Warhol-inspired soup can art surfaces in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

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Downtown Eastside soup art
WATCH: If you've driven through Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, you may have noticed a throwback to the 1960s and Andy Warhol's soup can art. Kristen Robinson found out who's behind it – Sep 10, 2016

If you’ve passed the corner of East Hastings and Gore Streets in the Downtown Eastside recently, you may have noticed a throwback to the 1960s.

Vancouver artist Andy Morning Star is putting his own twist on Campbell’s Soup Cans, 54 years after Andy Warhol turned the art world upside down and made the common soup can famous.

“The soup cans, they’re iconic — the very best that Andy produced,” said Morning Star, who is posting paper graffiti soup cans on the exterior of the old Salvation Army building on East Hastings.

Each soup can has a message to go with the territory, including: “Carnegie’s Downtown Eastside Soup,” “Canada’s Condensed Residential School Soup,” and “Reconciliation Soup.”

READ MORE: Anger over Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside tours

“People can relate to a soup can,” Morning Star said. “I think the cans say it all.”

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Most passersby told Global News the artwork, supported by Gallery Gachet, speaks the truth.

“It’s been a really wonderful thing seeing the community respond to them,” Cecily Nicholson of Gallery Gachet said. “I think they brighten up buildings that should be put to better use.”

The building at 301 East Hastings is vacant and, ironically, it’s owned by Vancouver Coastal Health, the same organization that cut funding to Gallery Gachet. The artist-run centre helps Downtown Eastside residents like Morning Star display their art. As Gallery Gachet struggles to survive on its own, Morning Star’s creations —  which he considers “art therapy” —  are spreading hope in a sometimes desperate neighbourhood.

“In the Downtown Eastside, you know, it’s known as people that do drugs and drink and party and don’t care but amongst that you can see people are beautiful, beautiful artwork,” said one passerby.

His female friend added: “Whatever the artwork is it resembles the love that’s down here, the friendships and the family.”

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