Located in the heart of Mount Pleasant, 30 East 6th Ave is a newly renovated commercial building with up to 18,000 sf of office space and 8,600 sf of light industrial space. A neighbourhood known as the tech-hub of Vancouver, it welcomes creative minds, artists and entrepreneurs to this bustling area. We had the opportunity to interview Tierney Milne, the mural artist at 30 East 6th Ave. Read more on what Tierney’s inspiration was for this mural.

How did you get your start in painting murals? 

I’ve been drawing and painting since I was a young child but didn’t pursue it formally until after I graduated from UBC (Psychology) and Capilano University (IDEA Program). I was working as a Campaign Designer at Lululemon during the day and working late into the evenings on both client and self-initiated art projects. During this time, I had an opportunity to paint a mural for Lululemon in our office space and this lit a spark for me to want to pursue the art form further.   

Since going full-time as a freelance artist, I’ve been able to paint in Canada and the US for both commercial clients and mural festivals alike. 

What would you say is your artistic style? 

In general, I have a keen interest in how simple shapes and colours affect our well-being and I enjoy using bright colours to interrupt people’s day with positivity. No matter the medium or client, I aim to combine intentional compositions, bold palettes and vibrant patterns to bring my work to life, inject a sense of child-like wonder, and create joy for viewers of all ages 

What was your inspiration for the mural at 30 East 6th Ave? 

For the mural at East 6th, I was immediately inspired by the nook-like nature of the space, and how unique and special it would be to stumble across a colourful grove here if I were a passerby going for a stroll. As a child, I was really taken in by the novel “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett for this very idea of a mysterious, lush, beautiful space that you don’t immediately see but love once you are granted access to. 

To bring this idea of a secret garden to life, I wanted to rely on shapes, patterns and palettes that subtly represent organic foliage and fronds, mixed in with larger-than-life fantastical forms.  

What is your process in creating a mural like this?  

As with all muralsI start off by thinking about the space and the audience of people that will be interacting with the wall or space that I’m designing for. I really like setting an emotional intention for the piece and how I want it to affect passersby before I dive too deeply into sketching and playing around with shape and composition, and let that lead intuitive design iterations with shapes, colours and patterns. This might not be that unique, but I find it very grounding personally. 

For this one, I wanted the adjoining walls to not feel claustrophobic while you were within it and to still have enough white space and flow to keep your interest. While I wanted to create a design that would look pleasing to those using the space, I also wanted the composition to be thoughtful of the fact that many viewers would only ever be seeing it from street perspective. 

Much like how a sudoku puzzle is incrementally solved in units, the design slowly takes form as I work through my grids and how shapes piece together or sit next to one another. 

How long did it take for you to create this mural? 

The installation for this mural was particularly tricky because the skies at the time were full of smoke from both the American and Interior fires. We were both smoked-out and rainedout on more than a few occasions, but thankfully a consistent demand of mural work is a need to stay nimble in the face of inevitable changes. With a large crew in tow and a tight window, we were able to stay flexible and complete this mural in around 10 days, start to finish. 

What are your social handles and contact info? 

You can find all my most up to date work on Instagram at @tierneymilne ; for any collaborations or project ideas, email at hello@tierneymilne.com. 


Photographer: Dylan Hamm | @dylanhamm