Vancouver Mural Festival at a glance: Women in street art

The Vancouver Mural Festival’s female panelists at the Fox Cabaret. (Left to right: Moderator KASHINK, Alli Bruce, Ola Volo, and Indigo). Photo by Alli Hayes.

Loose Lips archives the top quotes spoken at Vancouver’s Mural Festival panel by the token female street artists

By Alli Hayes

Did you miss the Vancouver Mural Festival last weekend? That’s okay, because the street art is here to stay!  As part of the first inaugural festival, a series of three panels featuring muralists, musicians, curators, was held at the Fox Cabaret on Saturday, August 20th.

The women delved into the nitty gritty of street art culture, mural painting, and the vulnerability of making art in the elements. Below are the high lights of the evening.

KASHINK mural at the Red Truck Brewery Silos photo by the Daily Hive.


“When I started tagging it was a way of expressing my teenage self and my problem with authority. I like to challenge myself, when I started tagging it was about being present. I discovered my own style and painting portraits, I was on that side of graffiti (not letters), completely different than tagging it was more illustrative.”

“It’s very important for me to keep this form of art illegal. It’s really crucial, it’s part of the game of street art. It’s something that I think is the core and the energy that we are bringing outside of this. It’s super important to share something in that way we are all doing that because it means a lot to see a woman outside all day carrying heavy stuff, on scaffolding, using scissor lifts. I painted my art piece on the Red Truck Brewery. There were all these construction workers taking a break for a beer, they were watching me on my lift. They were amazed, it was big for them to see. I think it’s challenging, but I personally have a passion for painting outside. I never went to art school, I have done very little work on canvas, it doesn’t have the same feel as being outside.”

Mural by Indigo. Photo by Aaron RT Smedley.


“This kind of work, regardless of your gender, you have to practice in public. You can’t practice painting a big wall in your house unless you own your house. I’ve made a lot of embarrassing mistakes in public and I would rather not go back and think about them. It also is a very good motivation to get better quickly.”

“I have in the past felt exposed, depending on where I was in the world. There are some cities where I would not go out at night by myself (not necessarily the legality) because me being alone on the street at night is a problem. Because I don’t have a penis. If you enter a situation with the mindset that you are a potential victim, then you’re a much greater target regardless of your gender. I’ve really tried to enter situations with confidence and with self assurance that everything is going to be fine. I have more important things to worry about than whether or not someone is going to harass me or assault me.”

Ola Volo’s mural, photo by Ash Tanasiychuk. Content courtesy of Do604.

Ola Volo

“I saw it as another way to story tell, my illustration work, in a way that I’m elevating that folklore way of sharing stories through accessible art. I interested in many different avenues of art. I wanted to do more work, no matter what the project. Every time I did a project that was bigger than my physical self I felt more challenged, I was intimidated by the size of these walls. It motivated me to look for bigger spaces and take over with a story that is my story or that I can connect it to, or make people sit there and decipher it and look at the detail.”

Ali Bruce
Ali Bruce’s mural, photo by Ash Tanasiychuk. Content courtesy of Do604.

Ali Bruce

“I’m sort of coming into art backwards, with tattooing and other art forms. I’m coming with the drawing and getting into it instead of studying it first. When I was in art school trying to find my niche, I was looking at a lot of street art, and connecting with artists. I got really into sign painting and large scale woodcut work. It takes a lot of strength to do anything large. I had a couple friends helping me and by six or seven hours they tapped out. It’s your piece to finish, and I’m looking forward to doing more and learning more. I learned so much from this one project.”


You can check out the map of street art around Mount Pleasant online and download the app guide for free. Vancouver’s female driven street art reaches beyond Mount Pleasant as well, look out for Olva Volo’s mural on South Granville and 13th. 





Alli is a wildcard. Faux fur is her wingman. She is constantly moved by art, cool parties, and independent film, and continues to create her own projects. She wishes her photographic memory did her Instagram more justice.  Check out her blog at