Photo: Brendan Kergin / Vancouver Is Awesome.
Queen BX1000 sits placid, head held high above an empty, decaying lot in a south Vancouver industrial area.
While it looks animal-like, the giant yellow object is a piece of art; the installation was built there by Junko, an anonymous artist based in Montreal. He says he came west and ended up staying in Vancouver for a bit in the late spring, during which time he built Queen BX1000.
He was biking in the area when inspiration struck; he spotted a garage that worked on yellow taxi cabs, which had a huge pile of bright yellow bumpers.
“I use car bumpers often in my artwork, so I thought it would be great to use the yellow somehow, and that led to the idea of creating some sort of bee creature,” he says. “I never try to recreate an animal or creature realistically, I find it more interesting and fun to create something new.”
Almost everything used in Queen BX1000 was a found object.
“I get all the materials by just biking around and looking at what people are throwing out,” he notes. “Besides some hardware (nails/screws/bolts) nothing was purchased. All the material was found on the street or in someone’s garbage pile.”
A message about sustainability could be drawn from his work, especially given he rides around on a bike and doesn’t use any engines or motors to build his creations, but Junko says it’s passion that drives him more than communication.
“It’s just my passion. It’s a reason to live, and it makes me feel alive,” he explains.
Taking time to complete it is a good thing, he adds.
“It seems to me that in this day and age everything gets done extremely fast and conveniently, regardless of how much energy it takes or its environmental impact,” he says. “I think it’s good to take things slowly sometimes.”
Living a relatively un-tethered life, Junko is coy about where his work will pop up next. However, there will be more, given his passion for the creative process.
“Art is a full-time passion for me,” he says. “Sometimes it’s a career, sometimes it’s not.”
“I live fairly minimally so that I can spend less time trying to generate income and more time focusing on the things I love.”