Justin Gradin

Justin Gradin makes Vancouver a more interesting place. He runs Cassette or Die, an anachronistic micro label that only releases music on cassette. He fronts the band Random Cuts, a rock outfit where two of the band’s members are mannequins. And for years he ran The Emergency Room, a now defunct studio, jam space and venue that was a hub for this city’s weird punk music scene.

The Dark

Vancouver-based artist the dark (aka Devitt Brown) has had many evolutions over the course of his career, changing mediums from stencils to posters, oil pastels, photography and more. He has spent years as one of this city’s most impressive and consistent street artists and has shown at many contemporary fine art galleries both at home and internationally. Throughout these transitions the dark has maintained a strong and immediately identifiable through line to his work.

Jeremy Shaw’s Expo 86 Posters

Jeremy Shaw first gained notoriety for dosing his friends with the powerful hallucinogen DMT. He recorded the results for an eight-screen installation that was shown in galleries around the world. His most recent work is a poster campaign in Vancouver that started last March. Since then, 25 different designs have decorated the city’s lamp posts with iconic and infamous imagery from Expo 86.

Andrew Pommier

Andrew Pommier does a lot of things. He skateboards, he listens to T.I., he eats porridge, but most notably he does art. If any of Andrew’s work looks familiar, it’s because it probably is. Though Andrew’s roots are in skateboard art, he has done graphics for a number of different companies from the likes of Adidas to RVCA to Stüssy to Zune, and is also a successful gallery artist. ION recently got to hang out and have a chat with Andrew at his studio.

Tim Barber

Tim Barber takes pictures for “Me and You.” I’m not sure if Tim knows me well enough to make a statement like that, but I’d say it’s fairly accurate. Tim’s interest in photography started at an early age and his work and subjects range from shooting fashion campaigns for the likes of Stella McCartney, to a series called “Kitty City,” which contained a number of kittens in urban diorama-like scenes.

Brian Donnelly

When Brian Donnelly titled his most recent show “Blasphemies, Monstrosities and other Perversions,” he was bound to start some dialogue. Factor in his actual artwork, which consists mostly of large portraits of nude people with animal heads, and you’ll have more dialogue than a Tarantino movie. This young Toronto painter’s relationship with his work is complex in reception and creation, which can often lead to polarized audience reactions—sometimes intrigue, sometimes disgust, sometimes both.

Danny Vermette

Perched above that little slab of Main Street where Mount Pleasant greets the Downtown Eastside, a young man is working (and drinking) industriously amid a camp of artists known as the Cartalera Talent House. It is here in his ghoulish grotto that Danny Vermette awakens the misunderstood souls of a paradise lost: creatures furry, frozen and towering as high as eight feet. Danny conceptualizes and crafts larger-than-life creatures, then, when they have reached maturity, releases them into the wild.

Robert Mearns

Nothing about 25-year-old Vancouver artist Robert Mearns is ordinary. For starters, note that Robert is pushing the six-foot-five mark dramatically, complete with a wild mane of spectacular hair. And just in case that didn’t make him conspicuous enough, he’s got the head of a deer tattooed defiantly across his chest. Ordinary is not in Robert’s vocabulary, nor his DNA for that matter—and this trend follows into his work.


Sarah Joncas

At first glance, Sarah Joncas’ paintings of pouty, buxom damsels in distress seem like intense glimpses into the mysterious mind of a tortured Robert Smith-infatuated artist. But the reality is quite the opposite: Sarah’s artwork really reflects her love of pop surrealism, dichotomy and subjects that provoke a second look. Whatever her inspiration may be, it’s obviously working as Sarah who, at 22, has already had multiple showings in L.A.’s Thinkspace Gallery, including her recent series called “Beneath the Seams.”