Magic Music Ride
‘Hi Vancouver!’ artist Bunnie Reiss wrote on her August 1st, 2018 Instagram post. ‘I’ll be painting this massive wall in your beautiful city for the next 10 days!!! Come say hi 🙂 201 E 7th Ave! Thanks for having me.’
Reiss, who was born in Maryland and raised in Colorado by her Polish/Russian family, now lives in Los Angeles. As she says in a 2019 article with House of Vans: “My work is a combination of folk art from my eastern European background, places I’ve traveled around the world, psychedelic dreams, strange imaginary worlds, nature, magic, the stars and animals.”
When she’s not working on whimsical, massive murals, Reiss also writes and illustrates children’s books and designs custom patterns for fashion designers like Isabel Marant.
How did Reiss get involved in art? As she reveals in the 2019 interview: “I was a tiny rebel with a large imagination, and I kinda knew from the beginning that I didn’t fit in. There are no other artists in my family, and I was definitely the odd ball. Art was, like most misunderstood kids, the only thing that felt really good to me. I loved museums, fashion, weird books and storytelling. There seemed to be huge worlds that were out there, and I had zero fear in discovering them. Recently a family friend sent a package with tons of drawings and art I did for her when I was a child, and it’s amazing to see the same imagery I use now in many of the funny things I drew as a kid.”
The Magic Music Ride mural on this Mount Pleasant wall – Reiss notes in another August 2018 Instagram post – ‘is consuming more spray paint than any monster of my wildest dreams.’ But, she’s ‘having a ton of fun with this wall,’ especially as it ‘passes the awkward teenage stage’ and starts to come together.
There are rabbits, of course. On August 6th, Bunnie starts ‘adding a few more animals.’ ‘Getting so close!’ She writes on the 7th. And, finally on the 8th, Reiss is done. ‘Wow wow wow. That was sooooo fun!’
With the long hours and physicality of creating a mural, Reiss tells House of Vans: “There is no better way to understand a community, a city, a neighborhood, then painting outside and really being a part of it. And people are so happy and grateful that you are adding something beautiful to their neighborhood. I also love that murals are free for people to look at, and so many demographics are affected by the work. You never know who will see it and be inspired.”
Written by Elizabeth Newton