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Art Beat: Muralist, illustrator Ben Tour opens 'A Lil’ Sum' show at The Kube

Also, four Gibsons artists holding Open Studio Day and Coastal Art Gallery hosting a Battle of the Brushes May 25.

Sunshine Coast muralist and illustrator Ben Tour opened a new exhibition of work, his first in four years, at The Kube gallery on May 3. Tour’s urban art adorns a variety of locations on the Coast; his wall mural at Sechelt’s Capilano University campus was completed in 2018.  

The reception to open Tour’s A Lil’ Sum show included the unveiling of a large-scale wall mural, Killing the Flowers will not delay spring. The jagged eye sockets of the skull at its centre are downcast, in contrast to the festive colours that garland the splintered cranium. As with other works in the showcase (like the avian mixed-media work Swallow Road, 2024), splatters of dried paint surround the piece, running to the floor in chromatic rivulets. 

“I guess the original idea was to mimic stickers on the street,” said Tour. “My art since my early 20s has always been about sticking up stickers. I find that I can have more of a political message behind my stickers as opposed to making fine art pieces. The stickers are more of complete creative freedom to just do and send messages, subtle subversive messages, to people.” 

Tour’s perspective-bending piece Herzog House is based on photographs of East Vancouver homes by Fred Herzog in the 1960s to the 1980s. “As much as I like it, I have a really hard time doing abstracts,” said Tour. “Abstract is part of my work, but I always want to have something representational in there. This is like combining both of those together.” 

Inspiration for the Kube designs flowed from many of Tour’s early sketchbooks, where he refined the iconic images — skulls, animals, flowers, female portraiture — that have distinguished his career. 

“With a lot of my stuff you have to get up close and check it out and ask yourself, what is really going on?” Tour said. “I want to do stuff that people haven’t seen before.” 

Tour’s display at The Kube continues through May 31. 

Meanwhile, The Kube’s Annual Spring Market will be held on Saturday May 11 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. featuring an impressive lineup of makers from the Sunshine Coast and Vancouver. Ceramics, art, jewelry, flowers, vintage, tattoos, clothing and more will be on offer just in time for Mother’s Day. 

Studios embrace visitors 

Four local artists will open their workplaces on May 18 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Open Studio Day promises to ignite creativity and inspiration through the exploration of four working art studios and galleries in and around Gibsons. 

On offer are a wide variety of artworks created by artists Jen Drysdale, Christy Sverre, Teryl Mullock and Ginny Vail. The foursome will conduct live art demonstrations and invite visitors to try their hand at creating their own masterpieces. 

This in-person event is an opportunity to connect with fellow art enthusiasts and support local artists.  

Mark your calendar and plan your route: see Jen Drysdale at 1070 Stewart Road, Christy Sverre at 612 Marine Drive, Teryl Mullock at 584 North Fletcher Road and Ginny Vail on Fircrest/Mahan (follow signs). 

Painters, start your brushes 

The Coastal Art Gallery will host another Battle of the Brushes on Saturday, May 25 from noon until 2 p.m. in the main concourse of Sunnycrest Mall in Gibsons. 

The event allows members of the public to watch painters at work under a serious time crunch. A previous Battle included two sources of inspiration: a clutch of fresh flowers and a live model. 

Details will be available via the gallery’s website at