Living in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver has shaped both my choice of materials and the focus for my work. The immediate urban environment and its shifting terrain is a collage of images and encounters that are both edgy and full of a primal vitality. This provides me with the starting point for most of my paintings and prints. I find visual narratives within this landscape, and at the same time improvise on observed reality, exposing the layers that can be found within the seemingly commonplace.
Various journeys also result in series of paintings and prints. Recent monotypes, for example, reflect my experience of Cuban streets and the Havana cityscape.
Public murals directly influence the physical texture of the street. My mural projects are a reflection of city streets and life, as well as of the creative spirit of the community. For three decades I have worked on solo as well as collaborative public projects, and have taught numerous mural workshops in schools and community centres.
A full-colour book, Painted Lives and Shifting Landscapes (Anvil Press Publishers, 2004) documents my paintings, prints and murals over a 25-year period. Signs of the Times, just released, includes my relief prints alongside poetry by Downtown Eastside poet and activist Bud Osborn.