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Meet the Mural Artist: Pamela Scharback

Pamela Scharback Paints a Garden and Cultivates Creativity

Check out the full mural by Pamela Sharback at 640 Dundas.

Between mosaics and murals, art in OEV has been a bright spot amidst the pandemic and construction work.

In May of 2020, the BIA received funding to hire local artists to paint the boards covering the buildings during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program was so successful in its first year, that the BIA was able to secure funding for a second phase beginning in June 2021. That second phase featured three more artists: Pamela Scharback, Robin Henry, and Alayna Hryclik who we chatted with about their mural and connection to the neighbourhood.

First up, we spoke to Pamela Scharback to learn more about her process.

Pamela Scharback paints thin, black lines to outline flower petals on a nearly complete mural
Pamela Scharback puts the finishing touches on her 640 Dundas mural

Pamela, an artist and gardener, was the first participant in the project’s second phase.

As a resident of Old East Village and a vibrant artist, Pamela was selected for the program because of her connection to Old East Village.

Before moving to London in 2016, Pamela was a community gardener in Vancouver. “When I moved here, I knew I wanted to live near the Vietnam Restaurant because it is amazing and I had my 16th birthday there," she joked.

In all seriousness, Pamela loves being a part of the fabric of Old East Village. “There’s so much going here, it’s like the center of everything,” she said.

Pamela’s mural work was done at 640 Dundas in June. This huge surface was an equally massive undertaking, but thankfully, Pamela had some help in her work. Throughout the process, she was assisted by an art student, Arya who started her first year at H.B. Beal this September.

Arya, an art student, is painting in the orange shadows of a yellow flower on the mural
Arya is painting the flowers on the right side of the mural

"I was trying to make it so that Arya could participate as much as possible, I wanted it to be something she could be super active in and practicing and learning."

Pamela worked with paint and rollers as a base but did the bulk of her detail work with spray paint. As she worked, she took the time to teach Arya about colour, composition and the intricacies of working with spray paint.

This gave the piece a full and colourful look reminiscent of street art, which was exactly Pamela’s intention. “People love to tag things, so I tried to give it that style so it could be embellished with tags without it looking obviously marked," she explained.

And when you look at Pamela’s mural, you can see this style in its elements. An inquisitive goldfish, blue shells, plants and bright flowers, everything in the piece is vivid and vibrant.

A diagonal view of a mural featuring bright orange flowers, blue and black shadows and white highlights on a hot pink background
For the best view of this huge mural, check it out in person at 640 Dundas!

But for Pamela and Arya, this mural has an extra special significance.

"Arya's 13, and I don't know how long the mural will be there for, but that's something she's going to be passing as she's growing up. It's going to give her an even greater sense of what is possible," Pamela said.

You can check out Pamela on Instagram: @pamelascarback to see more of her work!

Make sure to visit the mural while exploring the art of Old East Village on the latest self-guided Culture Cruise Tour as part of "Only in OEV."

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