca-Cola products. “The community and local schools have worked hard to decorate these bottles in order for this public art display to be unique to Marietta Square,” she said.
    “This exhibition will surely provide the community with a nostalgic glimpse of the ‘good old times,’ providing a refreshing pause from the chaos of today’s world and a moment to be wowed by the contemporary works from the Coca-Cola Archives and Mason Fine Art Gallery; Otto Lange, Kim Karelson, James Zamora, Sally Tharp, Will Rafuse, and Cason Adams,” Moran said.
    “The Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art is honored to exhibit work of such caliber, and would like to thank The Coca-Cola Company and Mason Fine Art for making this possible,” Moran said.
    The opening reception is April 16, from 6 to 8 p.m. The exhibit is free for Members, $10 for guests. Carriage House Catering has prepared a special menu with Coca-Cola as the featured ingredient.
    Visit www.mariettacobbartmuseum.org

    Friday, September 9, 2016

    Will Rafuse paints a disappearing city

    Smilin Buddha Cabaret | 22 x 38 | Oil on canvas | 2016


    by Janet Smith on June 15th, 2016 at 11:42 AM
    It says something about artist Will Rafuse’s nostalgia for Vancouver that, even though he has moved to the far side of the country, he is still obsessively painting the disappearing streetscapes of his former West Coast home.
    There is just something about the tug of this place, and the fact that the city is changing so rapidly, that has kept him painting its old corner stores and vibrant neon signs during his past decade in Montreal, and now in his new home of Saint John.
    The Only Seafood, Vernon Drive Grocery, Golden City Cafe, and Boots by Dayton: these are just some of the vintage landmarks that populate his works, some of which will be on view at the Kimoto Gallery as part of this year’s South Granville ArtWalk, on Saturday (June 18).
    Then again, it may be his very distance from here that feeds his nostalgia. “When you leave something, you think about it in a different light than you would if you saw it every single day,” says the artist from New Brunswick, reflecting on the B.C. city where his art career flourished for two decades, and still grows.
    “I do my take on something that has disappeared or that I think may be torn down, because I love that city and I’m so surprised how much it’s transformed over the past 10 or 20 years. Now it’s changing every day. And now that I’ve been coming back every year for a show, I really notice it.”
    He’s in the midst of finishing a work that honours one of Vancouver’s best-loved neon pieces: the 1950s Smilin’ Buddha Cabaret sign as it once hung in its East Hastings streetscape, in oils across a 22-by-38-inch canvas.
    Like so many of his paintings of neon, it’s captured in daylight, to show the tubing and layered colours, with the sun reflecting off the surfaces and wires criss-crossing it as they might have back in the day.
    “Neon is kind of alive in itself. You can hear the hum of the gas,” he says. “People gravitate toward it because they can relate it to something in their own life. It brings back a memory for them. People will say, ‘I ate at that restaurant’ or ‘I drove by that grocery.’ ”
    He adds that the glowing, jiggling-bellied beacon of the long-closed live-music haunt, where everyone from Jimi Hendrix to D.O.A. played, is a classic.
    “Besides the Only and the Ovaltine, I think it’s right up there,” he says. “So many people have a lot of nostalgia for that place, and that area [100 block East Hastings] has fallen pretty much as far as it can, unfortunately. That sign holds dear to so many people.”
    So just how does Rafuse remember these sites in such detail when he’s putting brush to canvas on the other side of the country? He works from archival photos as well as his own shots. “I have a huge library of imagery I’ve taken on trips out there,” he says.
    And it’s his own pictures of signs and streetscapes that really drive home the pace of change in this ridiculously booming West Coast town.
    “Even the ones I’ve taken five years ago, it’s changed,” says Rafuse, whose work joins a summer group show of other Kimoto artists, like David Wilson, Jim Park, and Kimberley French, who celebrate, question, and explore this place’s streets and nearby landscapes.
    “The old is disappearing very quickly.”

    Courtesy of: © Copyright (c) The Georgia Straight